Epping School Board says candy corn OK to bring to school
By JASON SCHREIBER Union Leader Correspondent
Sarah Kelly, 4, holds a handful of candy corn similar to the amount she recently brought in for a treat with her lunch at Epping's public preschool program. She had to bring the candy corn home because she was told candy isn't allowed at school. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
EPPING — The Epping School District won't be telling parents what they can and can't pack their kids for snacks and lunches, school officials said Thursday night.
Superintendent Barbara Munsey told the school board that a recent issue involving a teacher who wouldn't allow a preschooler to eat the candy corn she brought to school was a "misunderstanding."
"I think it was just a misunderstanding and basically it has been addressed," Munsey said.
The dispute over the school district's wellness policy began after 4-year-old preschool student Sarah Kelly brought a small bag with a handful of candy corn into the school a few weeks ago to eat with her snack. Her mother, Michelle Kelly, said she gave the candy corn to her daughter as a reward for getting ready for school on time.Sarah had other healthy snacks with her as well and her mother thought the candy corn would be a little treat.
But the candy corn were sent home after a teacher told Sarah that candy wasn't allowed at school.
Kelly's fiancé, David Mylott, is the chairman of the Epping School Board and he recently raised concerns about the teacher's claims that parents weren't allowed to send candy in with kids. He argued that the school district could encourage healthy eating, but couldn't tell parents what they could pack for snack and lunch.
School officials investigated the candy corn issue and took a closer look at the school's wellness policy.
At Thursday night's meeting, Munsey told the board that the district's policy simply encourages healthy snacks and meals but doesn't mandate what parents may send in.
"Schools provide a recommended list of healthy options for parents. Parents are asked to support this practice, but are not required to do so. On occasion parents send in several snacks for their child. School staff use their best judgment in providing snacks," Munsey said in a prepared statement read at the board meeting.
Munsey continued, "It is my understanding that in the case of interest the student was provided with two snacks of which one was candy. Staff provided the non-candy snack and sent the candy snack home with the student. At no time is a student denied snack. To rectify this issue, administration has discussed the policy with staff and policy will be followed in the future."Munsey said the policy issue was addressed with preschool staff Thursday and will also be addressed with staff at other grade levels.