Paraprofessionals, including one-on-one paras, are entitled to a duty-free lunch period. Special Circular 6R, which is part of the UFT-DOE contract, established that lunchroom supervision may not be assigned to paras. Schools have other school-based personnel, including school aides and supervising school aides, who can be assigned this responsibility.
A child’s Individualized Education Program can mandate paraprofessional coverage at lunch for that child, but the IEP cannot, and does not, specify a specific person to perform that role. If a para is asked to be with a specific child during the child’s lunch per the IEP, that para must still have a duty-free lunch period at some other point in the day.
If a para is unsure about the requirements of a child’s IEP, the para should ask to see the IEP. State law requires that paraprofessionals have access to the IEPs of students in their care.
If a para is not being given a duty-free lunch period, the para should speak to the school chapter leader.