School separates boys and girls during lunch

The middle school lunchroom can be hormone central. Boys trying to impress girls and vice versa, neither doing much eating. That may not be the case this year at Mancelona Middle School.

The district has instituted girls and boys only lunches. Superintendent Jeffery DiRosa says his initial reason for separating the sexes had nothing to do with public displays of affection, it was scheduling move.

DiRosa says, "This is about three groups of kids that are just too large to fit in the lunchroom at the same time."

They thought about dividing lunch up by grades, but they would have had to split up classmates so they came up with a different plan.

6th through 8th grade boys eat first while the girls go outside for recess. Then they swap. The groups are separated for 35 minutes.

DiRosa says, "At the time of the decision we couldn't see a down side to it. It is a short period of time and an effective way to handle a crowding issue. I still don't see a downside."

But some parents like Steve Ordway are concerned their kids are missing out on important social skills.

Ordway says, "I think the kids need to be together. If we wanted them separate we would send them to a private school."

The district insists students are getting adequate time with the opposite sex in the classroom and during after school activities. As for lunch and recess, they like what they're seeing.

DiRosa says, "They're calmer, less showing off, things like that it is going great."