Concerned parents spoke at a third straight Tucker County Board of Education meeting Monday to discuss the impact of the board's wellness policy on school fundraising.
Tom Gutshall, Chopper Evans, Gary Lipscomb and Susan Miller addressed the board with their concerns. They spoke on behalf of approximately 20 parents and students in attendance in the hope of persuading the board to change the wellness policy and allow the sale of certain food items for their children's fundraisers.
In a previous meeting with the Inter-Mountain, Dr. Eddie Campbell, superintendent of Tucker County schools, said the current wellness policy doesn't allow the selling of food items that are not healthy. The parents are now attempting to get the board to allow for leniency in the policy so food can be sold by students after school hours, as the food is sold at concession stands during school sporting events.
"If we aren't allowed to do fundraisers then you are neglecting the children," said Gutshall.
He made the case that improving the health of children doesn't start with school mandates about what to eat. Instead, he said, exercise and proper eating habits at home will keep kids healthy.
"By not doing fundraisers, you (the board) aren't making kids skinnier," he said.
Evans echoes Gutshall's statements by saying the development of healthy physical habits is important, such as replacing time spent in front of a computer with time spent outside.
He also talked about the types of fundraisers that, in his opinion, sell the best.
"I'm more willing to buy a pepperoni roll than a candle," Evans said.
Lipscomb mentioned that every other county in the state allows students to sell food at fundraisers.
"We just want the same thing that every county in the state of West Virginia has," Lipscomb said.
Miller also spoke to this point.
"We are the only county that holds this position," she said.
Campbell responded to the several points that were brought up by the parents.
"We haven't put a prohibition on food fundraisers," he said, mentioning that the only foods to be turned down as fundraisers were those that didn't meet school nutrition guidelines.
He said there is room in the policy to permit the selling of chicken or spaghetti, for example, because they can be prepared in a way that aligns with school policy.
Campbell did take a step back from the action, however, deferring to the board members.
"I want to protect your board policy and carry it out to the letter it was intended," he said, speaking to all board members. "My role is to enforce the policy that you (the board) have implemented."
All board members expressed the desire to keep the Tucker County wellness policy in line with state guidelines. They will be meeting next week to further discuss possible changes to the policy.
The public meeting is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. in the Tucker County Board Office.
Three personnel changes were approved at the meeting:
- The resignation of Angela Humphrey as assistant basketball cheer coach at Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School was accepted.
- Jeannette Ware, Preston Simmons, Joshua Carrico and Casey Carrico have been hired as county substitute teachers for the 2012-2013 school year, pending a certification and CIB check.
- Michael Callaway has been hired as a substitute bus operator for the 2012-2013 school year, pending a certification and CIB check.