FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA – State Senator Joyce Maker (R-Washington) seeks to tackle the issue of student hunger this session with LD 809, “An Act To Address Student Hunger with a “Breakfast after the Bell” Program.”
This bill, which has been co-sponsored by members from both parties, would direct school administrative units with a public school in which at least 50% of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch to provide an alternative breakfast delivery service to offer breakfast to all students after the start of the school day each day.
“Studies show that missing meals and experiencing hunger can have a negative effect on academic performance and student behavior,” said Sen. Maker. “Hungry students score lower in math and reading. They are also more likely to be absent and repeat a grade. That’s why it is critical that we do everything we can to ensure that no student goes hungry during this critical time of development.
“Offering a breakfast option to everyone during school hours, regardless of income level, removes any stigma associated with being from a poor family. This means that programs such as this will reach more students in need, ensuring that all students can have the opportunity to focus and learn without worrying or feel hungry.”
Breakfast After the Bell programs have been implemented in school districts across the country with encouraging results. According to the National Education Association, principals who have implemented the program have noticed improved student attentiveness (46%), fewer occurences of tardiness (32%), less absenteeism (21%), fewer visits to the school nurse (21%), fewer disciplinary referrals (18%) and improved reading and math test scores (9%).
LD 809 has been referred to the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs for consideration.