Teacher Set to Lose His Job Over Whole-Grain Pancakes

Kyle Byler gave each student one during standardized test
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2018 9:30 AM CDT
Teacher Kyle Byler's pancakes were whole-grain.   (Getty Image)

(Newser) – Kyle Byler is a beloved 8th-grade teacher at Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Hand Middle School and says his students "worked their butts off" during last week's standardized testing. While they were focusing on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, he plugged in an electric griddle and made each kid a single whole-grain pancake to eat during the test. He's likely to be fired for it, reports Lancaster Online. Per Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) stats, all but 5% of Hand's students hail from low-income families, and "for some, whole-grain pancakes may be the only hot meal they've gotten that day," says Lancaster Education Association president Jason Molloy. But after the assistant principal walked into the class during the test, Byler was told he'd be fired for causing a distraction.

The 38-year-old teacher, who has been with the school as a social studies teacher since 2013, says that's hogwash. "I don't understand what I did wrong. There was no infraction whatsoever." To wit, the PDE has no rule that bans making or serving food during the testing, though a rep for the department said that making the pancakes could have hindered Byler's ability to "actively" monitor the testing. Though more than two dozen students staged a 2-hour protest on Friday, Lancaster Online reports the school board is expected to green light Byler's termination at its Tuesday-night meeting. Lancaster Online's Facebook post on the issue is full of comments in support of Byler, with many recalling being fed snacks by teachers during their own testing, and one noting, "this is as stupid as the lunch ladies that have gotten fired at other schools for paying for school lunches for kids." (Read about one of those lunch ladies here.)

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