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Will the revised food policy work?

Senior+Shama+Simmons+abides+by+the+newly+revised+food+policy.
Senior Shama Simmons abides by the newly revised food policy.

Senior Shama Simmons abides by the newly revised food policy.

Senior Shama Simmons abides by the newly revised food policy.

Matthew Garfinkel, Sports Editor

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Every morning at 7:15 AM, I walk into the wafting smells of soft, fluffy croissants and crispy bacon egg and cheese sandwiches in the cafeteria. But this year, I can’t take my breakfast to go.

WHS has had a food policy to protect students with allergies to food items such as these for several years, yet a crack-down on enforcement hasn’t happened until now. This year the school chose to outlaw anything other than water outside of the cafeteria and this has a lot of students grumbling. 

“The food allergy policy was developed by a committee of administrators, teachers and nurses in the spring of 2012,” said Director of Health Services Patricia Wright. “[This was] in response to the number (7) of EpiPen administrations during the school year as well as concerns raised by members of the school community, parents and staff.”

This comes on the heels of more freedom with open campus, which creates additional temptations for students to have an abundance of food and drink options available to them.

“Students may bring coffee into the school. However, we are asking that outside drinks of any kind excluding water be kept to the designated areas,”Wright said.

 

There is a variety of food both brought to and sold at school in the cafeteria every day. 

One example is the hazelnut coffee which is sold during breakfast. This particular type of coffee has no actual nuts in it, just artificial flavoring, so the name of the coffee is misleading. 

According to cafeteria assistant Leanne Hough, the cafeteria is nut-free. She also said  the main difference between foods brought in from outside vendors and those sold in the cafeteria is the quality of the cafeteria’s  product.

“The food we serve follows health regulations and it’s main benefit is for the health of the faculty and students. The food that is brought in from outside is for the purpose of a business. They don’t have regulations therefore they can add artificial flavors to enhance their quality,” she said.

According to Principal Anthony Parker, accountability is key when it comes to the revised policy, and it relies on both faculty and student buy-in.

“The food allergy policy applies to all members of the school community. That means food is to be eaten in designated areas. The administration will remind faculty and staff that the policy applies to them as well,” Parker said.

Senior Thomas Burke expressed doubts about the enforcement of the new and updated food policy.

“I don’t know how strictly this policy is being enforced because I still see people walking into class with coffee everyday and not be asked to throw it away,” Burke said.

Sophomore Blaise Trodden said that if it’s  a problem for one, it’s  a problem for all.

“It’s terrible for the student  and the school if a reaction occurs,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a slight problem for 99% of the students. If anyone gets seriously hurt than something should be done.”

Senior Roshani Nagarajah laughed as she said that the most serious consequence of the policy might be due to the new water-only policy.

“I can’t wait to see how many students fall asleep in class,” Nagarajah said, referring to the fact that coffee is now prohibited in classrooms.

Sophomore Marco Santangelo also expressed doubt over how seriously the water-only policy will be taken by students. 

“I think that no food should be accepted in the school anywhere but the cafeteria, but drinks should be allowed elsewhere in the school,” he said. ”People aren’t just going to smell your Diet Coke and die.”

Beyond what is sold in the cafeteria, the food that gets brought into school can range from a packed home lunch to a sandwich from a local restaurant. The school has no control over the outside food brought into school that could potentially pose a threat to students with allergies.

 

From first hand experience at school,  I have witnessed people consume everything from sandwiches to chicken fingers and fries. This puts the school in a difficult position as administration tries to enforce this policy without disciplining students. This year’s student body will determine if the smell of food and beverages outside of the cafeteria leaves WHS for good. 

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Will the revised food policy work?