An Orange mom with two children at Race Brook School is pleading with the Board of Education to consider adopting a food-free celebration policy at Orange Schools. Roo Ciambriello has daughters in first and third grade at Race Brook School and one entering kindergarten in the fall. Two of her daughters have severe food allergies, she explained to the board of education at its March meeting.
“I realize this has been a long and arduous process and I am thankful for the board’s consideration and long hours being spent on the food policy,” she said. “I think the general public has a hard time understanding food allergies. We can’t wrap our heads around it. We don’t know how kids get them.
“While I was disheartened that the first read of the revised policy did not include a move to a food-free celebration policy, I was encouraged to hear that follow-up correspondence and policy meetings with the committee did include conversation around implementing those changes,” she said.
“A food- free celebration not only benefits the food allergic, there are benefits to all students regardless of disability or special need. A move to a food-free policy is in line with national recommendations with the CDC as well as the American Heart Association,” she said.
Board member Mara Saccente thanked parents and school nursing staff for feedback since the policy committee began to review the policy. “We took information we received from parents and reviewed the policy, which also caused us to open review of the student wellness policy, which would govern food in the schools for all students. The food allergy guidelines are very specific to students with allergies, but the student wellness policy would govern all food in the classroom. In order to address the issue, we need to look at both of those policies,” she said.
The board approved a motion to table a second read and vote on the change until the April meeting. The board will be holding a special meeting to further review the policy prior.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent