Removing Another Barrier to Breakfast: Parents and Educators Speak Out on Senate Bill 151

The bill is now on Governor Beshear’s desk.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state legislature has passed a bill that allows late students to eat breakfast 15 minutes in class.

This is to remove another obstacle to breakfast that some students encounter.

According to Feeding Kentucky, nearly 273,000 Kentucky children miss breakfast at school, either due to long bus rides, late parents or caregivers, or other reasons like food insecurity.

Senate Bill 151 grants school districts and educators the ability to allow breakfast to be served during the first 15 minutes of class, allowing children to eat during instructional hours.

“It would just give us one more way for students to make sure they are eating and nourishing themselves properly before they start their school day,” said Rockcastle County Schools Superintendent Carrie Ballinger.

Rockcastle County Schools has approximately 2,700 students in their district, more than 90% of whom use the breakfast program the district has already implemented, either due to the rural area’s long bus routes or of food insecurity.

“Breakfast and school lunches are really our best stopgap to making sure kids aren’t hungry,” said Kate McDonald, director of the Feeding Kentucky “KY Kids Eat” program.

According to Rockcastle County Schools, approximately 1 in 4 students in the district struggle with food insecurity. The bill is another way to help children overcome this difficulty.

“Every educator knows that for a student to learn, he must be well nourished. Nobody can know if he is hungry. So we have focused on that and on feeding our children, not just breakfast but also lunch, because we know how vital it is for our children to receive adequate nutrition,” said Superintendent Ballinger.

The mother-in-law of 3 Lydnsay Nottingham of Fayette County Schools says the new legislation gives her peace of mind that every child can eat.

“We were late one day and our youngest was very stressed because she knew she wasn’t going to have time for breakfast…I’ll be honest, I took her to breakfast because I didn’t want her to be stressed out because of a policy the teacher had,” Nottingham said.

The bill is now on Governor Beshear’s desk.

Norman D. Briggs