On September 14th, Governor Jack Markell signed HB 408 that will ensure that Delaware schoolchildren receive breakfast each morning.
While schools typically serve breakfast before school starts, many students may miss this opportunity to eat breakfast for a variety of reasons, such as tight morning arrival times and the social stigma attached to the traditional school breakfast program. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 12% of school-aged children skip breakfast.
The “Breakfast After the Bell” law will require that public and charter schools adopt proven “alternative service models” to provide breakfast to children at no cost. The program will take effect beginning with the 2017-18 school year, though some schools, such as Jones (Albert H.) Elementary School, already offer the service.
Alternatives to the traditional school breakfast service include “Breakfast in the Classroom” and “Second Chance Breakfast,” which give students the opportunity to obtain breakfast for a period of time after school starts, and “Grab and Go Breakfast,” in which breakfast items are made available at carts or kiosks in other areas of the school apart from the cafeteria.
Research has shown that students who eat breakfast at school have better attendance rates, a reduction in disciplinary problems, and improved test scores. The program is supported by Food Bank of Delaware and DSEA.
Breakfast may be available in every Delaware school, but we know that many kids who need that healthy meal to start the day still aren’t getting it – and we’re not just talking about students from needy families. We’ve seen how successful school breakfast programs can be when schools and policymakers think outside the box, and we want that success in our state. I’m looking forward to seeing other schools throughout Delaware implement a Breakfast After the Bell program to make sure that no child goes hungry.