BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The program that allows Buffalo elementary school children to eat breakfast in their classrooms is being challenged by the Buffalo Teachers Federation. The union says it agrees with the concept, but that teachers need help passing out the food and cleaning up.
BTF President Phil Rumore says help can be in the form of more teacher aides hired in certain schools, or parent volunteers coming into the classroom. Rumore says the union filed a grievance after some teachers reported unsanitary conditions that led to ants and mice inside the schools.
The issue was raised in 2010 when the in-classroom breakfast program was created. Before then, clogged cafeterias and scheduling problems prevented thousands of students from being guaranteed a free breakfast or the time to properly eat the meals.
The District Parent Coordinating Council plans on meeting with Rumore this week to try and work out a solution. The parent group hopes the grievance can be withdrawn.
Bridget Wood, the district's Director of Food Service, says breakfast in the classroom has created a "less chaotic, calmer way" to start the school day.
Jessica Bauer Walker, who heads the Health Committee of the District Parent Coordinating Council said 82 percent of the Buffalo students are living in poverty.
"It's harder for students to concentrate and learn on empty stomachs," she said. She added, if they eat breakfast, they are likely to have less behavioral problems and fewer visits to the nurse.
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