To The LAUSD Board:

With respect, I believe that offering breakfast in the classroom (BIC) is not in the purview of the LAUSD. I do not deny that hunger in the classroom is an issue, a huge, and deeply important one. But I do deny that it is appropriate to address it utilizing public school instructional time and classroom resources.

This program amounts to yet further encroachment on private, disenfranchised individuals by vested, corporate, profit-driven interests. Off-loading shelf-dated food in the laps of the desperate and poor is exploitative. Writing down the cost of the program by utilizing unpaid parent volunteers and classroom teachers unqualified to be food service workers is disingenuous, if not dangerous. And the ones in the end who suffer, good intentions notwithstanding, are the children. They are denied yet more, well-over-poached classroom instructional time. They are denied safety from food-borne pathogens in the classroom. They are denied the right of every private school child to conduct their daily activities in cleanliness. They are denied the clear attention of teachers dedicated to their education.

I understand this is intended to be a win-win program. I think the reality is otherwise with the true cost being absorbed by our children.

To even the playing field you would need to hire sufficient cleaning staff to clean every classroom every night. To even the playing field you would need to hire sufficient personnel to distribute and collect all food hygienically … within ten minutes. To even the playing field you would have to extend the instructional day by ten minutes to cover that classroom time lost to communal “breakfast”. To even the playing field you would have to offer not-processed, healthy, not-expired food.

LAUSD is not in the business of tackling all social ills; it cannot be. To attempt this is to drain its meager resources irretrievably. Our classroom teachers do not favor this proposal. Our parents do not favor this proposal. Our food service workers are on record favoring it, though it would seem to drain their resources too – I understand this is debatable. But my point is that it is necessary to hold the line on a slippery slope of social problems, all of which we cannot take on. Inadequate housing, for example, is a social ill similarly destructive of educational opportunity. Where are the corporate interests stepping in to address this? They would say it is too far afield. But they would say so because it is not a coincidental benefit for them to address it, the way off-loading expired food is.

You must hold the line on instructional classroom time, and also rebranding our teachers as social messiahs. They are instructors. Not janitors, not social workers; they offer no panacea for social malaise. Let them do their task of teaching. Let the rest of society address appropriately what it is denying, that adequate food is a basic human right. This program, as proposed, overreaches the purview of LAUSD.