Some parents say ‘unacceptable’ breakfast served at public schools

It’s been called the most important meal of the day, but some parents say the breakfast being served in public schools is far from adequate.

A Waipahu High School parent, who didn’t want to be identified, sent us a photo of her child’s plate through the Report It feature on our website, and she wasn’t the only one.

The photos show a scoop of rice and one sausage, which the Department of Education has identified as a ham link.

The DOE says the students were also offered fruit, milk, and fruit juice.

But for a teenager, the parent says that’s hardly enough.

“One of my friends even said if my kindergartner was given this, she’d probably get upset,” she told KHON2.

She adds that kids have it tough enough trying to get through the day sitting in hot classrooms.

“To me, that’s just unacceptable to have such a small meal like that provided before they have classes in the heat, and just the misery and bad conditions that they’re in with the heat alone, I just feel like it’s unacceptable,” she said.

Breakfast served at the school is usually pretty light, but we were told Tuesday’s meal was unusually small.

A DOE spokeswoman says there’s been no change in policy, although the ham link, which is served one per plate, is a new item, and the cafeteria did not run out of food.

It’s not just Waipahu High School. A parent from Kohala Middle School also sent us a similar picture.

DOE adds that schools are following federal guidelines, offering at least four items for breakfast.

At Waipahu High School Tuesday, it was rice, a ham link, a whole orange, a juice box, and milk. Students could also opt for cereal, an orange, wheat toast, a juice box and milk.

The spokeswoman added that students can buy another plate if they’re still hungry.

The cost for the first breakfast is $1.20, the second plate costs $2.40.

As for the lone sausage on the plate, registered dietitian Kristen Lindsey-Dudley said it meets federal guidelines with “just one ounce, because usually it’s served with milk I believe, so that’s another serving of that.”

Lindsey-Dudley says the guidelines also need to be mindful about obesity problems for kids. She admits it’s not ideal, but it is a balanced meal.

“That’s kind of like a drop in the bucket for a high school kid, but it gets them started, because many high school kids don’t eat breakfast,” she said. “It’s enough for that time of the day. Your appetite really kind of builds as you go, so for breakfast, usually the appetite is the least.”

Photo provided by Kohala Middle School parent
Photo provided by Kohala Middle School parent

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