Issues Involving Children’s Lunch
More than half of teachers report buying lunches for their students at some point during each school year. In fact, it’s a bit over half of teachers who have purchased lunches and even some breakfasts for their students. Despite the fact that teachers are considered to be underpaid some teachers don’t go longer than a month before they spend money from their own pockets to feed their class.
A series covering the issues having to do with hunger found in public schools has been performed by The Guardian through an extensive series ofreports titled Breadline Britain. Quite a few of the responses held some startling similarities. All responses included in the study are uncut and generate a pretty big picture of just how many students come to class in the morning without eating a balanced breakfast. By performing this study, we can get a comprehensive look at just how many students are having their work performance in school affected by lack of nutrition.
55% reported an increase in the amount of children coming to school hungry,
During this study through The Guardian, just about 83% of those asked claimed they saw a recurring case of hungry students coming to school each morning. 55% reported an increase in the amount of children coming to school hungry, while only 2% opposed this observation. 62% cited that poverty was the greatest reason why children are coming to school hungry. Another 52% believed that the reason children came to school without eating a proper breakfast was due to the cost of living in the area. 41% of people in the report blamed recent budget cuts. Family health and lack of social skills were believed to be an issue by 58%.
Teachers weren’t included in the previously mentioned statistics. 49% of the teachers – whose statistics were set aside from the rest of the random opinions included in the study – stated that they brought in food from home for their class at one point or another. When asked about how to solve the issue, 78% of teachers asked suggested to make school meals free to help deal with the amount of students who come to school hungry.
Aside from the figures included in this study, responses from respondents shed some light on the subject from first person experiences. One respondent alluded to the fact that children were coming to school drinking carbonated beverages as a substitute for breakfast, along with numerous other treats, meaning their main source of nutrients are from sugary foods and drinks. A few respondents also commented on how they personally blamed the parenting of the children, including a comment on how parents should receive training and licensing in order to take care of their children properly.
Why is This Happening?
There have been quite a few interesting takes on the subject of just why children are coming to school hungry, leading to teachers buying food for their hungry students. Teachers have reported their students coming to class in the morning with snacks, such as cookies, chips, soda, pop tarts and granola bars. These types of quick snacks are being used as substitutes for a child’s breakfast in both North America and other countries.
A lot of teachers have agreed on the stance that it is not the school’s responsibility to feed their students and that the responsibility lies entirely on the shoulders of the parents. One of the teachers said that parents of students should be better educated when it comes to figuring out what makes for an acceptable and unacceptable breakfast for their children in the morning. Too many parents, in their opinion, rely on handing their children little snacks that are quick for them to eat, thinking that those substitute fairly for a balanced breakfast.
Maybe Parents Aren’t the Only Issue
Looking at this conversation at a completely other angle, there are those educators who actually believe that it is the children who are causing the greatest harm to themselves. Some teachers believe that some children who are in fact given breakfast and lunch money by their parents end up spending the allowance on the way to school or save it to spend after school. By sacrificing their hunger for a more nutritious breakfast and lunch, some students are sabotaging their own health by giving in to instant gratification through soda and candy or do not see eating as important as spending their money on something else after they get out of class.
Free school meals are an option only for those families that qualify. Not all families do since many just barely make too much to be considered. There are even those parents who simply do not want to apply for free lunches for their children out of fear that it may reflect badly on their family or social situation. For example, if a parent were considered middle or upper class for a long while but end up in low class due to a lay off or other unfortunate occurrence, then adjusting to taking help from the state may not be something they will easily agree with. Even if it is for the sake of feeding their children a nutritious meal each day.
More and more schools are beginning to offer alternative options, such as breakfast clubs. While this may not be the best solution for the long run, it is offering a short term alternative to an issue that will hopefully be figured out for long term success. It may be possible that schools look for solutions in regard to improving meal plans as they continue to further educate children on what it means to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.