Know Your Rights: Duty-Free lunch and testing times

While the ideal may differ from reality for your lunch experience, state law still guarantees you a 30-minute, duty-free lunch

As testing season approaches, an oft-asked question is: “Can my principal make me skip my duty-free lunches for student supervision during STAAR administration?”

The short answer is “no,” but with a “but…”

State law and commissioner rules do not allow for using duty-free lunch for classroom teachers and full-time librarians to be on duty during STAAR or any other testing. However, law does note things like “unforeseen circumstances” that would make that practice allowable.

Keep in mind the famous saying: “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.” Districts are well aware of the testing schedules and should be prepared to staff them appropriately. But if an emergency or unforeseen circumstance–along with the district using every reasonable way to get non-teaching staff to supervise students–arises, then you may be enlisted to duty. Get the full scoop, including whether you can leave campus during lunch, and whether escorting kids to the lunchroom counts toward your 30 minutes here.