A new set of Wellness guidelines that set off a Facebook firestorm this week has been pulled off of the agenda for Monday’s Southern Boone County School Board meeting.

SoBoCo Superintendent Chris Felmlee said the new Wellness guidelines had been pulled off the agenda earlier in the week as they were not ready for school board approval.

“These changes are not in its final form,” Felmlee said. “I will be meeting with our administrators on Monday to see if we can’t re-word some things on here, then send to the MSBA (Missouri School Board’s Association) for their approval. After their feedback, I will make changes and post this on my blog and ask for community feedback.”

Felmlee said if there is feedback to the new guidelines in their final form, he would hold a public meeting and address public concerns.

The new Wellness directives are being implemented by state and federal guidelines. Felmlee said the SoBoCo district is forced to comply as they receive funding from both – state funding as well as federal school lunch program funding – and he and the SoBoCo Wellness Committee are in the process about what specific practices need to change and what the district will have to comply with.

“The question becomes,” Felmlee said, “do we educate and fight these battles, or do we say, ‘No more food items (at school)?’ Felmlee said in response to several Facebook posts on the topic. “The practical side of me is that we say ‘No more food item,’ otherwise I’m forcing the school nurse and secretary to police everything that comes through the door. Is that fair to them?”

“If the policy is voted in by the school board,” wrote parent Laura Brookshire on Facebook, “there will be many changes to any school event that involves food. This wellness policy goes beyond school lunch and what kids can buy to eat at school.”

Brookshire noted numerous events – from school dance snacks to end-of-year picnics where the new policy might be a detriment to the event.

But Felmlee noted that the policy was not in its completed form yet.

“We are still in the infancy of this,” Felmlee said. “Our legislature thinks childhood obesity can be cured through the school districts. Some districts are more progressive than others. Other districts will drag their feet in implementing the changes. We are more ahead of others in trying to stay in compliance.”

Felmlee emphasized he would look forward to parent feedback before the new directives went to a board vote. He added that the Wellness Committee included a large group made up of teachers, parents, school nurses, Opaa personnel and administrators.

By Bruce Wallace