On June 16, 2017, the Parkway School District adopted a new food policy, stating “classrooms should be food free whenever possible” to help prevent allergic reactions.
”Students need to realize that what they do in public space affects others. Whatever [people] are eating, wearing, and saying affect others,” said math teacher Wendy Freebersyser.
There has been an increase of food allergies in recent years, raising safety concerns, especially at the elementary level. Students with these allergies have often had their studies interrupted because others were not aware of possible danger from a simple action like eating a granola bar.
With the new policy “someone is less likely to open a Reese’s peanut butter cup in the middle of class, forcing me to leave,” said junior Samantha Atkins who has an airborne peanut allergy.
Teachers are now more aware of food consumption in the classroom and students with allergies feel safer. Still some students at North are against sections of the policy, specifically a phrase prohibiting food sharing.
“High schoolers know what they are allergic to and won’t eat food that would cause a reaction,” said sophomore Kaliana Nicks.
While high schoolers are cognizant of their own dietary restrictions, concerns have been raised over the safety of younger kids and the concern for students who have allergies who are near others.
“Though I can support myself, younger students need the support of the community in order to stay safe,” said Atkins.
Teachers say the new policy enhances safety and will reduce risky, preventable allergic reactions. The policy also has even more benefits.
“The policy raises awareness, increases cleanliness, and decreases distractions in the classroom,” said math teacher Lynn Elliot.
Many agree that safety and awareness are extremely important, but some say no food at all in the classroom can be difficult to obey.
“Many kids don’t eat breakfast before school so they eat in class,” said sophomore Bernadette Doray.
Doray said that eating during class actually helps her focus because working on an empty stomach turns out mediocre work at best.
“[The policy] is all about being a good community member,” said Freebersyser.
Though students may feel their stomachs growling more frequently, the greatest concern for Parkway is the safety and inclusiveness of all students.
Madeline Fischer, Marketing Genius