Kirsten Lambert 0

Breakfast in the Classroom program at CPS

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I applaud the Chicago Board of Education's efforts to ensure that no child goes hungry with its current free before-school breakfast program. However, I believe that the Breakfast in the Classroom policy (11-0126-P01 adopted January 26, 2011) is not the right solution.

Here are some of my concerns:

  • It would endanger children who have food allergies -- either diagnosed or undiagnosed.
  • It would cut into instructional time.
  • It creates waste, both in terms of food and food packaging.
  • It might lead to overeating (and perhaps obesity) in kids who already eat breakfast at home.
  • It would create unsanitary conditions and might lead to a greater pest-control problem.
  • It takes the choice of what to feed children away from their parents.

Of the issues above, perhaps the most compelling reason is this: The BIC program would create a potentially dangerous environment for more than 11,000 CPS elementary students who are allergic to foods that contain ingredients such as peanuts, dairy or egg. 

Some of these children merely need to touch a surface that has traces of an allergen such as milk or egg to have an allergic reaction. And having breakfast in the classroom, where children sit all day, means that allergens are not only brought into the classroom -- traces of those allergens may remain throughout the school day. 

It is essential to provide a nutritious breakfast to kids who would otherwise start the school day on an empty stomach. However, the Breakfast in the Classroom program is not the right answer to the hunger problem. 

CPS elementary schools already offer a free before-school breakfast in the cafeteria to any student who wants it. So I respectfully ask the Chicago Board of Education to keep breakfast before the start of the school day, outside the classroom, and wait to roll out the Breakfast in the Classroom program until the concerns above are addressed. 


CPS Parents for a Better Breakfast


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