What’s good for the goose

By Marcie Klomp

. . . is good for the teacher.

Much discussion took place on the wellness policy at Howard-Winneshiek School Board meeting on July 23.

It was noted if students have to follow a healthy eating strategy then so do the teachers. They should not be drinking caffeine products, including coffee, or snacking in their classrooms with students.

Board member James Kitchen volunteered that several times his son had witnessed a teacher/teachers not complying with the policy.

Board President Karlos McClure, retired teacher/superintendent stated, “I was a teacher in 1963 and back then we could never have food or drink in our room. Principals shouldn’t have to police it.”

In another instance, in May 2012 the wording of the school’s policy became an issue after a parent brought a pizza to school for their child and allowed other children to sample it.

Much discussion went into the proposed update to the wellness policy.

Carver explained, “A lot of the stuff in the wellness policy is mandated [by the state]. We have an obesity problem in the United States and we need to address it.”

School lunches need to follow the state rules but an update to the school’s policy would allow parents to choose what their children bring in their sack lunch or what parents bring when they have lunch with their child.

The superintendent said, “If parents want to send a sack lunch with a Subway and Mountain Dew, I suggest we respect that.” He added, “School employees shouldn’t have to be the food police.”

Board member Karlos McClure questioned the soda pop angle, since pop is discouraged as a beverage at How.-Winn. Does the school have the authority to deny pop to be brought into school. Emily Neal, School Outreach Coordinator relating to Wellness, Sustainability and Environment for Luther, said, “For comparison, you have a dress code.”

For teachers who need their coffee fix, Deb Obermann, How-Winn Wellness Team Chair, and Food and Fitness Youth Team Coach, explained, “It is bell to bell [to go without]. That’s what the Healthy Kids Act has in place.”

Carver said it was all about being professional. In other schools he has worked, he found, “Some people get it and others don’t. Some teachers have a coffee pot in their room.”

Board member Scott Fortune was concerned about how the updated policy was to be presented to parents and staff. Carver answered, “That falls back to me and the administrators.”

The plan was finally approved with the addition of a list of healthy snacks allowable and making sure it was presented to all involved.

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