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Sound Off: How School Lunch Times Affect Your Children

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 04:05 PM

Students eat lunch at the St. HOPE Leadership Academy in Harlem. Students eat lunch at the St. HOPE Leadership Academy in Harlem. ((Ben Adler/WNYC))

"Little energy and light-headed" is how one parent described her daughter on school days, because the high school serves her lunch around 9 in the morning.

"She tends to be sick when coming home," said the parent, whose daughter attends Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Educational High School in Queens.

About 40 percent of the city's public schools start the meal by 10:45 a.m, with many starting earlier than that. Lunch times can vary, as can students' need for fuel, but Schoolbook heard back from many concerned parents and educators who answered our school lunch survey.

"My child complains of hunger EVERY day at pick up. She says she has no time to finish her lunch (they get about 15/20 minutes and kids don't focus on food well with friends around)," one parent wrote, adding that an afternoon snack would be better than a morning one so kids are hungry for their early lunch but have something to tide them over later in the day.

A father weighed in, with mixed views on the early lunches served at Tottenville High School in Staten Island: "She's in honors, the early lunch doesn't affect her grades. She just comes home cranky most of the time."

A parent at P.S. 102 The Bayview complained about the school schedule in general.

"As usual, we expect more of kids than of adults. Most of us take breaks while working and eat and drink throughout the day," Francine Almash told Schoolbook. "Even the most basic human needs are considered disruptions of the school day. I'd like to see kids treated more like developing humans and less like obedient workers."

Some of you said that lunch should be pushed back to later in the day to optimize learning.

"Young students perform best in the morning," a teacher at Spruce Street School told Schoolbook. "A 10:50 lunch period interrupts our most productive instructional periods. Students need a solid block of instructional time in the a.m. for optimal results."

Several parents said that they don't feel their children have enough time to eat or get out of the classroom during the day. Others were worried about the health of meals and some of the snacks students are given.

"I would like to have a better idea of what my kids are eating," a parent at Achievement First Endeavor Charter School said. "It would be nice if parents were informed about the ingredients in the meals."

Lastly, several of you said the schools have bigger concerns that when students are eating lunch. And you pointed out that an early start time at school — some students arrive at 7 a.m. — necessitates an early lunch.

"Its nothing new," Mike Oliver commented on the Daily News website. "I had lunch at 10:30 one semester in high school back in the mid 1980s."

Whatever your opinion, please continue to share your thoughts with Schoolbook. Fill out the survey here: 

 

 

 

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