BRADENTON -- Significant changes to student health policy were approved by the Manatee School Board at Tuesday's regular meeting, following public hearings with no opposition given.
The revisions, coming from three separate agenda items on nutrition, bullying and concussions, were voted in unanimously by the board.
Relating to food and nutrition, several additions were made to the policy, including limiting access to vending machines; specifics on what can be served to students during breakfast, lunch and after-school meals; and that "healthy choices will be prominently displayed in the cafeteria to encourage students to make healthy choices."
The policy also notes that parents will be able to view what their student is buying using an online meal account.
Several changes were also made to the district's policy on bullying and harrassment. The district's definition of bullying was expanded to include "sexual, religious, or racial/ethnic harassment."
Futhermore, the revised document adds more information about the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR) System's definition on bullying and harrassment, stating the former is "systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees ...," and the latter is "any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, 21 verbal, or physical conduct ..."
The district's new and first official written policy on concussions explicitly states that the policy covers all district-sponsored athletic teams, including cheerleading and rowing.
"Established to provide education about concussions for athletic department staff and other school personnel," the newly written document noted that in recent years there has been a "significant amount of research into sport-related concussions and head injuries in interscholastic athletes."
The approved concussion policy states that any athlete with "symptoms of a concussion and who is not stable ... is to be transported immediately to the nearest emergency department via emergency vehicle."
The policy also requires for testing after a suspected concussion through diagnostic computer software called ImPact (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), within 72 hours of the incident. Also, "If a coach suspects the athlete has sustained a concussion or head injury, the athlete must be immediately removed from activity until evaluated by trained medical personnel."
Another major item to be voted on during the meeting, regarding district funding for transportation, was withdrawn prior.
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