Segregated School Lunches

Katherine - posted on 03/14/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Except for a few select group of people I like to call "kidding themselves," nobody has fond memories of middle schools. It's all braces and bras and boners behind the bookbag. So news that a hand full of Kansas middle schools are separating their hormonal young teens by gender for the lunch hour sounds like a dream come true, right?

In fact, school officials tell Reuters single-gender lunch is a great thing -- there's no flirting, no "chattering," and the kids are cleaning their plates. No wasted food! No "distracted kids." No learning about the real world! Oh wait, I added that last part.

Every time I hear "segregation in schools," I have the same thought. Whether it's races or genders being separated, it has no application in the real world. And yet, that's what our schools are supposed to be doing: preparing our kids for adulthood -- both academically and socially.

The thought of kids not "chattering" at lunch doesn't sound attractive to me. It sounds clinical. It sounds sad. It's sounds socially retarding. As a teenager, I recall lunchtime as my outlet, my chance to talk to my friends and feel more like a human, less like a worker bee in the cog of the school machine.

It's in the teen years when male/female interactions begin to take on real meaning. As elementary schoolers, everyone is friends with everyone. Kindergarten girls play with kindergarten boys. Hormones haven't taken their toll yet . . . but they will. And teens need the chance to work that out in a safe environment, to deal socially with one another, to figure out what works and what doesn't. If not at lunch, when?

By the teen years, you've already had recess taken away, and your after-school hours are being taken up by increasing amounts of homework and home responsibilities. Lunch, for most kids, remains the one time when there's no work to be done, a time to settle in and just enjoy the break. Kids need that. Adults need that -- labor law mandates a lunch break for Americans who work a full day because of it.

Better in the cafeteria with teachers watching than at a bar with bad pick-up lines because they never learned, right?


How ridiculous!

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Tracey - posted on 03/15/2011

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At my son's school they have a general lunch room and a quiet room where any child can go to eat if they find the main room too noisy or distracting.
At my school the teachers eat at tables with their classes and all the kids love it and copy their teachers manners and table habits. They also eat more and make healthier choices.

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Brandi - posted on 03/15/2011

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I think this is stupid. I WANT my children to socialize. I WANT my children to have Girl Friends and eventually girlfriends. I WANT those things for my kids. As the writer said it was her outlet, hell yeah, it was mine, too! Kids NEED interaction with others and yes even with the opposite sex. If my child's school starts this, we will be moving... sorry.

Erica - posted on 03/15/2011

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segregation is a joke. I guarantee that if you take out the "chattering" in the lunch room, you're going to have more interruptions in class, whether it be by texting to the other sex, or "note passing" which really, in todays world is texting...so yeah...stupid...

Lady Heather - posted on 03/14/2011

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We didn't even have lunch rooms at my middle or high schools. We just had to go...somewhere. I found that very uncivilized. But segregation would not have worked for me. My best friends were almost exclusively male. Probably would have spent many a lunch time alone. I guess that would cut down on the chatter, but it wouldn't do much for an unpopular girl's confidence.

Sharon - posted on 03/14/2011

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Lmao in jr high we had the cafeteria& a snack bar in the commons. I usually got 2 chocolate donuts, a chocolate milk and some candy and hung out with my friends in the grass. I don't remember much of the second half of the day, lmao!!! For a YEAR, I didn't eat a real lunch. I hated the lunch room. To noisy, to messy. It was mixed, boys& girls. Boys were wearing mirrors on their shoes until they got caught, girls had their bras snapped hourly and I smashed one kid in the head with my school book then tried to cut him with the wire on myu spiral bound notebook. I can't remember what he did now but I can still see the smirk/snarl on his face before I hit him.

Jenn - posted on 03/14/2011

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I ate at home every day in grades 7 & 8 so I don't remember any bad memories of lunch time. I could see there being something to this though, especially when I think of how many young girls are with their body image, and I could see them not eating properly because they don't want some cute boy to think they're a pig because they actually ate a normal meal like a normal human being.

Mrs. - posted on 03/14/2011

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The later Jodi. I don't think segregating the boys and girls will get rid of bad table manners or respect issues. They'll just be that way with those of the same sex.

Jodi - posted on 03/14/2011

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Do you think, though, this is a result of not segregating, or rather, just poor policy with respect to manners and behaviour in the lunch room in general?

JuLeah - posted on 03/14/2011

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There is a lot of research to support seperating kids by gender. Our school lunch rooms are ... pick a word that means really really bad - they suck

In other countries it is not like this. I have watched in other countries how kids eat with table manners, use real forks and knives. Wipe their faces, speak in low tones., sit up tall, drink out of a cup.



Here ....

I watch last year a group of teen out for a nice dinner before a big school dance. They were eating fish sticks with their hands, tossing food, chewing with their mouths open. They were so loud and disruptive. These young adults in grown up dress acting like monkeys at the zoo.



Well, they were eating as they always eat when together. They were eating as they do at school each day.



I go to my daughter's school for lunch once a week and have to shout to be heard across the table. So, I don't really talk much, but I can't eat - too distracting and I notice the kids don't really eat.

Jodi - posted on 03/14/2011

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I must admit, Julianne, I'm a bit hesitant on sending my daughter to the girl's school when she is at that age - it's the bitchiness and cattiness that worries me. And yes, it worries me more than the interaction with boys does. Whereas with my son, the boys school appealed because it is heavy on the sport programs, which is how they motivate the boys to get their work done and perform academically.

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I went to an all girls school. I liked it. Not so much judging and worrying about what i looked like...more catty bitches though..:)
At lunch we talked and carried on. I don't think it would have been much different if guys were around, we would just have them to talk about too.

Jodi - posted on 03/14/2011

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Well, my son is at a boy's school, so it's a non-issue. However, I cannot imagine him NOT eating his lunch (we send them to school with their lunch here) because he is being distracted. Seriously, that boy eats like a horse and would eat his arm off if he didn't get his food at lunchtime!! He is 13, and hungry ALL the time.

My daughter, on the other hand, is in Year 1, and she is more likely to get distracted and not eat. Fine, she can go hungry. It's her choice really.

Nikki - posted on 03/14/2011

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Wow, I wouldn't be happy for my daughter to attend a school like that. I think this is just an example of teacher's trying to make their lives easier without looking at the impact and consequences.

It's sad that adults forget what it was like to be a teenager, while all of my experiences at school were not positive, I also remember the fun of that first crush, friends passing on messages, laughing at the boys etc.

Michele - posted on 03/14/2011

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I can't imagine segregating at lunch. I can see some small advantage to segregating classrooms, although with girls I don't believe that would cut down on the chattering!!!

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