No more Honors’ breakfasts? No more pizza parties? No more snacks during Maryland School Assessment tests?
It all depends on the meaning that will be assigned to the following statement, adopted as part of a revised Wellness Policy, by the Harford County Board of Education at their meeting Monday in Bel Air.
l. Schools/staff shall refrain from 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.
Did you think that the words “shall refrain” meant “shall refrain” and “at any time” meant “at any time”? Ha!
School board counsel Patrick Spicer told the board prior their vote that the public had provided more input on the proposed Wellness Policy than on any other in recent memory, and that questions as to whether pizza parties and the like would be disallowed would “come down to procedures.”
So after the board voted in favor of the new policy language, Interim Superintendent Patricia Skebeck said a committee would be put together to develop procedures to clarify the policy. Hopefully, they will resolve a point made earlier by Spicer as to the conditions under which a water bottle would be considered “sustenance”, instead of a “reward”. Skebeck also said the procedures would be posted at some future date.
In the interest of full disclosure, I testified in opposition to the new language on behalf of my local PTA. We suggested that the Wellness Policy maintain the current language strongly discouraging food rewards, rather than banning them outright.
But it looks like the ban isn’t really going to be a ban. Or is it? Until the procedures are outlined, I “shall refrain” from making further policy interpretations “at any time.”