The Real ‘Breakfast Club’

Friday, April 7, 2006, 12:13 —by johnomatopoeia
This item was posted in Education, General category and has 4 Comments so far.

I must be frightfully out of the loop, considering that my wife is a teacher. I wasn’t even aware that some schools serve breakfast to students before school let alone give students who are running late, sometimes as many as two hundred, a second opportunity to eat breakfast later.

via North County Times

While most of the district’s 25 campuses already serve breakfast to students before the first bell rings, only six schools —- Del Rio, Palmquist, Ditmar, Pacifica, Libby, and North Terrace elementary schools —- offer a second breakfast at midmorning recess.

This program gives students a chance to eat a breakfast sandwich or bowl of cereal in the morning even if they arrived late to school or were running late and missed the cafeteria breakfast before their first class.

“Parents were late bringing kids to school, or for whatever reason, they had not eaten,” Morgan said. “Some kids aren’t ready to eat in the morning, some don’t have time. But by midmorning, they’re hungry.”

Now, 200 students eat breakfast at 10 a.m. every day, hours before lunch and about two hours into their school day.

I think there are good intentions behind this move because, sometimes, morning routines go to hell and people can’t get everything done before getting the kids off to school and then heading to work themselves. The key word is ‘sometimes’.

What I don’t like about this is that it seems to encourage people to think that it’s OK for this to happen on a regular basis. It enables parents to spend less time with their kids and take less responsibility for their well-being because ‘the school will take care of it’. It strengthens the message, albeit not overtly, that the school will take care of raising kids whose parents don’t prioritize them over other obligations they may have.

I’m a family man, though, so I am biased. If my kids didn’t eat right when they woke up, I’d wait until 10:00 to go into work if I had to in order to give them what they need. I’m lucky that I have the ability to do that, and I understand that there are those who don’t. And, as I said, I understand that shit happens and certain morning rituals sometimes suffer. But I believe that should be the exception rather than the rule.

If the ‘shit’ becomes the ritual, that’s a big problem, and that’s where the people who frequently take advantage of these programs need to reevaluate their priorities. Two hundred students running late and not eating breakfast is a problem. It reaks of laziness and selfishness on the part of the parents and can only be a detriment to their children.

In my opinion, it’s time for these particular parents to stop seeing school as an extension of their living rooms and their kitchens – and teachers as daycare, for that matter – and start seeing it for what it really is – their children’s educations. Their futures.

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4 Responses to “The Real ‘Breakfast Club’”

  1. Ms. Q said on Friday, April 7, 2006, 15:33

    Cross-posted comment.

    Wow, I am actually going to disagree with you. This must be a first. High five!

    My family was so DIRT POOR growing up, we were lucky to get a healthy breakfast most days. My parents tried their best but times were tough. Many, many children are in this situation here, today.

    I had to ride the bus to school every day, because the only car we owned was driven by my dad to work at the buttcrack of dawn each day well before school started. The bus often got to school too late for me to eat my FREE or REDUCED PRICE breakfast at the school cafeteria. We did not have 2nd breakfast at school. As a result, I sometimes starved until lunch time when I got my FREE or REDUCED PRICE lunch. Yes, my family received assistance and a free public school education. What about it?

    Believe it or not, in north San Diego county, there are people still living at or below the poverty level. They do not have the resources that other people have. I think this is a great program and we are better people for offering it.

    On a side note, those FREE or REDUCED PRICE meals kids eat at school are sometimes the only meal they get. There are far too many food insecure people living in America.

    Will people take advantage of and abuse this 2nd breakfast opportunity? Of course. But to deny people in need just so middle-class lazy assholes learn a lesson, is both short-sighted and mean.

    As a follow-up: I am now in the upper 20% income-wise and am very comfortable. I am successful because society deemed me important enough to take care of me when I needed it. I owe everything to the assistance I received as a child and my public education in addition to all the work my parents did to raise me right.

  2. johnomatopoeia said on Friday, April 7, 2006, 15:49

    I agree with you regarding the people who are actually in need. I’m not out to make those people suffer more than they already do. I do, however, think there needs to be some kind of qualifying program in order to continue to let the truly needy people continue receiving the benefit. You know? Something that weeds out the people that clearly are taking advantage of the system.

    What makes the hackles on my back stand up with regard to that story is the image of some corporate mom and dad who rush their kids through their morning routines so that they can get to the office and each make six figures a year. That pisses me off. Those are the people who think that school should be worked around their schedule and not the other way around. And, in general, those people who are trying to get ahead in the corporate world like that will step all over everyone they have to in order to do it, including the needy people who should be receiving the meals. What sends me into a tailspin is the thought of the ‘haves’ eating a meal that should go to the ‘have-nots’ and then the cafeteria people saying, ‘sorry, none left for you’ when the ‘have-nots’ get to the front of the line.

    I wouldn’t dream of taking food away from the needy. Dismantling the entire program would, indeed, be stupid. But the privileged should definitely not be receiving this benefit on a regular basis. No?

    Sorry you took offense. I should have been more clear about whom I was speaking.

  3. Christine said on Sunday, April 9, 2006, 17:33

    My kids are sometimes late because I make sure they eat their breakfast :P . I think this is a neat program. My gut feeling is that those who get the second chance at breakfast have parents who would not act differently were the program there or not. The idea of sending my kids to school hungry is akin to sending them without shoes! Kids perform better scholastically and behave when they have a good meal in them.

  4. LIVID said on Monday, April 17, 2006, 22:18

    I do not worry about school giving my kids breakfast. I believe it is my responsiblity. Recently, my son misplaced his lunch money for the entire week [It goes in every Monday]. I find out on Wensday after my son claims he hasn’t eaten lunch in two days that they are giving him only a peanut butter sandwich with water! I ask how this is legal. The only response has been, “It’s in the handbook”. I am completely shocked by this policy. It seems like child abuse/neglect. Sure almost everyone likes a sandwich now and again buuuuut…..Would you eat it everyday?
    Now until I get some answers I have been signing him out to eat a complete meal. Sure I could send the lunch bag. Except that would make them all to pleased.

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