Single-sex lunches benefit school children

Kansas City, Missouri Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:41am EST

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Kansas City, Missouri (Reuters) - Single-sex lunches introduced in three schools in America's heartland have helped to reduce misbehavior among students and improve eating habits, authorities said.

The Wichita, Kansas middle schools, for students aged 11 to 14 years old, started the separate lunches for boys and girls to reduce teasing, rough-housing and flirting.

"The girls really seem to like it because they get their girl time without having to worry about boys," said Michael Archibeque, principal at Pleasant Valley Middle School. "And the boys don't show off for the girls. I think it's the perfect age for this."

But what Achibeque likes most is that more students are finishing their food, which means less waste and fewer students having to study while hungry in the afternoon.

"I could not believe how many kids are actually eating," Archibeque said.

At Truesdell Middle School in Wichita, which has had single-sex lunches for two years, the positive impact lasts even after lunch is over, according to Principal Jennifer Sinclair.

The students seem to have adapted to the single-sex lunches, Sinclair said. When a mixed-gender lunch was offered recently as incentive to encourage school fundraising, the kids were not interested.

"They said, 'Yuck, why would we want that?'" Sinclair said.

It is not clear how many schools in the United State have single-sex lunches. A spokesman for the Kansas Department of Education said Wichita is the only school district she has heard of in the state with that policy.

Single-sex education is growing rapidly in the United States following evidence that boys and girls may do better academically and socially by being in separate classrooms.

In January, at least 524 public schools had classrooms that were single sex, up from about a dozen in 2002, according to the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education.

The association did not have figures on how many schools with co-educational classrooms have single-sex lunchrooms. School principals generally do not require approval of the school board or state departments of education to have single-sex lunches.

(Editing by Jerry Norton and Patricia Reaney)

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Comments (8)
If you’re going to have schools with single sex lunches and classes, then what’s the point of the school being co-ed…we should just go back to the old days when there were separate schools for boys and girls.

Mar 10, 2011 1:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
inc0rrect wrote:
Hey, lets bring back segregation too. I mean, seriously, who needs to be prepared for the “real world” anymore when we can just isolate ourselves and live our lives entirely on the web?

Mar 10, 2011 2:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
daliya wrote:
I think we should have single sex schools generally and school uniforms to avoid all the sexy stuff at age 11. 17 or 18 is early enough to try to find approval from the opposite sex or to try to outdo the others in their sex . I remember how the kids at school wasted hours looking in the mirror and looking at side of class to just to get a stupid smile from the other sex. In fact out whole spciety should renogiate how they relate to the opposite sex. daliya@nontoxic.com

Mar 10, 2011 6:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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