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Teacher wondering about lunch breaks, Florida

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  • Teacher wondering about lunch breaks, Florida


    I am a middle school teacher at a school in Orlando. At my school, teachers are required to work from 7:30 am to 4:45 pm every day except for Friday, when we are allowed to leave at 3:45. Not including lunch breaks, this is a 45.25-hour work week.

    Now, my question is this. We do not have any sort of lunch room staff due to a lack of funding, so all of the teachers (there are only 6 of us) are required to supervise lunch on a daily basis. We keep complaining that this is not a real lunch break (we are still "on duty"), but the administrators (who, by the way, are NOT present to help supervise lunc) insist that we can "just sit down and eat lunch with the kids." This is basically impossible, considering we also have to serve lunch to the children, give permission for bathroom breaks, attend to any disciplinary issues that arise, and just generally keep order in an insane lunch room.

    Can this "lunch time" legally be considered a lunch break? If not, is it legal for them to make us work 9 hours and 15 minutes each day with no lunch break? I usually end up having to use my planning period to eat my lunch--a time in which I am expected to be working. This is the only time we teachers have during our school day to get any kind of grading/paperwork done, and half the time we’re expected to attend various meetings or cover for absent teachers during this period.

    We have asked the principal what he plans to do about this problem, but his only answer was to say, "You’re right, this is a serious issue and I'm very concerned about it. Why don’t you write up a proposal detailing how the teachers could get a lunch break, and then e-mail it to me?" I thought that was his job, not mine!

    Any advice?

  • #2
    Teachers are generally exempt under the Learned Professional classification. Are you actually paid on an hourly basis?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      I am salaried rather than hourly, so I wasn't sure how (or if) the laws applied in my case. I know Florida apparently has non-existent lunch break laws, but a 45+ hour week with no lunch breaks at all seems a bit crazy to me. Then again, perhaps I just live in a crazy state.
      Last edited by teacherFL; 10-27-2008, 07:14 AM.


      • #4
        You live in a crazy state. Florida has no break laws.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        • #5
          Curse you, Sunshine State!

          I'm so exhausted.


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