Should Students Be Allowed to Eat in Class?
Often times, I find myself so absorbed in school and everything else going on in my life that I forget to find time to eat. I think it is safe to say that it is much harder to focus when hungry. Regardless, many schools, elementary and up, have strict "no eating in class policies. I know that in every school I have attended since I was a kid, the teachers would never let me eat in class. It always bugged me. Especially when five minutes after she told me I was not allowed to eat, she is woofing down on a sandwich at her desk. Don't get me wrong; I have also had lenient teachers who did not have a problem with eating a snack in class. In any case, I don’t think that eating a snack during class time should be against the rules as long as the student cleans up and is not a distraction. This would help schools in the long run because students will be more focused, awake, and excited once they quench their hunger.
Why is it against the rules?
There are a few reasons why it makes sense that eating should be banned from the classroom, but not many. The most important reason, in my opinion, is that students with penut or other food allergies could possibly be at risk of an allergy attack. This is a very serious matter. No student would want to accidentally kill someone else because he or she needed a snack. Penut allergy is the most common cause of food related death. However, only about 150 people die annually from all serious food allergic reactions, and only one percent of the U.S. population has a peanut allergy. This is a very serious matter, but it should not stop all students from having a snack in class. Teachers should inform students if they have someone in the class with allergies and make sure that no one brings anything that could harm the allergic student. Another reason why some may argue that food should not be in classrooms is because it can be distracting. That is a very good point. Still, students are likely to be more distracted if they are hungry. A solution to this problem may be for teachers to take a two or three minute break during class for students to eat a quick snack, get some water or go to the bathroom. That way the rest of class time can be spent focused on working.
why the rules should change.
It is understandable for students to ask to go to the bathroom or to get a drink or snack, but it is not clear why teachers often deny those requests. For some students, lunch might not be scheduled until one in the afternoon. I know that I cannot go that long into a day without eating something. Schools need to allow time for students to have a quick snack. Teachers often get breaks throughout a school day on top of lunch time; students should be allowed the same. I know that my middle and high school days would have been much more pleasant if I was not always so hungry. With school starting at seven in the morning and then sports right after school, lunch time just was not long enough to relax and get my body proper nutrition. This is what a Washington D.C. mother had to say about her daughter's school; "I inquired about the possibility of kids being given a few minutes to eat a healthful snack brought from home -- it doesn’t take long for a hungry teen to inhale a cheese stick -- and was told by the principal that absolutely no eating before lunch was allowed." She is right, it would not take very long or be very distracting for a student to have a cheese stick or granola bar, but it would go a long way in helping that student have a more enjoyable school day. If students enjoy school, then it is likely they will focus much more and achieve better grades.
Eat in School!
I honestly believe that if I was allowed to have snacks throughout the school day, I would have done better some days during high school. Sometimes it was so hard to focus on anything but how hungry and tired I was. All I needed was a snack and something to drink and I know that I would have been much more awake and ready to learn. It is a no brainer that schools across the United States need to start having snack time throughout the day!
"Peanut Allergy Statistics." Peanut Allergy Information | Online Resource Guide. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://www.peanutallergy.com/statistics-and-facts.html>.
"The Answer Sheet - Why Can't Kids Eat in Class If They Are Hungry?" Blogs & Columns, Blog Directory - The Washington Post. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/community-colleges/should-kids-eat-in-class-one-m.html>.