The majority of teachers throughout the U.S. have students who consistently come to school hungry, according to a recent survey, and most say the problem is getting worse, reports USA Today.
Sixty five percent of the 638 public elementary and middle school teachers polled say that for many of their students, school meals are their primary source of food and nutrition. “It’s not isolated to certain urban and rural areas, but it’s really happening across the board,” said Bill Shore, founder and director of the survey’s sponsoring organization Share Our Strength, which aims to end childhood hunger.
Former elementary school teacher Stacey Frakes said her students who had not eaten breakfast would be on the verge of tears during class. Hungry students “couldn’t focus at all,” she told the paper. “All they could think about was wanting food. They would ask, ‘What time is lunch? Is it lunchtime yet?’”
And according to the survey, many students who qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast still aren’t getting it. This may be because kids want to avoid the stigma attached to school breakfasts or because their buses are late, said Shore. Either way, Share Our Strength is awarding half a million dollar grants to schools with ideas to improve school breakfast, reports USA Today.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.