HighschoolIV originally uploaded by Allen
According to this Reuters article (via wonderment), changes made in Kansas middle schools segregate student lunch periods by gender to create what some claim are a more healthy environment with reductions in, “teasing, rough-housing and flirting”.
From the article:
“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 Archibeque 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.
The article goes on to note that the administrators feel that this setup is really working for its students and that they are performing quite well because of the changes. The students themselves appear to be pleased with the segregated lunch periods and see no reason to go back to the way they were before.
But the real question is how did we get to the point where there was time for cross-gender “teasing, rough-housing and flirting,” during lunch periods in middle school? While that all went on during lunches when I was in middle-school, it certainly was not limited to lunches and was actually diminished during that time as we were much too busy putting PB&J sandwiches behind artwork display cases as some sort of faux science experiment/time capsule to see what they’d look like in six months. And it’s not as if the cafeteria wasn’t already self-segregated. Plenty of people were “going out” but there were no mixed gender tables at lunch. Boys did their thing and girls did their thing at lunches. Have times really changed that much that they’re spending time together at lunch now?
What do you think about gender segregated lunch periods? Clearly it’s working in these districts but do you think it’s a model for other districts to follow or is it unnecessary? When you were in school did you bother with the opposite gender during lunch (or any time of the day)? Would you consider the segregation as punishment or a good thing? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.