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Food reward ban survey results in

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A Warren County School Board work session brought no conclusions to the ongoing issue of a food reward ban, but it did bring results from a survey given to the area's principals on the policy's implementation.

The policy, put into place last Dec. 1, bans school employees from using "any food as a reward for academic excellence or any other behavior."

Superintendent Pamela McInnis distributed the survey results to School Board members Thursday night, and explained that time was necessary for them to be reviewed.

"Some things will need to be negotiated, that's for sure," she said, and proposed that principals of the area's five elementary schools needed to meet and compare their responses with one another.

Questions that were asked of the schools included involvement of food in birthday and holiday celebrations, changes that have been made with using food as a reward or instructional tool, and what snacks are allowed to be eaten by students.

A majority of the responses stressed the importance of healthy snacks in schools. Many of the principals made a list of pros and cons dealing with the new policy, and one con was parents of students not understanding the reasoning for the ban.

At a meeting earlier this month, Matt Tederick accused school officials of covering up the true issue for the policy, and suggested it was a response to another parent's complaint filed with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. The parent had an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic child who apparently had related issues at Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School.

McInnis said she was still withholding comment on the complaint. There was also no mention of the child or any issues with diabetic students in Hilda J. Barbour's response to the survey.

McInnis said the principals would meet to discuss the progress of the policy at an upcoming work session.

In other matters, school board members:

• Got updates from principals of E. Wilson Morrison Elementary and Ressie Jeffries Elementary on their school improvement programs. Both principals feel the programs are having positive effects on their students.

• Agreed to a budget work session on Saturday, March 10 at 9 a.m.

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