Stoughton Schools Wellness Policy Limits Consumption of Food and Drink in Classroom

The updated Stoughton Schools Wellness Policy meets the mandatory nutritional recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Mass. General Law for the Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools.

As Stoughton students head back to school September 5, they may be in for a "culture shock" school officials say.

Starting this school year, bleary-eyed high school students can't drink coffee in their first period classes (or in any of their classes for that matter); students can't sell mass amounts of candy for club fundraisers during the school day; and younger students will no longer have "popcorn Fridays."

These past traditions will become part of nostalgic school lore, kind of like making a call home from a school's payphone.

In an effort to meet the mandatory nutritional recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Massachusetts General Law for the Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools, the Stoughton School Committee unanimously approved an updated Wellness Policy for the Stoughton Public Schools at its meeting on August 28.

This updated Wellness Policy will alter the way students throughout the school system will consume food and drink outside of the cafeteria, placing an emphasis on promoting healthy nutritional habits.

Competitive food and beverages are defined as food and drink provided in: school cafeterias offered as a la carte items; school buildings (including classrooms and hallways); school stores; school snack bars; vending machines; concession stands; booster sales; fundraising activities; school-sponsored or school-related events; or, any other location on school property.

According to the policy:

  • Students in grades 6-12 are not allowed to consume any food or drink, except water, at any time, in any area of the school other than the cafeteria. This means middle school and high school students are not allowed to bring in food or drink other than water into the classroom for consumption.
  • Snack is not allowed at the middle school and high school unless medically necessary.  In these cases, current medical documentation should be kept on file with the school nurse.
  • There will still be a snack time for students in grades K-5. Parents and guardians are encouraged to send a healthy snack to school.
  • There will be no sharing of food at any time during the school day.
  • The use of all food items as part of a student incentive or reward program is not allowed.
  • Distribution of food items (that do not meet nutritional guidelines) for consumption in classrooms is not allowed.
  • Classroom parties for holidays and other special occasions will not include food items. Birthdays may be acknowledged with non-food items.
  • All food related fundraising projects for sale and consumption by students are not allowed during the school day. The insertion of the "by students" leaves the door open for PTOs to hold bake sales on election days, for example.

"These standards," according to the policy, "shall apply to competitive foods and beverages sold or provided on school grounds 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the end of the school day."

Additionally, the policy states:

  • Booster organizations, PTOs and school councils operating concessions at school functions after the instructional day must offer for sale at least two healthy food choices, including fresh fruit and non-fried vegetables. In fact, fresh fruit and non-fried vegetables must be sold at any location where food is sold, with the exception of non-refrigerated vending machines and vending machines dispensing only beverages.
  • The use of fryolators in preparation of food at any time in any school building is prohibited.

This policy limits the food and drink consumed in the classroom. However, students are still allowed to bring a lunch and beverage from home to be consumed in the cafeteria during the lunch period.

Plain, potable water will be "readily available" to all students during the school day, at no cost to the students.

Take a look at the full updated Wellness Policy in the media gallery.

Heather September 06, 2012 at 09:32 PM
All school cafeterias in town now server breakfast, elementary, middle and High school.
michd September 07, 2012 at 12:33 AM
OUTRAGED! My children arrived home from school today to tell me that their teachers have Dunkin Donuts coffee as well as other beverages on their desk. If the students can’t have anything but water, why the hell do the teachers have to rub it in their face that they are allowed to not follow the same policy? Learn by example, this is a clear clase of “Do as I say not as I do”! I think it’s time to get the media involved in this....
Dawn September 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM
DJ, apology accepted. I know discussions on this board get heated, and I normally never comment, but I was merely making a statement, not a criticisim of the schools. You're right, some people will always be critical of the schools decisions, either way. I think what most people are upset about is that this came out of nowhere, with no discussion with parents (to my knowledge), and just a pre-recorded message on answering machines the day before school started. My oldest is in SHS and my youngest just started at OMS, so it's not a huge issue for me. I was just thinking back to how much they enjoyed their holiday parties in Elementary school, and didn't think that an ocassional treat should be such a big issue that they had to ban everything. I can understand why they don't want High School students walking around the halls with ice coffee. I honestly didn't even know that was allowed before the new rules. I fully appreciate that the schools are now making healthy lunches for the children. God knows, they weren't when I was in school. Never really knew what was under the breading in the clam roll!!
Fiscal Conservative September 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
DJ & Dawn: It seems like those in charge are taking all the fun out of being a kid. I get upset because, we adults, seem to forget the enjoyment we had in youth youth. I enjoyed school so much, I always looked forward to spending time with friends and teachers. Now, it seems like the day is so regimented and structured by adults who want kids to grow up far too quickly. I have 3 grandchildren, I want them to stay "young & childish" as long as they can. Why should they enter "our world" too soon? Its not a very sane world, in adulthood. The hate, the crime and all the other crap. Do they really need it? Wish I didn't have to put up with it. Although, it is over 6 decades ago, I lovingly remember those days without a care, riding bikes, climbing trees, skating on ponds, drinking water from a garden hose, playing cowboys & indians, shooting BB guns, Bows & Arrows in the backyard, Hide & Go Seek, ball games with no organization by adults (we resolved our own problems). No TV until I was in 6th grade (we had to get up to change the channels: 2, 4, 5, 7, 10 & 12). State Theater Sat matinees: 3 movies & cartoon for 35 cents. Webster's Ice Cream. Now, it's a different world. I feel bad to today's young. Can't even enjoy a cupcake in school. Why? Adults know best. Do they really?
DJ September 08, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I don't dissagree, but none of your examples have anything to do with the schools. Kids today grow up faster in general due to advanced technology/communications both bringing them insight into adult themes they should not be exposed to and keeping them inside and immobile. It was the overzealous parent that created the superkid and terminated kids play and independence for fear of safety issues. They even removed Halloween for nearly a decade and made kids attend parties instead of walking the block. Kids were placed in structured team sports from exceedingly young ages and pick up games became obsolete. Club and Elite teams have actually taken precedence over high school sport. I can go on and on, but can think of very little to validate your argument that the schools attributed. I grew up in the 60's and 70's. We had a blast in school and out, but we weren't celebrating holidays in schools other then to either participate in music or assembly. Food was never part of the equation and we were still happy and having fun.


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