Children, Eat Your Breakfast on the Hallway Floor at School
As you all know by now, I am no longer working at Jewell Elementary in the Aurora Public School District. However, I was recently alerted to a new policy regarding breakfast at the school. The school day starts at 9:25 a.m. This year, if children want to eat breakfast they must get there at 9:15 a.m. If they ride the bus I guess they’ll be rushing in the door to eat in five minutes or so as breakfast time now ends at 9:30.
And there’s more. There are two options: the children will be eating on the FLOOR in the carpeted HALLWAY outside the classroom OR the teachers can graciously give up some of their morning planning time and invite the children to come in and eat at their desks.
Let that sink in for a minute. I know your mind is racing, as mine did, as I tried to think through the implications here – and there are many.
The first thought I had was – what would ever cause anyone to even consider – fathom – such a policy, as children eating breakfast on the dirty carpeted floor like dogs? I am horrified that this policy was thought of and considered “rational.”
Then of course, I tried to imagine what that policy might look like in action. Hallways lined with children with backpacks, coats, lunchboxes and juggling milk, juice, cereal and more. I tried to imagine how I would feel as a child if I was asked to eat my breakfast on the floor, without a place to properly set my things in order to manage it all. I thought about how that policy might impact my own personal beliefs about my self worth, if I were a child at Jewell. I thought about the racism that is inherent within the behavior policies via Relay Graduate School. I thought about the way the children at my school are expected to demonstrate 100% compliance, and how this breakfast policy smacks of that compliance. Sit. Eat. Comply. On the floor. Where is the respect for the child? Where is it? How can one create a policy so unkind and so disrespectful of a child?
I thought – are the white children in the burbs sitting on dirty carpeted floor eating breakfast each morning? You know the answer to that.
Other thoughts raced through my head. Now the teachers must give up planning time OR choose to inflict such a horrible thing on these children. However, the one caveat to having them eat in the hallway is that it might get the policy exposed. Parents might see and object. It should be exposed rather than hidden away quietly as teachers give up their planning and once more do whatever they can to protect children.
How can this even pass health code policies in the schools?