Silent Lunches. What the What?

Some schools are implementing silent lunches for all students

I've been puzzled for awhile now when my son tells me he can't talk at lunchtime. It usually comes up when I ask if he sat by a certain friend at lunch, or did he ask a certain friend about something, or is a certain topic (LEGO's) something he talks with any friends about at lunch. Then he simply, innocently says "We don't get to talk at lunch, Momma." When I ask why, he tells me because the teachers want them to have time to eat lunch.

All along this has bothered me, but it hasn't been a mandate until now. A note came home last night in my child's agenda that says beginning this week, silent lunch would be implemented. Really? The new policy states that music will be played while students eat, and while music is playing there is no talking. When music stops, kids can talk. So I'm guessing maybe they get 10 minutes to talk because lunch is only 30 minutes. The reasoning is for the "safety of the children" (I can't figure that one out) and so children will take the time to eat lunch.

Lunch is a break in the day to socialize, for kids and adults. Food is secondary! Not really, but come on, the kids will eat. The rest of the day, students are expected to quietly go to the bathroom, quietly sit at their desks and work, quietly do everything. It's a lot of structure. Too much structure doesn't enhance learning, it makes kids antsy. My kid likes to talk. I want him to have those 30 minutes to be silly and have a fun conversation at lunch. How else do children make friends and get to know one another? As far as I know, they can still get their giggles, wiggles and voices out on the playground … but that's only 30 minutes of recess each day, not a lot of time to talk, move and socialize. And will the kids who do talk in the cafeteria end up punished or get a consequence? Probably. Give the kids a break.

I'm not the only parent at my child's school who finds this new policy odd. One mom shared this today with a group of parent friends via social media. Apparently silent lunch is thing across the country now, and there are other parents who are against it. Kids need to learn to socialize. They need to learn how to have conversations — awkward ones, good ones, uncomfortable and great ones.

Curious to hear what other parents think? Do you see any validity in a silent lunch?