Parents advocate for wellness policy

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Parents in Buffalo say the school district isn’t doing enough to keep their children healthy. They say the district is almost two years late implementing a wellness policy. Wednesday, those parents will gather at City Hall to make their voices heard.

Parents, students and health advocates will be rallying in downtown Buffalo before the school board meeting. They want more gym teachers and more exercise for the students.

Parents say Buffalo Schools are in violation of New York State’s regulations of physical education. News 4 previously reported, the Partnership for Public Health says kids in kindergarten through third grades are only getting 30 minutes of exercise every six days, the state mandate is to get 120 minutes every five days.

The State Health Department says a third of Buffalo School students are overweight or obese. An appeal was sent to Commissioner John King back in October, asking him for oversight of state regulations in physical education. Now it’s not just parents taking action, students will also be voicing their concerns at a rally Wednesday.

Executive Director of Community Health Care Jessica Bauer Walker said, “They keep saying that they are working on it for awhile, we’ve been saying, the past two years since they implemented a district wellness policy, to please make some progress here. They didn’t even hire one more physical education teacher when they passed the budget last year. To us, this is an urgent issue, it needs to happen now. We can’t keep waiting. This is our children.”

Superintendent Pamela Brown did say they district isn’t there yet but improvements have been made. Parents, students and advocates will meet at 5 p.m. at City Hall. They will move to the Board of Education meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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