Lunches on Half Days are Still Required by Law

Margaret Montplaisir, PaperClip Staff/Writer

A common debate at Portsmouth High School for students of all grades is why is there a required lunch on half days? Some students believe that the current half day schedule should be altered so that lunch should be at the end of the day, after the fourth block, and not currently situated after the third block.

According to the City of Portsmouth website, the Food Service Program is required to “provide high quality, nutritional school meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks) to all students, provide meals at an affordable price or at a reduced price or free for students of parents who meet federal financial guidelines, and to operate on a non-profit status. The Board has established the school meals program as an integral part of the total school program.”

I am not in favor of lunch on half days,” says Geoffrey Jablonski, a Chemistry teacher at PHS. “ I am a proponent of a grab n’ go lunch option on half days.” Jablonski believes the time in half days could be used more efficiently.

“The schedule is actually related to the timing of the buses and dismissal of all the schools,” says Stephen Chinosi, PHS principal. “In other words, I think we have lunch on half days to make sure all the buses can get here in a timely manner. I’m not sure of that answer or if I can confirm it.” 

Chinosi stated that we will not be changing the half day schedule “unless someone else gets to make that decision.” 

When asked about students’ opinions on half days, Chinosi said, “I hope students appreciate having food. Because not having food is a very different experience.”

Students at PHS also find this a conflicting issue with schedules and their own time. 

Avery Romps, a junior at PHS, stated that lunch during half days is a “waste of time for students.” Romps strongly believes that lunch should be optional after the fourth block and students should have the chance to get more time at home to do homework, or hangout with friends. 

According to the National School Lunch Program, this school year, any family that makes up to 130% of the federal poverty level is eligible for the free lunch program for their child. In 2022, that includes anyone in a household of four making up to $36,075 per year.