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NIS Blog: Enforcing Policies that Protect Children

Upper Dublin School Board: Please enforce the policies that protect our children

Since being involved with the nutrition initiative, I have
learned much about the UD school district in the last three years.  I have attended many school board meetings and through all of them, it seems that there is always one thing that seems consistent:  Many community members with
many questions that are not always answered. It is in the least, very frustrating, as everyone has only 4 minutes of community input, and dare not go one millisecond over, for fear of being cut off in mid-sentence.  Then the hope is
that your question is answered, but that is not always the case.  It seems very disrespectful, as this is really one of the only ways to communicate with school board members, and yes there is limited time for questions and accompanying discussion that relates to taxes, budgets, policies and other important issues. 

The primary responsibility, as I have been told, of the school board is dealing with policies.  A policy is written to set a standard to be followed, so that everyone knows “the laws” to abide by.  It helps things to run smoother, and often will address consequences for non-compliance, at least for students.  So when the wellness policy, a federally mandated policy, was not being followed by administrators, as was stated by a school board member three years ago, that was very surprising.  To try and address this situation, many parents, teachers and administrators worked long and hard to revise the “boiler plate” policy to make it more about Upper Dublin and the high standards that we as a district possess, but yet making it a "workable policy".  We were told that there would be administrative regulations along with the policy, that are simply more details about the actual policy itself.  What we were not told, but have since found out, was that the administrative regulations were not really part of the policy, and therefore do not require waivers for deviations, as they were only “guidelines” for the administration.  Guidelines, which according to school board members, did not necessarily need to be followed.  There are other policies that have administrative guidelines, like the allergy and bullying policies, and the
administrative guidelines for these policies also contain procedures to protect
children, in some cases from serious or fatal reactions, but yet these
documents are just “guidelines”? 

If you agree that there should be compliance  by district employee/Administrators for policies along with their accompanying administrative regulations, please sign the attached form that specifically addresses the current non- compliance, by the Upper Dublin School District, of the Government mandated Wellness policy and
accompanying administrative regulations.

http://tinyurl.com/enforcingpolicy

As important stakeholders, we have a right to know that someone, as stated in this policy, is ensuring compliance. Just as with the other policies/administrative regulations mentioned, this one is also written with the intent to address the children’s future health and wellbeing, and therefore needs to be followed.  

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stacey Margo October 18, 2012 at 05:26 PM
This is so inane. We teach children respect, of themselves and of others. Yet there is such a clear lack of respect when it comes to our disagreement in how to get to a better place for our children here in this policy. In the schools, we are teaching our children what it means to be healthy: in the gym class and in the health class. Yet not in the cafeteria. We crave the best grades for our children. We want them to be the best, to have all the skills and resources to achieve these skills. Yet we are asking them to lower their standards when it comes to nutrition. We spend thousands of dollars in taxes to have the best equipment and books to make our children knowledgeable. Yet we are willingly okay with putting carcinogens and toxins into their tiny bodies because we don't want to be bothered with going against the grain and hearing them whine at the lunch table. It is just unfathomable that at the height of being known as the 4th fattest country with adult diseases plaguing our children, that the NIS is being called out as bullies for caring about our children. Shaking my head...
Jill Florin October 18, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thanks for your comments C smith. I am so happy that people leave some of these comments to clear up misunderstandings. The taking 3 or 4 things HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NUTRITION INITIATIVE. That is a federal government guideline which states that kids need to have a certain amount of components on their plates in order for the school to get their reimbursement. I totally agree and always have that it is a rediculous rule. As a matter of fact, it is something that creates, as you said a ton more waste...you put it on the kids tray and they do not eat it or drink it, where does it end up...IN THE TRASH. This is part of what is called the Offer versus Serve procedure....another government regulation. So please understand that some of these things that are so upsetting are not related in one bit to this initiative....we are just about giving kids healthier choices while keeping the bottom line in check. As an FYI, do you know that a child cannot have a bottle of water as a drink unless they pay separately for it, even if it would be one of their three components. I have also heard that unless there is a note from a parent to say that a child has a medical reason for not taking the milk or juice, they cannot have the water except to buy as a snack item. Why is that? Because the government sees no nutritional value in water, and so it cannot be taken instead of a milk or juice. Crazy right?
Joe Koenig October 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM
@Jill: Which is why I questioned following the Federal guidelines!! Please check your response to me. " @joe...are you saying that we should not comply with something that is for the better health of the children?" Do you think that the UD community might have a better idea as to the issues within our community. Blanket regulations are not helpful, they only throw up barriers to sucess.
Jill Florin October 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
@Joe...so sorry Joe...I misunderstood. As regulations are such a broad term and there are so many. I was referring to the newest regulations where there must be a fruit or vegetable on the plate. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, I think is a step in the right direction. The other regulations are not all so good, as I stated above, adn yes I definitely feel that if we could just do what we felt worked best for our kids in our community we would be a lot better off. But, as I had stated, as long as you are a public school,I believe you have no choice in the matter, but to follow the regulations if you want to get paid. I do not think that the school even has an option not to follow the guidelines because they are a public school, and the kids that would be hurt if they would not follow the guidelines would be the free and reduced, as they would then have to pay....it is so complicated to follow, and yes these types of regulations do throw up barriers to success...I full heartedly agree :)
Greenbyrd October 18, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Joe, guess you didn't read the part about UD getting one quarter of a MILLION dollars in state and federal funds per school year...PLUS the $35,000 to $45,000 in commodity foods, PLUS a $15,000 dairy grant! Over 30% of UD food service budget comes from government reimbursements...if you can get the school board to give that up, I will re -organize the food service to be a profitable business...gratis! But, in the mean time, the federally mandated wellness policy was created for school districts to dictate the foods they do and do not want served to it's students! And to those who say leave the food decisions up to the professionals ( as only one board member is a physician), I say, the food "experts "in our government have been in charge of the National School Lunch Program for 7 decades...and look at the health of America's children! Did you know 8 ounces of milk is considered a serving for a 6 yr. girl and a 16 yr. boy? The fed knows this is a huge problem. Kids have gotten used to "fast food" at school, it is going to be tough to turn them around, but not impossible. I have proof of this. I teach the so-called " disadvantaged" kids what a healthy, balanced meal is, and was told they won't eat " healthy" food". Really! Some of their favorites are... Grilled rosemary chicken, couscous, steamed, chilled broccoli, roasted vegetable tomato sauce ( on anything), chicken vegetable soup, zucchini bread, sweet potato muffins, pineapple, apples, eggs (any way)!

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