A bill filed this month in the House would require North Carolina teachers to receive 30 minutes of “duty-free” time each day to eat lunch.
Under House Bill 563, teachers would get a minimum of 30 minutes each day to eat without having to supervise students, perform other tasks such as lunch duty or attend required meetings.
The state law that covers school improvement plans would be rewritten to include the 30 minutes for a duty-free lunch.
John A. Torbett, (R) Gaston is the bill’s primary sponsor. He could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
The House Committee on K-12 Education is expected to take up HB 563 on Tuesday.
Ample time for a meal and lesson planning are real issues for teachers who often complain they don’t get enough time to do either during the course of a school day.
Teachers say lunch and instructional planning time is often interrupted by required meetings or is lost entirely when teachers must use planning periods to fill in for absent colleagues because substitutes aren’t available.
Teachers responding to a social media query shared varied experiences when it came to lunches and planning time. While some teachers routinely already get 30 minutes or more for lunch, others say they barely get a minute or two to “woof” down lunch.
“We get 25 minutes duty free for lunch … but it came at the expense of our planning period being cut shorter,” Sherry Vestal, a Randolph County teacher, wrote on the North Carolina Teachers United Facebook page.
Here’s what other teachers had to say on the page: