Parents: Seattle school kids are forced to gulp down lunch to get recess

SEATTLE -- Every school day, third-grader Kendall Kapsner has a choice to make -- to stay and eat lunch or to go out and play.

"You shouldn't have to stay in for recess to eat at lunch," Kendall says.

That's why mom Deb Escher is hosting a meeting with other concerned parents from Whittier Elementary who say their kids just don't have enough time for lunch and recess.

Seattle Public Schools admits the lunch and recess period was cut short by 10 minutes this year -- kids went from 40 minutes to 30 minutes to eat and play.

According to the district, a bell goes off 15 minutes into lunch, reminding kids they can choose to either go outside and play or stay and finish their meals.

Escher has been documenting the uneaten food her kids bring home.

"Telling the kids that they need to choose between finishing their lunches or getting one of their very short recesses during the day to socialize with friends is not a healthy option for the kids," Escher said.

The district says the school board's policy is for every kid to have 20 minutes to eat. Right now they can have up to 30 minutes - but that means the child would be sacrificing play time.

And while a district representative has been monitoring lunches at Whittier, encouraging kids to finish their meals, parents say the clock runs way too short for kids who have to face those long lunch lines.

"This may be their only opportunity for a free and nutritious meal during the day and those kids only get 5 minutes to scarf it down? Or miss their recess so they have the chance to finish it? That's just inhumane," Escher said.

The concerned parents have started a Facebook page called Lunch & Recess Matter.  You can find the link by clicking here.