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Some Parents, Teachers Taking Issue With LAUSD's Mandatory Breakfast Program

LOS ANGELES ( — Many parents and teachers in the LA Unified School District are speaking out against a mandatory breakfast program in all of the district's elementary and middle schools.

Beginning this April, teachers will begin serving breakfast to students in the classroom.

No schools can opt out.

So far, 500 schools are serving free breakfast in class.

"While the children are eating I usually play a story," first-grade teacher Lorena Cisneros said.

Plenty of parents who spoke with CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Amy Johnson said they opposed the program.

"I do believe that they should be fed. I don't know necessarily if it should be during school time in the classroom," said Lori Schlaifer, the mother of two children who attend Riverside Drive Elementary School in Sherman Oaks. "I think that the teachers should focus on teaching and not cleaning up."

"That's a time for them to learn, so I don't think we should be cutting any more class time," said John Hyden, who also has a child at Riverside Drive Elementary.

"In terms of saying that it takes away instruction time, you know, the state superintendent says that it is instruction time," LAUSD Director of Food Services David Binkle said.

Binkle says 80 percent of the students qualify for the free and reduced-price meal because they're living below the poverty level.

LAUSD says attendance is up and fewer students are late at schools where breakfast is served in class.

Still, parents worry that the breakfast could be an issue because of allergies, special diets and overeating.

"I know that we already feed in the cafeteria, I believe, before school starts, so I'm not quite sure what was wrong with that program," Schlaifer said.

"Why isn't it left to… individual schools to say, 'We need that,' or,  'We don't need that program,' so we're not wasting money or food," parent Anjalika Nigam said.

While teachers and schools can't opt out of the program, the district says they will not force any students to actually eat the breakfast.

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