Whistler Secondary’s call-back program needs parent help 

Vending machine use being discussed

Parents do you know where your kids are?

Whistler Secondary’s Parent Advisory Council wants to make sure that you do. It is looking for volunteers to work the call-back system at the school.

PAC chair Kris Shoup said volunteers are needed for about one-half hour once a week to check on the whereabouts of youths not in class but not reported sick.

"We just do not have the staff to do his important job and it is something parents wanted done," she said.

The PAC is also exploring the operation of the pop machines in the school and has asked officials to explore whether or not pop sales can be restricted to out of school hours.

"I am kind of hoping that we can get those machines shut down until after school," said Shoup.

Junk food in schools has been a hot topic for a couple of months.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall recently penned a report titled An Ounce of Prevention in which he outlined several steps, including getting rid of junk food, that schools can take to improve student health.

He argues persuasively that schools have little hope of teaching healthy eating habits if they are selling high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Kendall notes that one third of Canadian children are overweight and 18 per cent are obese. More than half of youths aged 12 to 19 aren’t active enough for optimal growth.

Education Minister Christy Clark has also called on schools to ditch junk food but said she can’t order them to do so because food services are a school board responsibility.

She plans to organize a healthy schools forum early next year that will bring together school officials, ministry representatives, parents and experts to discuss ways of improving student health.

Surrey school district has already decided that it won’t peddle soft drinks to children as part of a system-wide deal for beverage sales in elementary schools. Carbonated soft drinks will be locked off during school hours but will be available to community groups using school facilities during evenings and weekends.

Acting Principal Bev Oakey said she will be looking into the issue.

"It is looking towards how do we not get rid of vending machines altogether and still maintain that funding — as it is really good source of funds for the school especially in times of budget restraint — but philisophically speaking we want to see kids have healthy snacks," she said.

The PAC also discussed having vending machines sell just juice and water for the majority of the day and even inviting parents in to sell chocolate milk and other healthy snacks.

Meanwhile there is still no news on who the Howe Sound School District superintendent will be. Negotiations are at a final stage and the district should know before Christmas.

And the search for a new principal for the high school is also going well, said Shoup, with two possible candidates in the running.

The next Whistler Secondary PAC meeting will be Jan. 27. Myrtle Philip PAC will meet again Dec. 9 and Spring Creek’s next PAC meeting date will be announced in the new year.

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