We agree with the sensible view shared by many health professionals when it comes to foods like candy and cupcakes — they’re OK, but in moderation.
Moderation, of course, is relative, but the goal should be a proper balance, with a focus on offering more fruits and vegetables and fewer cookies and soft drinks.
Oak Park District 97 has been updating, fine-tuning and clarifying its wellness policy. The district’s Wellness Council, comprised of teachers, administrators and parents, oversees that policy. They’ve sometimes played the role of “bad cop” in some parents’ eyes. But they are not the “food police.”
The district last month updated its administrative guidelines for enforcing the policy. The council approved new recommendations, such as limiting certain off-campus food fundraisers by PTOs and other groups to two a year. Some parents don’t like the limit or the idea that kids can’t receive a food treat from a teacher after completing a classroom project. That restriction is also outlined in the guidelines under “no food as reward.”
The district and the Wellness Council are on the right track in promoting healthier offerings to kids, and encouraging teachers, staff, parents and PTOs to follow those guidelines, which happen to be federally mandated.
But parents also have a point that the district should come up with more ideas about what parents and PTOs “can do” versus what they “can’t do” when it comes to kids’ food.
When it comes to change, it’s always a balancing act.