The Farm to School program seeks to improve the health of children by bringing locally produced foods into school cafeterias and providing educationally enriching experiences such as farm field trips, school gardens and nutrition classes.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a survey of school district participation in the program, and estimates as of the 2012-2013 school year, over 3,800 school districts representing over 21 million students are buying local products.  These school districts collectively purchased more than $350 million of locally produced foods. 

The rate of child poverty has only slightly lowered since the 1960's when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty and currently hovers around 22 percent.  In 2012, 1 in 5 children were identified as poor.  Good nutrition, especially in the early years of a child's life, is vital to create the foundation for future physical and mental health.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 16 million chlidren under age 18 live in homes where they can't consistenly access an adequate amount of healthy and nutritious food.  However, trillions of calories are wasted or lost on a yearly basis.

The United States Food and Drug Administration released data of 13,000 public school districts to determine the use of local foods and nutritional education under the Farm to School Program. The program was created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut brought renewed attention to the issue of school safety.

The Connecticut legislature entered the 2013 session just three weeks after 20 students and six adults were killed at the Newtown, Conn., school.

“Here we are trying to respond to public demand without having the best of information,” said Connecticut Deputy Speaker Bob Godfrey at Friday’s session, “Policies to Achieve Safer Schools.”

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, many state policymakers have asked critical questions about school safety and violence prevention. States convened task forces and debated various policy issues to keep students safe during the 2013 legislative sessions. This session focused on evidence-based public policy reform in mental health, education and emergency response as a way to address these critical issues. Agenda topics included mental health issues such as screening, early diagnosis and treatment, and violence prevention in schools.

Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Under a first-of-its-kind measure signed into law in March, local school districts in South Dakota will have the authority to allow armed personnel in their school buildings. HB 1087 will take effect in July. It opens the possibility of school employees, hired security personnel or volunteers carrying a weapon on school grounds.

For the first time in more than 15 years, school meal standards have been changed with a focus on improving child nutrition and reducing childhood obesity.  With the potential to impact more than 30 million students daily, these new guidelines will introduce more fruit and vegetables and reduce fat intake on lunch trays.  State policies and local practices can have a positive impact on the devastating rates of obesse and overweight children as students have an opportunity for more healthful eating.

As noted in CSG Education Policy Analyst Tim Weldon’s blog, preventing bullying remains a top priority for educators and policymakers, whether it occurs in school or cyberspace.  Here are state bills the CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation reviewed about bullying, cyberbullying, and impersonating someone online, along with related resources about these topics.

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