Is 30 minutes enough time for elementary school students to eat lunch and enjoy recess? The Rome Central School District administration says yes, but some parents disagree.

This summer, the Rome Central School District announced that they would be shortening the school lunch period for elementary students from 40 minutes to just 30 minutes. Superintendent Peter Blake sent a letter to parents explaining that students have traditionally had 30 minutes to eat, and the 40 minutes in the previous year was a "failed experiment."

Rome Parent Keri Campbell started a petition this summer to ask the Board of Education to restore the 40 minute lunch period. While the petition garnered over 1,000 signatures, the board declined to change the schedule. Keri says Superintendent Blake expressed concerns about the cost of extending the school day to accommodate a longer lunch. 

Now that school has started, parents have taken to Facebook to voice their concerns about the 30 minute lunch. One mom says "This is wrong. I could never eat in less than 20-25 minutes! What happened to "don't bolt your food!" What is this constant upping of the pressure on kids? More! More! Faster! Faster! This is not education. This is not promoting health. This is not promoting a joyful, confidence-building childhood."

Another, noting a change by the NY State Education Department to count instruction by hours, rather than days - said "So glad you made mention of this....my daughter ate some of her sandwich and pineapple and that was it. And they can say it's the state but that only means there has to be required number of minutes of instruction time per week. I teach at a near by district that starts and ends day earlier and later than Rome and we get a 40 Min lunch for kids. So maybe Rome needs to consider adjustments to their times."

Keri says she's not giving up - even if the schedule won't change for this year. She says parents need to go to school board meetings and voice their concerns. "I understand we can’t change this year’s schedule. However the school budget needs to be voted on every year and I feel next year’s needs to include a longer lunch. Going to these meetings tells the board that we are serious and that our kids need more time."

The next Rome CSD Board of Education meeting is Thursday, September 13. You can see the whole meeting schedule at romecsd.org. Whichever side of the issue you're on, consider attending a meeting and sharing your views. 

Is 30 minutes enough time for elementary students to enjoy recess and eat their lunch? What do you think?