Education A State Capitals Roundup

Ark. Teachers Get Reprieve on Handing Out Sweet Treats

By Rhea R. Borja — November 16, 2004 1 min read

Despite a state law aimed at combating childhood obesity, elementary educators in Arkansas can continue to reward students with candy. For now.

Until recently, it wasn’t clear whether teachers could keep giving out sugary treats for good grades or behavior, thanks to an Aug. 6 memo from the state education department that seemed to imply the practice would run afoul of a state law enacted last year that bars elementary students access to vending machines.

“There was some confusion about whether students can get treats,” Gayle Morris, the education department’s communications manager, said last week.

So the education department issued another memo on Oct. 28 to clear up the matter, stating that it’s up to school districts to decide what snacks are appropriate.

But that may also change. A child-health advisory committee recently gave recommendations to the state board of education, including one that would bar elementary educators and parents from handing out sugary sweets to students. The state board has not yet acted on the proposals.

A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2004 edition of Education Week

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