Victory for Oregon’s kids and “Breakfast After the Bell”

by Simone Crowe


Matt Newell-Ching, Public Affairs Director

Victory for Oregon’s Kids: Oregon Senate Passes “Breakfast After the Bell” Bill

June 19, 2015 — Starting this fall, more kids across Oregon will be able to start the school day with a nutritious breakfast.

That’s because the Oregon Senate passed the “Breakfast After the Bell” bill (HB 2846) on June 19, allowing schools to serve breakfast in the classroom as long as regular school activities are also taking place. It’s estimated that this will mean an additional five million healthy breakfasts for Oregon’s low-income kids over the course of a school year.

“This is a big victory for Oregon’s kids,” said Matt Newell-Ching of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “The evidence supporting school breakfast is clear: kids who eat breakfast at school do better in math, science and reading. When kids thrive in school, everyone is better off.”

While many schools currently have breakfast programs, many kids that qualify for free breakfast can’t access it because of problems with scheduling.

“When breakfast was before the bell, most students who rode the bus weren’t able to eat breakfast because the bus would pull up as the bell was ringing,” said Asta Garmon, Nutrition Services Manager at Portland Public Schools. “The main office saw kids coming in with stomachaches and headaches. After we were able to offer breakfast after the bell, we had a lot fewer students visiting the office. Students were able to concentrate on learning, and teachers were able to teach.”

This new provision allows schools to count up to 15 minutes of breakfast after the bell as instructional time. Teachers in schools currently participating in breakfast after the bell use this time successfully to take roll call, collect homework, discuss the schedule for the day and even educate students about nutrition.

Representative Margaret Doherty, former teacher, was the lead sponsor of the bill. She knows through decades of experience about the importance of kids starting the day with a healthy breakfast. In addition to the bill being a main priority on Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon’s legislative agenda, it was supported by groups such as the Oregon School Boards Association and Upstream Public Health.

The bill passed both the Oregon House and Senate by wide bipartisan majorities, and now heads to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for her signature.