Education

Greeley charter school reverses snack policy after successful petition drive

Greeley – After more than a year of trying to get her daughter’s school to change an unfavorable policy, Tammy Garcia is celebrating a victory after she resorted to an online petition to get the job done.

The parent of two students at Frontier Academy Charter School took on her school over a snack policy for fourth and fifth graders with which she disagreed.

Compete Colorado first reported on the issue in August when it learned the mother had started the petition to change a policy that limited what students could bring to school for snacks.

Over the past two years, fourth- and fifth-graders have had to snack on what teachers at the school deem appropriate or wait until lunch, which isn’t until nearly five hours after school starts.

Garcia wasn’t disappointed students were restricted to beef jerky, granola bars, dried fruit, or string cheese. She was disappointed the school tried to tell her what to send at all.

“It put my daughter in a position where she was having to go against the wishes of her parents, and that’s not right,” Garcia told Complete Colorado in the initial report. “I do not agree that the school should be mandating what I choose to feed my child.”

Frontier Academy was one of the first charter schools to open in Colorado in the 1990s. The school was started as a K-5 by a group of parents who wanted more academics and less arts and athletics in their children’s daily schedule. Over the years, the school has expanded to K-12.

Principal Bradford Every said the snack restrictions were not a policy per se, but rather a grade-level expectation.

The school’s fourth- and fifth-grade teachers got together and came up with a list of approved snacks they deemed quick, clean, and dry. The idea was to protect the school’s Google Chrome Notebooks from spills and crumbs.

Icon_2016_Orig_ReportHowever, after the Complete Colorado story, the petition gained steam. The school’s principal backed away from his original decision to keep the policy in place.

Garcia announced on the petition page that the school had added more time to passing periods so students can snack between classes and bring whatever they’d like.

“Although we cannot change our school’s need for control, we can now choose what we feed our kids again,” Garcia said. “In addition, we have proven that we want to have input in our children’s education and value the environment that they are being educated in. What a powerful and enlightening experience this has been. Emails, comments, and a ton of parent input—this is what our school was built on.”

She added that the experience proves positive change can be made when parents join forces.

“One parent cannot achieve the change they may want to see alone,” Garcia said. “Together we can create change by respectfully and proactively addressing any issues we may have, allowing for flexibility while working through the resolution. I encourage everyone to attend meetings, ask questions, and stand up for issues that matter to you most.”

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