Parents pitch \'food free\' classrooms

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 8:47pm
2BusyBoys's picture
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[url="http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=133084"]http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=133084...
By John Hilliard/ Daily News Staff
Saturday, June 17, 2006

HOLLISTON -- A group of local parents is calling on school officials to kick food out of classrooms to protect children from potentially deadly allergic reactions.

"It's just not worth risking a kid's life for a cupcake," said resident Jennifer Glazer in an interview. "I believe food should be out of the classroom."

In a letter to the School Committee, Glazer and five other parents called on officials to adopt a formal food allergy policy and ban food from classroom parties and activities.

They wrote children with food allergies miss out on birthdays and other activities because of food allergies, and food should not block participation in schools.

They said schools should accommodate children with food allergies because requirements imposed by federal the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Not only is it unfair to our children (to serve food in classrooms), it is unfair to the town as a whole as it exposes the town to unnecessary liability if our children are not reasonably protected," the parents wrote.

School Committee Chairwoman Carol Emmons said her board assigned the proposal to its policy subcommittee for review on Thursday, a public process that will take a few months.

"I personally would not recommend a ban on food in classrooms at this time," said Emmons. "I would have to look at more research and data before I could make that recommendation to the School Committee."

Glazer, a former Westwood public school teacher, said her group's proposal doesn't target school lunches or snack breaks. She credited the School Committee for starting discussions on the plan.

She said teachers often use food to help in classroom demonstrations or is served during in-school parties. "It's in the sheer numbers (that) accidents will happen," said Glazer, whose child suffers from a wheat allergy.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, food allergies affect 8 percent of children under age 3, about 8 percent of school-age kids and nearly 3 percent of adults.

About half of people diagnosed with a food allergy could have a fatal reaction, according to the DOE. Food allergies have increased about 55 percent in the last five years.

Emmons said district staff already train to respond if a student suffers any kind of allergic reaction, but believed the town should adopt a formal policy.

Holliston schools have already dumped sweets and sodas from vending machines, and only serve fruit juices and athletic drinks to students, she said.

"I think safety for our students is the major concern," said Emmons. "I think an acute awareness is emerging...even 10 years ago, it was stressful for a teacher to know (a student had) a food allergy because they weren't educated."

(John Hilliard can be reached at 508-626-4449 or [email]jhilliar@cnc.com[/email].)

Posted on: Sun, 06/18/2006 - 11:55am
joeybeth's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

besides all the above reasons, i think classrooms should be food-free for the reason that kids don't need any more junk food than they're already eating. the food in the classrooms is generally not healthful or useful anyway. there are too many food-related activities and too many kids eating pure junk. (my kids included...but why add more junk during the schoolday??).
kids who need additional food (for medical reasons) could be allowed to do that, of course.
kids in general have breakfast at home or at school and then get a lunch at school. my kids don't seem to require anything more than that. my kids also prefer food-free activities and small toys or prizes to cupcakes and bags of candy. i would assume other kids would enjoy those more too. i think it's adults that seem to feel kids want food all the time. getting rid of it in the classroom would be good in many ways, imo.
[This message has been edited by joeybeth (edited June 18, 2006).]

Posted on: Sun, 06/18/2006 - 11:55am
joeybeth's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

besides all the above reasons, i think classrooms should be food-free for the reason that kids don't need any more junk food than they're already eating. the food in the classrooms is generally not healthful or useful anyway. there are too many food-related activities and too many kids eating pure junk. (my kids included...but why add more junk during the schoolday??).
kids who need additional food (for medical reasons) could be allowed to do that, of course.
kids in general have breakfast at home or at school and then get a lunch at school. my kids don't seem to require anything more than that. my kids also prefer food-free activities and small toys or prizes to cupcakes and bags of candy. i would assume other kids would enjoy those more too. i think it's adults that seem to feel kids want food all the time. getting rid of it in the classroom would be good in many ways, imo.
[This message has been edited by joeybeth (edited June 18, 2006).]

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