CDC Releases New Resources: Talking to Youth About the Risks of E-Cigarettes

The Office on Smoking and Health, CDC released a new feature for a new school year, aimed at helping people who work with youth to open a discussion about the risks of e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are now the most common type of tobacco product used by youth in the United States. More and more youth report trying and regularly using e-cigarettes. The rising numbers threaten decades of progress in controlling youth tobacco product use.

Nicotine in e-cigarettes can harm developing brains, and may make it more likely that young people will start using regular cigarettes. This feature gives important facts about the risks of e-cigarettes, plus tips for talking to young people and resources for both adults and youth.

Everyone—teachers, coaches, health care providers, and parents—has a part to play in educating youth about the risks of e-cigarettes.

Be sure to follow CDC Tobacco Free on Facebook and Twitter for social media posts to share with partners, friends, and family.

For more information and resources in Maine go to Prevention for ME.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Open House of NEW Maine Department of Education Culinary Classroom

What: Open House and Introduction to NEW Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom
When: Sept 10, 2019 1pm – 4pm
Where: 90 Blossom Lane, 1st floor Deering Building

We are excited to announce and to show off the Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition Team’s first culinary classroom for the School Lunch and Breakfast program, and invite members of the child nutrition/school communities and media outlets to an open house of our new kitchen.  The classroom replicates the kitchens found in our schools, with commercial ovens,  cook tops and other commercial equipment used in school meal preparation.  The modern classroom will have the ability to stream, record and host live audiences for demonstrations, and the Child Nutrition program will use resident chefs to provide additional training to local food service staff.  The kitchen will be able to rotate 30 cooks at time, with both hands-on experience and paperwork management.  Some examples of upcoming classes are: knife skills and maintenance, preparing summer squash, measuring techniques, using USDA foods effectively, and vegan options.  The kitchen will be the host of the annual school cook off contest as well. We are excited by the possibilities and grateful for the amazing space in which we can support our school nutrition programs as they provide healthy meals to Maine’s students.

More information, please contact Walter Beesley at walter.beesley@maine.gov

Kittery School Department Hosts Kick-off Celebration to Promote Free Summer Lunch Program

Kittery School Department hosted a kick-off pizza party this week welcoming children in their community to enjoy free lunch all summer long.  At the event they served pizza, watermelon, chocolate hummus with strawberries, snacks, and milk. This event is hosted annually to let the community know about the Summer Food Service Program that provides free lunch to all kids Monday through Friday throughout the summer months, completely free, no questions asked.

Kaitlin Beach, Shapleigh School Assistant Principal and Alli Gamache, Mitchell Primary School Principal
Kaitlin Beach, Shapleigh School Assistant Principal and Alli Gamache, Mitchell Primary School Principal

Funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Maine Department of Education in partnership with local sponsors throughout the state, the Summer Food Service Program is an extension of the Federal Child Nutrition program found in schools across the nation which provides free or reduced priced meals to families who qualify. The Kittery School Department is one of 463 sites located in Maine this summer who offer the Summer Food Service Program.

Traip Academy Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, Kittery School Department Superintendent, Eric Waddell, and Michael Roberge, Traip Academy Principal John Drisko serving pizza at the event
Traip Academy Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, Kittery School Department Superintendent, Eric Waddell, and Michael Roberge, Traip Academy Principal John Drisko serving pizza at the event

The strong connections between the Kittery School Department and their community allow them to not only host the summer meal program at the Kittery Community Center where kids are in and out all day participating in summer activities through the recreational department, but also provides the kids with other opportunities and activities available through community partnerships. For example, at the event this week, each student received a free backpack with school supplies tucked inside. The backpacks and the supplies are donated with the help of United Way and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Each time kids come back for a meal this summer they will get an additional item for their backpack. Wendy Collins, Kittery School Department School Nutrition Director and the organizer of the Summer Food Service Program, hopes it will help get kids to come back and eat each day and spread the word about this wonderful service to the community.

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Sarah Perkins and Catherine Hoffmann, from the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council

Also present at the event was the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council who have helped support the Kittery School Department through grant funding. During the event they helped serve the milk for lunch that day and promoted their Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative. In addition, there were representatives from Let’s Go! promoting their statewide initiative 5-2-1-0 Goes to Child Care to help communities maintain and improve upon their healthy food choices and physical activity opportunities. They provided activities and games for kids to enjoy after lunch, along with the many other fun things available including face painting and a large Thomas & Friends themed bounce house.

The event served 193 kids who all got to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal provided by a school department and its community who care so very much about the children and families who live in their community.

To find summer meal sites near you, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, and type in your address. The map will be populated with the sites nearest to you. You can also text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211.

Questions & Answers regarding An Act to Prevent Food Shaming in Maine’s Public Schools

In an effort to support schools and districts as they align their practices and policies in response to the passing of Public Law 2019, Chapter 54, please see the Question and Answer document and resources, below.  

 Food Shaming

  1. What constitutes food shaming?  The law prevents public schools from:
  • denying a reimbursable meal to an otherwise eligible student who requests it;
  • requiring a student to throw away their meal after it has been served to them;
  • requiring a student to perform chores or work as a means of paying for one or more meals or as punishment for not paying for one or more meals;
  • refusing a meal as a form of or as part of a disciplinary action; or
  • openly identifying or otherwise stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a meal or has payments due for a meal.

Grades

  1. What grade levels are impacted by this new law?

The law applies to all grade levels in a public school that provides students meals eligible for reimbursement under a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, therefore any grade enrolled in the public school.  The law does not apply to private schools.

Seniors

  1. Can schools prohibit seniors from participating in graduation functions/activities if the student has meal debt?
  2. When Seniors have balances at the end of the year, whether it is for meals, books, or computers, we do not pass out the cap and gown until the balance is paid.  Can we still do that?
  3. Our district charging policy has been that to receive graduation tickets or their cap and gown, seniors must have their lunch balance cleared up. Additionally, we have withheld open campus privileges or a superintendent’s agreement if there is an outstanding lunch balance. Will this still be allowable?

The law prevents openly identifying or otherwise stigmatizing a student with a meal debt.  If the only reason a student is being prohibited from an activity is because of a meal debt, it would constitute identifying or stigmatizing a student.  If the prohibition is potentially based on one of a list of factors (owed books, uniforms, other debt) including a meal debt, it might not constitute identifying or stigmatizing a student, since there are multiple reasons for which a student is denied.  School administrative units are encouraged to consult with legal counsel about their specific policies.

Communication

  1. Are the cashiers allowed to tell the students when they are charging or close to charging?

A public school’s communications about a student’s meal debts (charging) must be made to the parent or guardian of the student rather than to the student directly except that, if a student inquires about that student’s meal debt, the school may answer the student’s inquiry.  A public school may ask a student to carry to the student’s parent or guardian a letter regarding the student’s meal debt.  A student with a low balance still has funds on their account and is not in debt, therefore it is allowable to communicate with a student about their low balance.

  1. Are we allowed to let the children know that they are getting low on their account?

A student with a low balance still has funds on their account and is not in debt, therefore it is allowable to communicate with a student about their low balance.

  1. Most software schools are using automatically say “Please wait, low balance,” when a student uses their PIN. which is identifying the student, where others can hear it. Would that still be acceptable?

A student with a low balance still has funds on their account and is not in debt, therefore it is allowable to communicate with a student about their low balance.

  1. If a student directly asks about balance information what is our answer? What if they are 18 years old?

If the student inquires about his/her meal debt, the school may answer the student’s inquiry. This applies to a student enrolled at the public school, regardless of age. A student may be asked to deliver a notice to parents/guardians about the debt, but should not be approached unsolicited about the debt.

  1. Can we post a sign at the register telling students they can ask what their account balance is?

Yes. If the student inquires about their meal debt, the staff may answer their inquiry. Otherwise communication must be made directly to the parent/guardian, regardless of the age of the student.

A La Carte

  1. Our school policy says that if you owe money you cannot purchase a la carte items and there is no charging of a la carte items.  This policy has helped to keep our lunch debt down some. Are we still going to be able to say no to the extra items if they don’t have money?

Yes. This law applies to reimbursable meals only. If your local policy does not allow a student to charge a la carte items, a public school may discreetly notify a student that they do not have funds on their account to purchase the a la carte item(s).

  1. Charging for ala carte is not allowed so when the student is told that in line in front of other students, is that considered lunch shaming?

No. This law applies to reimbursable meals only. If your local policy does not allow a student to charge a la carte items, a public school may notify a student discreetly that they do not have funds on their account to purchase the a la carte item(s).  Efforts to make this policy known and well publicized should be made to avoid the situation and potential for embarrassment.

Alternate Meals

  1. Can Schools implement an alternative meal (with all components) until the debt is paid?

No, the student must receive the same reimbursable meal as the other students. Provision of an alternative meal could openly identify or stigmatize a student.

  1. Our school provides a bag lunch to students with a negative balance before the lunch period so that it looks like a lunch brought from home. Can we keep doing this?

No, the student must receive the same reimbursable meal as the other students.

Outstanding Debt

  1. What are we to do with the outstanding lunch balances? How do we encourage parents to be responsible?

Public schools should follow their policy or procedure for collecting payments from families. This policy/procedure should be shared publicly so parents are informed of the process.

  1. Can we send outstanding debts to a collection agency?

Yes.

  1. What happens when everyone owes and refuses to pay because they know they do not have to, in order to get a meal?

The school nutrition program should make efforts to collect meal payments as identified in their local policy.

  1. Who will pay for the unpaid balances?

The school nutrition program should make efforts to collect meal payments as identified in their local policy. Once the debt is determined to be uncollectable, such as after a student leaves the district or graduates, it is considered bad debt and is not an allowable expense of the Federal school foodservice program or any other Federal program. The debt would need to be paid by non-Federal funds, such as the general fund and the debt would become the responsibility of the public school at this point.

OTHER

  1. What is the State’s plan to provide funding for the lunch bills that won’t get paid?

The law was identified as an unfunded mandate and passed by a 2/3 vote by the Legislature.  Funding will need to be addressed at the local level.

  1. Does this apply to all meals, breakfast, lunch and snack?

This law applies to all programs that provide student meals eligible for reimbursement under a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. This includes the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program and Afterschool Snack Service.

  1. Is there guidance available on how to handle unpaid meals?

The law requires the Department of Education to develop guidance for school administrative units relating to the collection of student meal debt, including, but not limited to, best practices and information on how to create an online system for the payment of student meal debt.

The Maine DOE has guidance available online, and  The USDA has guidance and resources available online, including a guide book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE: Maine School Wellness Summit POSTPONED, New Dates TBD

Regretfully, due to low registration, the 2019 Maine School Wellness Summit planned for June 25 & 26 has been postponed. The Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program (MSHPP) Planning Committee is committed to hosting the planned two-day agenda in the 2019-20 school year. We are thankful to the scheduled presenters, who have indicated that they are very willing to work with us to deliver their presentations at a future date.

Registrants should have received an email from the planning committee via Cristina.stade@maine.gov. If you have additional questions, please email either Cristina or susan.berry@maine.gov.

Please know that the decision to postpone was made with great thought and consideration of presenter cost, time and efforts, as well as the desire for participants to have a robust and collaborative experience.

The MSHPP Planning Committee wishes everyone a restful, rejuvenating, and well-deserved summer break.