Removing another barrier to breakfast: parents, educators speak on Senate Bill 151
The bill is now on Governor Beshear's desk
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state Legislature passed a bill that allows students who are running late to eat breakfast 15 minutes into class.
It’s about removing another barrier to breakfast that some students experience.
According to Feeding Kentucky, almost 273,000 kids in Kentucky miss school breakfast, either due to long bus routes, parents or caregivers running late, or other reasons like food insecurity.
Senate Bill 151 grants school districts and educators the ability to allow breakfast to still be served during the first 15 minutes of class, allowing kids to eat during instructional time.
“This would just give us one more avenue for students to ensure that they’re eating and getting proper nutrition before starting their school day,” said Rockcastle County Schools Superintendent Carrie Ballinger.
Rockcastle County Schools has about 2,700 students in its district, with more than 90 percent using the breakfast program the district already has in place, either due to the rural area’s long bus routes, or food insecurity.
“School breakfast and school lunches are really our best stopgap to making sure kids don’t go hungry,” said Feeding Kentucky “KY Kids Eat” Program Director Kate McDonald.
According to Rockcastle County Schools, about 1 in 4 of the district’s students struggle with food insecurity. The bill is another way to help kids overcome that struggle.
“Every educator knows that, in order for a student to learn, they have to be well-fed. No one can learn if they’re hungry. So we’ve put a lot of focus on this and focus on feeding our kids, not just breakfast but lunch as well because we just know how vital it is for our kids to receive proper nutrition,” said Superintendent Ballinger.
Fayette County Schools step-mom of 3 Lydnsay Nottingham says the new legislation gives her peace of mind that every kid gets to eat.
“We were running late one day and our youngest was very stressed out because she knew she wasn’t going to have time to eat breakfast…I’ll be honest, I took her out to breakfast because I didn’t want her stressed out because of some policy the teacher had,” said Nottingham.
The bill is now on Governor Beshear’s desk.