A Bellevue mother says she is willing to sue the Bellevue School District if it fails to provide adequate time for students to eat lunch.
Zhifang Yang-Denor has two children in the district Collete, 9, and Andrew, 6.
She says she went to lunch with her daughter at Puesta Del Sol and found she didn't have time to eat. Most of the 20-minute lunch period was taken up while her daughter stood in line to get her school lunch.
"I was shocked my daughter only had a few minutes to eat her lunch," Yang-Denor said. "A couple bites -- that was it all day in school."
The district currently gives elementary age students 20 minutes to eat their lunch. After Yang-Denor complained, the school district started a lunch study team.
Yang-Denor was told students will be given 25 minutes for lunch in the 2017-2018 school year. She says that isn't enough, she wants 30 minutes, which includes at least 20 minutes of seated time for students to eat.
Yang-Denor, who is a registered dietician, says her children are so hungry when she picks them up from school she brings them an entire meal.
She says the lack of nutrition at school impacts learning and teaches them poor eating habits, encouraging binge eating later in the day.
Yang- Denor says she and other parents have been trying to get the district to address the problem since 2015, with little response.
When asked if her daughter could bring her lunch to have more time to eat, Yang-Denor said if her children want to buy lunch they should be able to and they should have time to eat it. She also said students who are on the subsidized school lunch program likely don't have the option to bring their lunch and should not be penalized by not having time to eat.
She hired an attorney and sent a letter to the district Thursday demanding change. Yang-Denor's attorney told the district to respond by June 2 to avoid legal action in the matter.
KIRO 7 has reached out to the Bellevue School District and is waiting for a response and was told:
“At this time all elementary students have a 20 minute lunch period. Beginning next school year, the lunch period will be extended to 25 minutes.
We have received the letter and we’re in the process of reviewing it. We have no further comment at this time.”.
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