The Policy Committee of the Hortonville Board of Education met Monday, Jan. 12 with more than 20 policies to review.
A policy reassessment involved the handling of medications used for chronic health conditions, namely allergies to nuts. A board member asked if the school district was a nut free district. No one was aware of any determination. Schultz said that she could talk with food service, and that ThedaCare has a number of food sources to substitute for nuts, but that a 100 percent nut-free environment could not be obtained.
Board member Varsha Shah then stated, “We cannot ask 99 percent of the student body not to bring nuts to school and expect that to happen. We absolutely have to identify those kids who have allergies and support them.”
Shah said that on any given day, parents may pack a lunch for their child that includes nuts or peanut butter, and their child may by chance, sit next to someone with a nut allergy.
“How can we restrict 99 percent of the students not to bring what they want to eat?” Shah asked.
Instead of having a blanket policy that prohibits a full school district the consumption of nuts, board member Bob VanDenElzen said, “The fix is this. People with an allergy are responsible for themselves. They have to get up and move.”
Board member Dana Ramshak suggested that in a classroom where a child has an allergy, parents be notified at the beginning of the school year that a person in the classroom has a nut allergy. At lunch, the student could be taught to monitor their surroundings.
Shah added her suggestion that the entire school system have a policy set down in black and white that all staff members implement. She was open to other ideas. Due to time restrictions, a motion was made to table the discussion.
Three policy committee members had a lengthy discussion about allowing EpiPens into classrooms and on the student. School Nurse Sandy Schultz reported that students in the high school grade levels are allowed to carry an EpiPen or inhaler on their body. This is not allowed in the elementary levels for safety purposes, with concern that other children may end up handling the prescription pens or inhalers.
Ramshak asked Schultz if a teacher could possibly have an EpiPen in the classroom of a student who has allergies.
Schultz said that she could train teachers if that was necessary.
It was clarified that students K-4th grade would have pens secured in the nurse’s office. Students in fifth through 12th grade would be allowed to carry their pens or inhalers. In the case of field trips or extracurricular activities, the parent and coach together would make the decision.
Due to the Conceal and Carry laws of the State of Wisconsin, Hortonville School District weapons policy now includes wording that pertains to school volunteers. While transporting children, volunteers cannot have a weapon in the car or on themselves.
District principals will now make the decision whether or not to allow a field or other district-sponsored trip that is more than 75 miles in one direction. This takes the board of education out of the decision-making process and puts it in the hands of those involved in the matter.