Don’t Silence Kids During Lunchtime

Target: Miguel Cardona, Secretary of U.S. Department of Education

Goal: Support ban on silent lunches in American schools.

With parents evaluating pre-school enrolment for their infants and admissions test scores increasingly determinant in higher education, competition is becoming more prominent in America’s schools. Unfortunately, the drive for intellectual development often comes at the expense of other types of important development. Mental wellness and socialization are being devalued, as evidenced by a controversial practice implemented in a growing number of schools.

Silent lunches are abbreviated meal periods in which students are discouraged – and often reprimanded – from interacting or talking with their peers. While such approaches were traditionally used as a form of punishment, they have gained a more prominent and permanent presence in schools across the country. Proponents of the practice argue the shortened and silenced lunches help keep kids focused and provide more time to devote to studies.

Critics, however, contend that lunch breaks are an important time when kids can decompress and build social bonds that can endure and serve them for a lifetime. Students who must undergo silent lunches often report higher levels of stress and loneliness. And even on a physical level, forcing students to consume meals in such a brief amount of time (roughly 15 minutes) can negatively impact their ability to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Sign the petition below to encourage educational leaders to make lunch lively again.


Dear Secretary Cardona,

Silent lunches have been utilized as a punitive measure for a reason. School lunch periods afford kids the opportunity to briefly escape the pressures of education and to relax and enjoy themselves with friends. Depriving youth of this invaluable time hurts them. When the practice of silent lunches becomes the norm, that harm can be long-term.

Students do more than eat during lunch. They make friends and practice socialization skills that can benefit them when they enter the workforce. Moreover, lunches provide kids a needed mental health break in the course of a busy day. If this time transforms into just another class to be passed or failed, then the true failure is on the entities who refuse to see or acknowledge the ramifications of their actions.

Learning does not just take place in the classroom. Please advocate for an end to a policy that is literally and figuratively stifling America’s youth.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec

One Comment

  1. This IS Communism!
    Stop It!
    Let kids be kids in ‘their’ break times.

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