The classroom may become a “no treat zone” if a revised School Wellness Policy is adopted by the Harford County Board of Education. The policy expressly prohibits “using food or beverages at any time as either reward or punishment for academic or instructional achievement, performance, effort or activity in any respect or for behavior modification or punishment.”
Even Pavlov’s dog knows how food can be used as a reward. But you have to wonder how food is currently being used as punishment. Is HCPS withholding treats from students who misbehave or serving up those meat pies from Sweeny Todd?
The revised policy also prohibits withholding recess as a punishment and establishes access to heath and wellness programs for staff.
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting where the revisions were presented, board member Alysson Krchnavy said the idea is to help combat childhood obesity by setting a policy of “No more food rewards”.
So if the revised School Wellness Policy is approved, there will be no snacks to boost test-takers during the MSAs, no pizza parties and absolutely no more Jolly Ranchers, or Tootsie Rolls or carrot sticks for that matter, used to reward achievement or behavior in class.
The Board will be voting on these revisions at a future meeting. In the meantime, public comments are welcome at www.hcps.org and as always, here on The Dagger.
So Dagger readers, is this policy a good idea or an example of the food police run amok?
Horrible, Horrible idea. I understand candy, kind of, but to not allow pizza parties and the like is ridiculous. Also, teachers won;t be able to punish kid’s behavior by not allowing them recess? Just stupid…
agree with steve bad idea, its not like the kids get a treat on a daily basis. it would be better if the parents would unplug the play station and push them out the door for a couple hours of play.
vietnam vet says
My wife and I are raiseing a little 6 year old. the teachers are Great ! but these higher up’s are some thing to worry about. I also agree unplug the play station. or close the fast food restaurant’s.
Which this little one get’s very little. accept as a treat.
If they were really concerned about wellness, they wouldn’t service french fries and pizza everyday in the cafeterias. And the Elementary kids would get longer recesses. How about letting High school students get some “Mental health” breaks during the day instead of back-to-back classes all day. Another example of “Wag the dog.” Let’s spend lots of time on non-issues so we don’t have time to look at real issues.
g maurice says
What a crock of S*** each year I always get Pizza for my son’s class as a reward for a reading program/end of school year . It gives the kids something to look forward to especiall having a little break in class. As a tax payer maybe they should concentrate on other issues other than taking away any rewards for the students. I wonder if Alysson Krchnavy ever ate lunch in a HC Public School?
Let’s not forget teacher and staff “rewards.” No more free food for Teacher Appreciation. No more homemade goodies to thank teachers for going beyond the call of duty to help a child or write a recommendation. Let’s make sure this policy is completely ridiculous.
This is an example of HCPS and the Board of wasting their time, which is a pretty good skill of theirs! My god, do they think teachers have bags upon bags of treats to hold over the kids so they will work? Do they think teachers have excess money for pizza parties?
What if a teacher were to give out a Jolly Rancher or Smarties? Will HCPS and the Board establish a School Wellness Tactical Police Enforcement Group? Be realistic, this is just simply crazy.
Why don’t they take a look at the many other needs in the system and get working on them rather than something dumb and ridiculous like this. How about starting with the CSRRP report and suggestions. Especially in the area of LICW.
PTA Mom says
I agree! How silly! What would an “Honor Roll Breakfast” be without a treat? When I was in high school, we had a 15 minute “Nutrition Break” every day around 10:30 – a chance to chat with friends, stretch our legs, and grab a small snack to get us through until lunch time. It was refreshing to the mind, the spirit, and the tummy. Perhaps instead of policing snack regulations, they should add compeitive sports to the middle school after-school programs, or do away with the “no gym uniform, no participation” policies.
Further more, what SHOULD teachers reward students with…cash? Come on now!
I think I see another “Pilot Program” coming for Patterson Mill.
This stupid policy doesn’t ever deserve a comment. Forget the snacks and food, it appears the Board should be given a “breathalzyer” test, after this, latest of faux pas of “major” decisions.
The best intentions of fighting childhood obesity cannot be sucessful if only fought for 6.5 hours a day, 180 days a year. As with so many issues, it starts at home.
The current policy “strongly encourages” nutritious foods at schools, and refraining from using foods as a reward or punishment(?).
The proposed policy goes too far, removing all treats, nutritious or not.
And what message are we sending in promoting a healthy lifestyle, to lock soda machines until dismissal, then allowing access? It’s like saying “Don’t cheat while I’m watching, but I get off at 3:00!” If you truly don’t want the kids drinking soda, then have the machines removed, period. And you might want to check their bagged lunches as well for unhealthy contraband!
vietnam vet says
this is and on going issue. with no resolve. president eisenhower complained about the physical condition of the troop’s in 1958. here we are in 2009 somebody pick’s up the ball.
restarts a Dead horse. I wonder what make’s them think it’s going to work now.
Patterson Mill Teacher says
I personally reward every student in my class every 10 minutes with an entire box of chocolates. Not only have their test scores gone up but so have their waist sizes!
This policy is crazy. I am all for encouraging healthy eating habits, but I think small treats from the teacher from time to time are helpful and show the kids that you acknowledge their efforts. I agree with those of you commenting on the school lunches. They are ridiculous. It is basically pizza in a different form each day–stuffed crust dippers, pizza, double deep dish pizza, mozzarella sticks (as an entree). Of course it is not always pizza, some days it is nachos grande! A much healthier choice. Let’s start there and at home and maybe we will gets somewhere.It is comical if you ask me. This can be the policy but I can guarantee I will always have a little something in my desk just in case someone does something extraordinary!
I am completely dumbfounded! What are we thinking?? or not? The few treats the kids get in school are not the cause of obesity in our children! I agree with those who commented on the lunches! Processed foods with tons of fat and additives. Can’t anyone cook anymore? We just take the easy route, heat and serve. Our children are unhealthy because dinner/lunch, even breakfasts come in a bag loaded with fats and then because “WE” are so busy with our work and chores they sit and watch TV and play video games. Obesity cannot be cured by taking a few treats away that are being used by a teacher for rewards. Teachers are suppose to positive reward good behavior and work and some children need those incentives to be motivated. Who wants stickers??
On Dan Rodricks show on WYPR today he’s got the Director of Food Service for Baltimore City schools. He has run “Farm to Schools” programs in other places. He is implementing a program that says all fruits and vegetables in Balto. City schools have to be grown in Maryland. Imagine Lohr’s apples in our cafeteria, or Brad’s strawberries. Not only better for the kids, but cheaper than all the processed junk. That’s a wellness concept I can sign on to.
Bari Klein says
I question whether the majority of people commenting on this issue have even read the proposed policy changes. While I agree the school lunches could certainly use an overhaul, the crux of the proposed wellness policy changes center around not using food as a reward or withholding physical activity as a punishment. It about making us focus more on learning and encouraging or discouraging behaviors based with more appropriate academic focused actions. I think this is a step in the right direction especially in this age of rising childhood obesity and increased food allergies. As far as not addressing issues after dismissal, that has probably more to do with the impossibility of policing all the outside users of school facilities after hours.
vietnam vet says
I seriously doubt. one school lunch per day, A snack included is going to in crease there obesity any measurable degree.
Teaching kids about proper nutrition in school and then alternatively rewarding them with junk food is like teaching them not to smoke and then rewarding them with cigarettes.
Special Educator says
I am a special educator and sometimes we need to use food to reward students so they can learn basic habits! For example, one of my students is not potty trained. Whenever he requests to go to the bathroom, he received a “treat” (usually a few Cheerios). For my students, some of whom function at a toddler/pre-school level, the basic exchange of “action/reward” is the ONLY way they can be conditioned and learn something.