Currently, students in grades five through eight are restricted from eating food in their classes. This could give a negative impact on adolescents and their learning if they are left hungry. To ensure students aren’t hungry throughout the day, we believe that the middle school should allow food to be brought into class.
According to a website about children in the U.S. and their eating, Feeding America, kids left hungry may be less equipped to reach their fullest potential whilst engaging in the classroom and other aspects in their daily lives. Kids left hungry throughout the day are the ones with this disadvantage in class.
Other sources state that concentration can be a struggle for the brain and that it operates in a similar way to other muscles, meaning that it takes in glucose to function, and food is an important factor in the active brain. Glucose is the most important sugar in the human metabolism and is the primary source of energy, thus making it crucial for the brain. When humans are hungry the body sends signals to the brain which leads to distraction, and trying to do mental work while hungry is like driving a car with no fuel.
Students in the middle school have an age range from ten to fourteen years old, and studies show that the average boy stops growing after age sixteen and the average girl stops at age fourteen or fifteen. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, children with hormonal changes and growth spurts experience greater hunger making it difficult for them to focus in class for academic purposes. Therefore, students in our middle school are in the crest of growth causing them to lose focus during class time if hungry.
Another issue that may conflict with students’ diets is the time of our lunch block. Currently, students in the middle school have a lunch period that spans from 11:15-12:15. Fifth and sixth grade students start at 11:15 and seventh and eighth grade students start at 11:45 and due to the fact that students are released earlier on Wednesdays, their lunch block begins at 10:50 am.
Surveyed middle schoolers have said that their second half of classes is when they feel that being able to eat in class would be the most beneficial due to the fact that many middle schooler participate in after school sports that can take up to two hours. This leaves students without eating for almost six hours. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics children should go three to four hours at the latest without eating, meaning almost six hours is excessively long.
Teachers and students also had their ideas. Eighth grade student Danielle Hajjar said, “I know that some of my friends and I get hungry going into swim practice and we don’t have time to eat beforehand. I feel that the main reason why students get hungry is because the lunch time is too early.”
Other students feel that it is an easy adjustment to make for students to be able to eat in class. Sixth grade student Valentina Pinault said, “Sometimes students can get really hungry in class and it’s not like disturbing anyone unless you bring in chips, so it’s really just don’t be messy.”
Eighth grade social studies teacher Ms. Penny Giehl agrees with this idea. “I think that particularly finishing lunch is fine as long as you check first it should not be a problem and as long as there is no mess then that is just fine. I know I’m guilty of eating breakfast in my classroom every day so I figure if I’m doing it, students should be able to as well within reason.”
Whilst many students and teachers are in favor of this idea, other have different feeling. Eighth grade math teacher Ms. Maida Shivik said “I do not like that idea. You all are already distracted as it is by laptops. Food would even be more distracting, not to mention students already leave my classroom a mess.”
As this is a strong point, it could easily be worked out by teachers being able to create guidelines for students addressing what type of food they could bring into class. Also, if these guidelines are ignored, certain students could have the privilege taken away.
Although we understand why some teachers and students may not be 100 percent fond of the idea due to the idea of students getting distracted by loud noises and mess, with guidelines applied, this can still be beneficial for all students and teachers. This is an idea that should be considered amongst the middle school.