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Hungry for a break

Parent group says BC High schedule means many students missing lunch

— A new parent’s group feels their children deserve a little down time while in school.

Members of the group Parents for 9 Periods feel an additional class period should be added to Bethlehem High School’s eight-period day because the current schedule does not allow some students to have a lunch period if they wish to take additional electives. The trend is becoming an increasing issue around the country as students attempt to create a more competitive transcript for their college applications.

“There are flaws with this system,” said the group’s founder Amy Riddell, who has one child in 10th grade and another in the middle school “What we’re finding is there is a huge percentage of students who do not have a lunch period and we feel our concerns have fallen on deaf ears with the administration.”

According to Riddell, high school students have eight periods, including lunch. Five of those periods are for core classes, while the sixth alternates between gym and a science lab. Two periods then remain open, one for lunch and one for an elective.

The group said the problem mostly lies with students in the Bethlehem music program. For students taking band or chorus, their elective period is automatically used. For students wishing to take band and chorus, they are forced to skip lunch. The same is true for a student wishing to take a music class and a different elective, or a student wishing to take two electives or certain advanced placement classes.

“Students need time to eat and they need time to have a break,” said Riddell.

Currently, students who do not take a lunch are eating in class, in the halls or are skipping the meal altogether, according to members of the group.

Riddell’s son opted to skip taking an extra elective this year so he could take lunch and stay in the band. But next year, she said that won’t be an option.

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