Demand Longer Lunch Periods for School Children


Target: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Goal:  Demand that lunch periods be long enough to give children sufficient time to eat

The average school lunch period lasts 31 minutes, only ten minutes longer than the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management recommends giving children to eat after being served. In many schools, this is not enough time for students to stop at their lockers, wait in line to get their lunch, and actually sit down to eat it. Some schools have colossal lunch lines, making it extremely difficult for the staff to serve all of the students before the bell rings. This is causing children to go back to class hungry, cranky, and unfocused. Students need a chance to recharge in the middle of the school day when they can socialize and take a break from academic rigors.

Although school nutrition has made strides recently, the time allotted for students to eat the healthier options presented has shrunk. As the recommended time to give students to actually eat their lunches is twenty minutes, schools need to figure out how to give each student that amount of time based on the number of students being served and how long it will take them to get their lunches and sit down. However, in most schools across the nation, we are not seeing this consideration. Kids are still fighting to get their food while still leaving enough time to eat, and often end up with cold food they do not even want to eat. Without enough time to eat, students go back to class with low blood sugar and have poor focus, affecting their academic performance.

A longer lunch period would not only afford students more time to eat, but more time for the staff to prepare the food more efficiently and at higher quality. Some cafeteria workers have suggested having at least a forty minute lunch period, which would allow the staff to prepare and serve half the food at a time. This would mean fresher food that can be served hot to all students.

It is clear that the current school lunch system is not working. Students are not given enough time to get their food and actually enjoy it, depriving them of the time they deserve to rejuvenate their minds and socialize. Demand longer lunch periods that will allow kids time to eat their lunch, instead of barely devouring it before the bell rings.


Dear Mr. Duncan,

Despite recent improvements in school lunch nutrition, it has come to our attention that many schools do not give students enough time to eat the healthier options provided. The recommended amount of time to give children to eat their food is twenty minutes. However, the average lunch period lasts only thirty-one minutes. This is not enough time for students to stop at their lockers, get through the lunch line, and eat their lunch. Many schools across the country have enormous lunch lines that take up to twenty five minutes to get through. By the time students get their food, it is most likely cold, and there is not enough time to eat it.

Because of this, children are going back to class without having had the proper time to unwind or the proper nutrition. Low blood sugar levels from not eating enough before the bell rings is causing students to lack focus, consequently effecting their academic performance. Kids deserve a time during the day when they can recharge from the rigors of academics. We urge you to help schools to implement longer lunch periods.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Not only do students don’t get enough time to eat but on top of that schools like Chula Vista High School SD don’t prepare enough food for students. Students who have spent already 10-15 minutes in one line are told to go to another line because they run out of food. And this happens once they get to the front of the line and are sent to the back of the other line having to waste more time again and sometimes to just get an apple or even nothing bcs they run out in that line too. This is ridiculous and needs to stop. I spoke with nutrition services and they have told me they are going to fix this but it is only promises. I would like to know were is all the money they receive for them to make lunches going? This is just plain wrong. Any suggestions on what to do?

  2. Doing the exact same petition for my school.
    Good luck my brother

  3. Went to lunch with my child Friday. They had only 11 minutes from the time the first child sat to the time they were told to pick up their trays. 12 minutes!!! Really. The kids weren’t done. They were eating their bananas as ghetto walked to bring their trays.

  4. troo that PS 11 minuets

  5. I hope that with these petitions we can accomplish a common goal! ! im all for it! ! My Daughter that attends Peary Middle School In Gardena CA Deserves to have enough time to eat. I just want to know how to go about it, How to move forward in Complaining to The school system i want to DO more than just a petition what ever it takes to succeed, I need to know what else i need to do , who else can i talk to?

  6. Zechariah Fuentes says:

    i just hope they can just give kids enough time because i am in school and we barely get enough time to eat and get to our lockers.

  7. kenneth pittman says:

    bruh im in school i spend half my time in line and get a little time to eat i normally dont have the time to eat 1/4 a meal

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