Riverdale’s snack rule is unfair to hungry schoolchildren

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To the Editor:

I am a parent of first- and fifth-graders at Riverdale Elementary and I am very upset about the snack-time situation.

When my fifth grader came home and told me that snack time had been taken away, I immediately called the principal, Andrea Ellis. I was informed that this was not a teacher nor a school-level decision, but came from the school board, Mr. (Charles) Turner, superintendent, to be exact.

Mrs. Ellis informed me that Mr. Turner feels that the students’ 15-minute snack time would be better used as instructional time. I don’t feel like this is fair to the students at all. Both of my boys are healthy eaters and always either have breakfast at home or at school.

We expect our children to excel in their studies, but then deny them the ability to focus when their stomachs are growling, either between breakfast and their 11-12:30 p.m. lunchtime or between lunch and their 30- to 45-minute bus ride home at 4 p.m.

I have bitten my tongue about a lot of the safety rules at Riverdale, especially not being able to walk either of my boys to class, because somewhere along the line these rules may keep them safe.

But, keeping them from having a snack or just a minute to lay their heads on the desk with the lights off, or a minute to go to the water fountain to have a drink of water, is truly beyond staying quiet about. Our new school, as beautiful as it is, feels like it is becoming a children’s prison! I really think the school board needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink this snack-time decision.

Niki Jernigan