Students from schools in the Killeen Independent School District may have to go without bubbly sodas and chewing gum during school hours if the school board approves new nutritional policies at its next meeting July 8.
As discussed in a board meeting June 17, Killeen ISD could approve a new district nutrition policy that will regulate food consumption alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was enacted today.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires schools to establish tighter nutrition standards for all foods sold during classroom hours — beyond the federally-supported meals programs.
This means food sold in vending machines, in school stores, as part of fundraisers or brought in for pizza parties will be regulated under new federal guidelines.
“What has basically happened is the Texas School Nutrition Policy, which has been governing us for the last five or six years, goes away (today),” said Steve Murphy, Killeen ISD director of nutrition, at the June 17 meeting.
Murphy said the district needed to develop its own wellness policy to maintain control over the food parents bring into the school and other unregulated factors formerly covered by the old state law.
In accordance with federal policy, next year high schools may only offer 12-ounce containers of 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, low-fat milk and water during school hours, including vending machines.
The federal law also states snacks must not exceed 200 calories and meals should not exceed 350 calories.
If the district’s additional guidelines are approved, middle and high school students will only be offered cafeteria meals 30 minutes before, after and during school mealtimes.
High school students, however, will be offered noncafeteria food — such as approved vending machine snacks — as long as they are not available in the lunchroom.
The new policy also states elementary students may have only one nutritionally approved snack offered by a teacher, parent or other groups during nonmealtimes. However, parents can provide any snacks for their own children.
The district’s new policy also allows nine “free” days, where children or classrooms can break nutritional regulations for parties or other events.
Students are still allowed to bring any foods from home to eat during lunch or breakfast hours.
Killeen ISD also will still allow parents, grandparents or guardians to bring any food products for a child’s birthday to share with classmates, as long as the birthday celebration does not interrupt the class.
However, products sold in catalog fundraisers, which often feature candy, will now have to be picked up after or before school hours.
Killeen ISD officials were not available for comment Monday.