Carroll schools' nutrition policy changes debated

Meeting state, federal guidelines is at issue

February 24, 2005|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN STAFF

The student representative on the Carroll County school board pressed his point, and in doing so, drew a proverbial line in the sand: If school officials decide to stop selling ice cream and other snacks in schools, they will have to face some angry students.

"Vending machines are our privilege," said Andy McEvoy, a senior at Century High School in Eldersburg. "When you start taking them away, you're going to get arguments."

McEvoy made the comments yesterday at a board work session where officials were discussing what kinds of changes the district will have to make to meet state school nutrition guidelines as well as federal regulations connected with the National School Lunch Program.

For the past year, Carroll school officials have been examining the issue of how to encourage healthy eating habits and physical activities among students. A committee, led by Stephen Guthrie, assistant superintendent of administration, has been reviewing the district's policy on healthy schools.

As part of his committee's presentation yesterday, Guthrie displayed a calculation of how much ice cream the school system sells in a typical year.

According to Guthrie's findings, the school system sold 507,480 ice cream treats, for an average of 17 per student per year.

His group met with board members to discuss new state and federal nutrition and wellness policy requirements as well as to review a draft of a proposed county policy that would bring the school system into compliance.

Guthrie suggested modifying the district's current policy - adopted in 1995 - rather than rewriting it. The amended policy would include guidelines on what kinds of foods and beverages will be allowed to be sold in schools and would spell out efforts to improve education about healthy eating.

The state Board of Education approved new nutrition standards this week designed to reduce the amount of junk food students eat at school.

Carroll school officials discussed whether to extend the county's policy to cover foods sold during any school activity, even those after school.

McEvoy cautioned them against doing so, stressing that many booster clubs raise funds by selling snacks during games and other activities.

Board member Laura K. Rhodes agreed that officials could find themselves on shaky ground if they attempt to cast too broad a net with the policy.

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