Parents and schools are working together to encourage children in learning about lunchtime etiquette.
In Utah, the Weber and Ogden school districts don’t have a specific policy on lunch room behavior, so they leave it up to the individual schools to set those parameters. Lunch room behavior policies run the gamut from students eating lunch outside and in classrooms, to students sitting on only one side of a table to cut down on noise.
In many schools head custodians are put in charge of the lunchroom time and work with administrators to set the rules, said Zac Williams, spokesman for the Ogden School District. This is the case at Polk Elementary where students are allowed to sit by friends, but not across from them. Williams said the decision was made to reduce noise in the lunchroom and promote cleanliness.
“If the kids are more spread out and have more room, it tends to be more clean,” Williams said.
Polk parent Casey Booth said she has been in the lunchroom before the change and thinks there is no difference in noise. She would like for lunch to be a time for kids to socialize and not have to hurry to eat.
“It’s their time for a break and to not be so focused. They need to get rid of that energy that gets built up,” she said.
Parent Ella Mitchell agrees. Her children attend Wasatch Elementary and she sees value in students talking during lunch time.
“It surprises me that anyone thinks it is a good idea to not let kids talk during lunch,” Mitchell said. “Lunch etiquette should include appropriate conversation.”
Williams said the lunchroom runs smoothly at Polk. “Lunch is something kids really have an opinion about,” Williams said.
He said at Taylor Canyon, some students are working on a petition to get the Styrofoam trays removed, something many parents oppose as well. But he said Styrofoam is here to stay.
“You have to pick where you are trying to conserve,” said Ken Crawford .who is over Ogden District supplies.
He said Styrofoam trays save on labor costs, and water from washing the dishes. “It’s the optimal choice for us,” Crawford said.
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