Michigan is in the news right now. The topic is about whether school lunch times are long enough or not. Children are coming home and complaining about being hungry and not having time to eat during lunch time. So where does this problem lie? Is it that 25 minutes isn’t long enough, or is it the organization of the schools faltering?
The State Department of Education has been flooded with tons of parents who have been complaining that their children don’t have enough time to eat their lunch. The State Department has reacted to this by stating that they will dispatch notes to Michigan schools suggesting how they split the time during the lunch hour in order to efficiently manage the time between grades.
A child coming home from school hungry is becoming more and more of an issue. These meals are being paid for by parents but children aren’t given enough time during the lunch to actually consume their meals. My soon to be mother-in-law who works at a school was telling me how children will sometimes at most only have 10 minutes to eat before they have to make room for other grades or they have been the last grade in the hall to get their meals. This is a huge problem as meals that are being paid for are getting wasted and the children are not getting the nutrition they need and are going hungry. Being hungry will affect the concentration level of the kids and possibly make them misbehave and could be affecting more than the school considers.
Quality of food
Foods in schools have been changed to healthier meals including apples and salads; this may seem like a small factor but with the adjustments of these foods, it will actually take the children longer to eat. When these children are given the option of a tray of fries or salad and an apple, the fries will be chosen even just for the convenience of the child being able to eat that food faster.
Is there a solution?
As it currently stands, only six states tackle rushed lunches with their own policies which have time schedules. Michigan isn’t one of these but the Department of Education has admitted that there is an issue which has initiated the action of sending the notes to the schools.
A solution which has been highly suggested is just increasing the time of the lunch break; however, this might not fully solve the issue and may impair the learning time that the children have. During the lunch period, there are still club activities and the time is already being pressed between each grade. The best strategy would be having allocated time slots which are actually organized and timed rather than calling the next grade when the previous grades are done, because this might result in the last grade being very rushed or not having enough time. The State Department of Education has the correct idea to solve this issue and hopefully it will be put in effect soon and a change will be seen.