Wellness drive seeks healthier kids

By Zachary V. Zagger

Don Gendron, a parent in the East Syracuse-Minoa School District was so concerned with what his two elementary school daughters were eating in the cafeteria that he decided to try it for himself.

ES-M adopted new regulations to its wellness program prior to the school year and it has affected what is served in the cafeteria. Gendron's daughters, who attend Woodland Elementary, complained to him that the new foods in the lunchroom were unappetizing. This prompted Gendron to eat lunch in the cafeteria. He did not like what he found.

"They're making it too complicated for the kids," Gendron said. "You throw whole wheat bread at them and you throw whatever the other health food it is, they don't like it. It's like giving a kid Cheerios. If they don't like it, they're not going to eat it. Put good food out there that tastes good, and that's what they got to look for."

Parents attending the ES-M wellness committee meeting on Nov. 6 in the high school library voiced their complaints with the confusing and inconsistent new policy. Parents were concerned with the extent to which the new policy is being carried and how it is implemented. Deputy superintendent Dr. Thomas Neveldine said those are things the committee will decide on in the coming months.

"It's new, and whenever you have a new policy you have these little bumps in the road," Neveldine said. "But what we are going to be working toward is more consistency. We need more information from parents, more information from staff, so that we get more consistency developing."

The wellness committee has 15 members and includes representatives from the administration, faculty, school board, students, parents, and community. The committee provides recommendations to the school board on how to change or enforce the policy throughout the schools.

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