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Pleasantdale schools relax rules on food

<p>Pleasantdale Middle School &nbsp;| Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Pleasantdale Middle School  | Sun-Times Media file photo

Pleasantdale Middle School students will be able to buy a snack at an after-school basketball game, but there won’t be any conversation hearts or homemade cupcakes at the elementary school’s Valentine’s Day parties.

The Pleasantdale Elementary District 107 Board voted Dec. 18 to revise the district’s strict rules against food in its schools, a policy instituted to protect children with food allergies. Parents, including parents of children with food allergies, urged the board to revisit the issue, which since 2011 has eliminated treats from birthday celebrations, snacks from classroom parties and concessions from after-school events.

The revised policy, effective immediately, will allow pre-packaged foods to be sold at after-school events. Ingredients for those foods must be listed on the product.

“It’s something that the kids have missed,” and that most other middle schools provide, said board member Kim Barker.

Food still will not be allowed as part of classroom parties at the elementary school. Instead, students will focus on crafts, games and holiday-related activities.

That’s just fine with school nurse Lisa Penrod, who spoke to the board about the proposed changes.

“This is something we can do to help them with their health,” Penrod said of the elimination of treats from parties.

Pleasantdale Elementary School Principal Matt Vandercar agreed there is plenty to do during holiday parties without sugary snacks.

The new policy also opens the possibility for a cooking club, something in which students have expressed interest.

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