See Press Release Below
BOSTON – Recently, Representative David Biele joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in unanimously passing legislation to ensure Massachusetts’ students have access to breakfast after the beginning of the instructional day, while supporting the health and education of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable students.
The legislation, entitled An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell, requires public schools where 60 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to offer its students breakfast options after classes begin. The legislation will increase access to healthy breakfast for 150,000 low-income students in the Commonwealth and provides schools the flexibility to use the model that best suits its students, such as: breakfast in the classroom, grab and go breakfast, or second chance breakfast in the cafeteria.
“The evidence shows that students perform better at school when they’ve eaten a nutritious breakfast, unfortunately one in eight students in Massachusetts struggle with food insecurity and start the day hungry,” said Rep. Biele. “This legislation will ensure that every student has access to breakfast so that they are well-fed and ready to learn, leading to better outcomes in the classroom with increased attentiveness and participation, and better overall health in our students.”
This legislation builds on the House’s ongoing efforts to prioritize programs that support the health, wellbeing and academic success of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children. Providing breakfast to students has been shown to improve concentration, increase school attendance and decrease tardiness and visits to the school nurse. It also serves to destigmatize traditional school breakfast programming by supporting an all-inclusive schoolwide option.
The bill also directs DESE to issue guidance or regulations in order to implement programming, allowing for consultation with nonprofit organizations with experience regarding the opportunity gap, hunger and food security issues, and best practices for improving student access to school breakfast.
Similar legislation recently passed the Massachusetts Senate and next steps will involve reconciling differences in the two pieces of legislation.