Our Very First Guest Post! Submitted by Tiffany Ladley Singleton

Okay, I hope this is the place I’m supposed to submit my “topic,” so here it goes.  I’m the parent of 4 children that attend school in the Elmore County school system and I’m the PTO president at WIS, I’m a PTO board member at WES and I’m the Vice-President of the new RES.  Yes, I know, I’m over-extended, but that’s not what this post is about ( but, I do plan to submit a later topic on the need for more parent volunteers and participation in the Wetumpka school system).  Needless to say, I plan a lot of PTO and school events.  The topic of Nutrition seems to be coming up a lot more lately and has become quite an issue with me and for the different PTO’s in which I am involved.  First of all, most of us are aware of the restrictions that the county nutritionist has put out about not having sweets in the classroom (or at school at all) and wanting healthier choices in the lunchroom.  Overall, I, and probably most of the other Elmore county parents, understand and agree that we do want healthy and nutritious food for our kids in the lunch room and in the school environment.  However, I believe that the policies, as they stand, are way too strict and have too many gray areas and are, in essence, making our teachers and principals be food police instead of the educators they need to be and want to be.
I, for one, have not liked the fact that the nutrition policies, in regard to sweets and “outside” foods, are being so strictly enforced.  It is causing the principals to almost completely eliminate class parties.  And yes, I know that school parties are not mandatory and don’t usually serve an educational purpose per say but they are great incentives for kids during the year.  There is so much stress being put on our kids and teachers right now in regard to test scores and performance, shouldn’t there be a couple of times a year when it is okay to have a little fun?
As I understand it, the nutrition policies are set out by the federal government and then left to the state and counties to interpret the polices and apply them at the local level.  As it stands now, I do not believe that the current nutrition policies are benefiting us on the local level.  An example that just came up this past week would be the Muffins for Moms and the Donuts for Dads events that WIS (Wetumpka Intermediate School) hosts each year in April so children can invite their parent or parents to breakfast.  It’s also a sort of thank you to the parents for their support of the PTO during the school year.  It is a nice event in which we have always had great participation and feedback.  Well, last week we were informed by the County Nutritionist that we would not be able to hold this event on school property any longer due to the county nutrition policy.  A lot of calls were made to the Superintendent’s office and after a number of discussions we have been given the go ahead to have the events.  I do want to say that I am very thankful to the Superintendent’s office for working with us on this event.  But, being on three PTO boards, I get a lot of feedback from teachers and parents and these are certainly not the only events that are affected by the current nutrition polices.  I’ve been told that teachers will have to remove all refrigerators from the classrooms. So, they will no longer have a place to keep cold drinks or snacks or even their personal lunches.  I’ve been told that no teacher is allowed to bring “unapproved” food for their personal lunch.  An example I was given was that if a teacher and their family have Pizza Hut for their dinner, the next day the teacher can not even bring a piece of that Pizza Hut pizza for their own lunch in the WIS lunchroom the next day.  Other teachers have said they have received harsh reprimands for having Pizza parties (or other reward parties) during school hours and have been warned that not fully complying with the current nutrition policies would reflect badly on their personal files.  I have also been informed that there are some gray areas as to whether the PTO or other school affiliated groups will be allowed to sell food at events such as our annual PTO Board Meeting and Hot Dog Supper, or sell pizza at the upcoming WIS Arts Festival.
I, as a PTO representative and a parent, feel like many of the aforementioned county nutrition polices are just unacceptable.  I am planning to have a meeting with the Superintendent and share my concerns about these matters.  I am also going to request that this matter be put on the agenda for the April or May county school board meeting.  I, personally, feel like there needs to be some amendments made to the current policies. For example, I believe that each teacher should have at least two events per year, per classroom, where outside food may be brought in.  I feel as though each school should be allowed food compliance leniency for annual school-wide events. I do not believe that the polices should be enforceable in any form or fashion for events that take place after school hours, such as school-wide PTO meetings and other after-school functions.  Most of the time, these are money-raising events for the PTO, teachers, and school, and serving food almost always goes along with those functions.
By writing about this matter I’m hoping to put information out there for parents that might not have been aware of the far-reaching effects of these nutrition policies and what they really mean to our students and teachers in the classroom setting.  I’m also hoping that some of the parents that read this will even take the time to send a nice note to the Superintendent’s office and let them know how you feel about this matter.
Thanks for giving me a forum to share these thoughts.

11 thoughts on “Our Very First Guest Post! Submitted by Tiffany Ladley Singleton

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  1. Right on, Tiffany! The key is moderation. I also believe that it should be acceptable for children to enjoy parties at school that involve sweets occationally. Children are often motivated to reach goals with the possitive re-enfocement of special events (special=not everyday!). Eat a cupcake people!!! You will be ok! Children have enough stress in their little lives. Let them have a little fun.

  2. Preach on sista!!! Very well said. They can’t have sweets, they can’t talk in the lunch room, heaven forbid wave at a friend in the hall, mine are not allowed to talk on the bus in the afternoon after being in class all day. Let the children be children – if I wanted my kids in a military environment, I would send them to military school!!!

  3. Dear Anonymous— It is not that bad! The kids in my class DO talk in the lunchroom, do wave at their friends and are in a loving environment during the entire day— (Have you driven a school bus???? Not so easy– I’m sure we do want our kids to be safe……) I am sorry you feel this way….

  4. Tiffany, I couldn’t agree with you more. This has been a sore spot with me ever since these new regulations were started. I think it was a good idea that was taken to the extreme. What happened to good ole common sense and trust that your teachers and school officials can make a decent and intelligent decision without every single bite having to be spelled out. I guess I need to send a friendly letter also.

  5. Excellent. The whole thing sounds a bit big-brotherish to me. As if any government entity knows better how we should raise our children than we do. They would shudder in their shoes if they knew that it is not an uncommon occurrence for my son to have a CHOCOLATE BROWNIE as a snack before school. And to tell the teachers what they can and cannot eat for lunch is absolutely asinine.

  6. You go Tiffany!!!Our school system is going for the “ole McDonald’s is making us unhealthy and fat” story. Helloooo a little common sense will tell you that mixing in a cupcake, a bag of chips or (heaven forbid) a piece of pizza every now and then is OK. But then that would be it wouldn’t it, common sense. This generation of leaders are what I call the “blamers”. Let’s blame and sue McDonalds because my coffee was hot and when I spilled it burned my fingers. Let’s blame Burger King because I let my child eat 2 Whoppers everyday and now they are super obese. Let’s blame the soda companies because I allow my kids to drink sodas all day everyday and their teeth are rotting. Let’s blame Willy Wonka for all the cavities in the world! They/We don’t want take responsibility for what we do, eat or drink. Or maybe it is the “Helen ‘Mama’ Boucher” Syndrome. You know The Water Boy movie. Bobby’s mama just claimed it was the debul (devil) if she didn’t understand it. What is the world coming to when a Pizza party is the debul! It’s pizza people!!Come on Leaders! Use the common sense God gave you. In my opinion He gave us 10 rules to remember and gave us common sense to figure out the rest. I agree with Tiffany can’t we let the children go back to actually enjoying going to school. And when did school become so awful. I didn’t start hating school until much later in life. My son is still in elementary school and already hates school. What happened to learning being fun and school being enjoyable! Common sense people!We all turned out pretty good, didn’t we?!Okay I am getting off my soap box now and I am going to go eat my Little Debbie snack cake and Diet Coke just cause the BOE can’t tell me otherwise!

  7. This is ridiculous!! No refrigerators for the teachers, “approved” food for the teacher’s lunch? It if were me, I would say you can kiss my arse if you don’t like what I am eating. This is supposed to be a free country. Another example of big government’s tyranny being exercised at the local level by a the BOE and their food Nazi. This is a much kinder and gentler society now than it was back when we could pray in school, have an invocation at a football game instead of a fracking moment of silence. As to the kids, I approve not feeding them junk, but jeez, a little common sense.. Or is it uncommon sense.

  8. To me it is simply another way for teachers to be forced to raise our children for us. Kids are overweight because of the choices their parents make for them, not because they eat one cupcake at a party twice a year at school. I for one am sick and tired of people expecting the school system to raise their children and if they happen to be obese it is because they eat yeast rolls at school? I went to Wetumpka my entire life and ate those rolls and the mexican pizza and the french fries cooked in oil *gasp* I am not overweight, nor have I ever been, because my parents were parents at HOME! Unfortunately this goes for every facet of education, homework, projects, etc.

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