MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The school board meeting on Monday night, Dec. 18, offers some interesting items up for approval -- from a new food allergy policy that has drawn some objections to one allowing medicinal marijuana to be administered on school grounds.

There is also a new teacher’s union contract up for ratification, but with no details on their raises or other specifics being released just yet.

See the full school board agenda HERE.

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The food allergy policy offers specific guidelines on how to respond to students who suffer from a related attack, but also warnings to parents on prevention and food avoidance.

It states, in part:

An Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP) and an Individualized Emergency Healthcare Plan (IEHP) will be developed for each student at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction. Self-administration of medication, the placement and the accessibility of epinephrine, and the recruitment and training of designees who volunteer to administer epinephrine during school and at school-sponsored functions when the school nurse or designee is not available shall be in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:40-

12 and Board Policy and Regulation 5330.

School staff will be appropriately trained by the school nurse or designee to understand the school’s general emergency procedures and steps to take should a life-threatening allergic reaction occur.

One of the elements of the policy that requires food to be brought from home but with unclear advance notice has some parents upset. 

It states:

"There will be occasions where food and/or beverages will be served as part of a classroom experience, field trip, and/or celebration. Because the ingredients of these food and beverage products may be unknown to the food preparation person and/or server, a student with anaphylaxis to food should not consume any food products that he/she is unsure of the ingredients. The teacher will provide, whenever possible, advance notice of the classroom experience, field trip, or celebration in order for the student to bring a food or beverage product from their home so they may participate in the activity."

Objections have been raised in the closed Facebook group, Living With Food Allergies in SOMA by some parents who contend it is unfair, citing that the policy does not address the social and educational impacts of serving food in classrooms that not all students are able to eat.

Some plan to attend tonight’s meeting to voice their concerns.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a new contract with the South Orange Maplewood Education Association, the teacher’s union that represents most classroom employees. SOMA’s last contract ended in June.

This will be the first new contract under new SOMEA president Rocio Lopez. We reached out for specifics on the new deal to her and district officials, but none have been forthcoming.

Finally, the new policy on medicinal marijuana states, in part:

The Board of Education, in accordance with the requirements of N.J.S.A.18A:40-12.22, must adopt a Policy authorizing parents, guardians, and primary caregivers to administer medical marijuana to a qualifying student patient while on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or attending a school-sponsored event. The parent of a qualifying student patient requesting the administration of medical marijuana to the student while on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or attending a school-sponsored event must comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.22 and N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 et seq. and Policy and Regulation 5330.01.

It also notes that the policy is based on new state requirements for such distribution.

The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at the board offices, 525 Academy St. in Maplewood.