Jessica Rabon was surprised when her daughter came home from school this week saying she was told to finish her lunch faster in order to earn recess time.
“She was told the only way she would get to go outside was to finish eating in 15 minutes,” Rabon said.
A sixth-grader at Conway Middle School, Rabon’s daughter told her that the school’s principal and assistant principal were walking around the cafeteria encouraging the children to “hurry up and eat.”
For CMS sixth-graders, the lunch period is split into two sessions. Rabon said that according to the district’s online record system Powerschool, the time allotted for lunch is 12:12-12:40 p.m. Rabon said that half of her daughter’s grade goes for the first part of the period and the other half goes for the second part.
Rabon said no one told her that the lunch would be split. Her daughter told her they only have about 15 minutes from the time the bell rings, which means they still have to walk to the cafeteria from class and have time to stand in line for food if they did not bring their own lunch.
A post she made on social media about the situation has since garnered more than 30 shares and nearly 150 comments from local parents saying their children are dealing with similar rushed lunchtimes at many schools.
“It’s not enough time,” Rabon said. “It’s the break in your day that gets you through your afternoon.”
The South Carolina Board of Education recommends that children receive 15 to 20 minutes to eat “from the time they take their seat.”
Rabon dislikes the idea of students rushing through a meal worried they can only go outside if they “eat fast enough.”
Whitney Hall, another parent of a middle schooler in the district, said this is not just a CMS issue.
“This is across the board,” she said. “This is a district problem.”
Hall said that depending on which classroom the students are coming from, it could take up to five minutes of that 15-minute window just to get to the cafeteria.
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