Parkway’s food policy benefits athletes


Sabrina Bohn

Sharing grapes in cross country coach Charles Cutelli’s room before practice, junior Sophie Pellegrino and sophomore Emma Caplinger chat about their day.

Although Parkway’s “food safety expectation” policy, implemented for the 2018 school year, has created uproar among students and staff, it does not apply to extracurricular activities, including athletics.

“Originally, the policy wasn’t going to allow us to do what we needed to do after school, because it’s pretty unsafe to have a kid stay and play a sport and not allow them to eat,” Athletic Director Brian Kessler said.  “Certainly we’re not just opening the floodgates and saying, ‘Parents make this, parents make that.’ We’re still requiring packaged foods, but everybody eats their snack, and they need it.”

The safety risks involved when not getting enough nutrients before playing a sport is one of the main reasons students are glad the policy is not in effect for athletics.

“In cross country, eating before you run is really important because you need energy before you use it all up,” sophomore and junior varsity runner Anjali Shah said. “Especially on hard days, the combination of eating and hydrating is really important to keep energized.”

Although some sports are less physically demanding, such as golf, food is also required to ensure the safety of athletes.

“I won’t get home until eight o’clock most days, and tournaments go from 7:30 in the morning to three in the afternoon,” junior and varsity golfer Dani Fischer said. “Since we’re at the course for extended periods of time, we have to eat. If we didn’t share food, we would be starving.”

Not only does food ensure safety, it also provides a way for teammates to bond.

Originally, the policy wasn’t going to allow us to do what we needed to do after school, because it’s pretty unsafe to have a kid stay and play a sport and not allow them to eat.”

— Brian Kessler

“We usually sit up near the track and eat a snack and vent about our days. I’ve definitely made friendships through that,” Shah said. “It’s fun to see the team being a team outside of practice.”

Fischer is especially thankful that the policy does not apply to extracurricular activities, since she dislikes the policy anyways.

“I didn’t understand [the policy] at the beginning of this school year just because I love food and I loved when teachers brought in food and when people made me food. That just can’t happen anymore, which is devastating,” Fischer said.

In the end, the “food safety expectation” policy is in place as an attempt to keep students safe, inside and out of school hours.

“Think football for example. If they’re going to play a game in Affton on a Friday night, kids aren’t gonna have time to leave, go home, eat and come back. We have to supply them with nutrition so that they can go play their games,” Kessler said. “There’s circumstances outside of the school day where we just need to do some things for kids nutritionally to make sure their bodies are fueled properly.”