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Update: Follow-up letter to the Superintendent and the School Board

November 12, 2010

If you would like to read or sign our letter advocating for healthy lunch periods in Iowa City schools, click here. Katina Lillios’s follow-up letter to the Superintendent and School Board appears below.

Dear Superintendent Stephen Murley and Members of the Iowa City School Board:

As you are probably aware, my letter on the school lunch periods was published this week in the Press-Citizen. I encourage you to read the letter, and the commentary that followed it, as well as the comments posted on the Health Eating Takes Time blog. The outpouring of support – for increasing the 15-minute periods in the Iowa City elementary schools – has been more overwhelming than I could have imagined.

Many of these stories are unsettling: kids wearing their winter coats while eating, being silenced during lunch, and being pushed to eat quickly. These sound like stories of prisoners, not school children we love and care for. That even the schools know a problem exists was pointed out to me recently by one parent who reminded me that during ITBS week, parents are asked to provide additional food and healthy snacks to help the kids perform better. Why isn’t this a concern during the rest of the year – when the knowledge to perform and indeed, to learn, is being developed?

As I wrote in response to a writer to the Press-Citizen commentary: A request to allow all children enough time to eat their lunch may seem trivial in face of the daunting educational challenges the ICCSD faces. However, have you considered the possibility that more effective learning might actually take place in our schools if all children were given enough time to fully eat their lunch? Or the possibility that giving them time to eat and talk/socialize while enjoying their food might improve their behavior and make the jobs of our hard-working teachers a bit easier?

That a serious problem exists with 15-minute lunches and the way school lunches in general are managed in the Iowa City school district – with behavioral, health and educational consequences – should be clear. What is less clear are the solutions. You tell me that a solution is not possible given the current schedule. Can the schedule be changed? Or is there another solution that can be developed?

To help in this conversation and to come up with solutions, would you be willing to schedule time for interested parents (and children) to share ideas in one of your upcoming board meetings? Alternately, we could consider a public meeting at the Iowa City Public Library.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your attention,

Katina Lillios

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue Poyneer permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:06 pm

    Kids need time to digest their foo and social-table talk where they aren’t texting.My great niece in Denton, Texas ,age 8 ,chocked to death on a piece of apple last April. See her story at Jensen Wright,Fox News a video by her principal.

  2. Katina Lillios permalink*
    December 1, 2010 9:01 am

    I am sorry to hear this tragic story of your great niece. I hope her school has done something to prevent this kind of accident from happening again.

  3. May 3, 2012 12:06 pm

    those administraters are idiots. kids need time to eat. i do not have a son in school but the idea of 15 min. is unthinkable. i had 1 hour and got to leave school for lunch.

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