Parents unhappy with how principal enforces junk food policy - KMSP-TV

Parents unhappy with how principal enforces junk food policy

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T. Dale Cooke Elementary School in Detroit T. Dale Cooke Elementary School in Detroit
DETROIT (WJBK) - Parents of students at T. Dale Cooke Elementary school in Detroit say the principal is enforcing students to eat healthy in the wrong way.

The parents tell FOX 2's Erika Erickson their children have said the principal, Philip Van Hooks, takes some food items away from them and throws them away. Sometimes, they say, he even eats the food right in front of their face.

School parent Jamila Carr says she went to talk to the principal Tuesday after receiving an upset phone call from her daughter, but found the school on lockdown. She says she had not received any correspondence alerting the parents this was taking place, so she was confused.

Michelle A. Zdrodowski, Chief Communications Officer for Detroit Public Schools, released a statement explaining the lockdown and the principal confiscating students' food items:

"Detroit Public Schools' fresh, healthy food focus serves as a national standard for school districts across the United States, and has a healthy and wellness policy that discourages junk food in our schools. In support of this focus on nutritious foods and district policy, Cooke Elementary School has a rule prohibiting junk food from entering the building. Families were made aware of this rule by building administrators at the beginning of the school year, provided with a prohibited foods list in the parent handbook, and informed that any listed foods brought into the building would be confiscated.

"On Tuesday, April 15, Cooke Principal Philip Van Hooks observed a number of students with foods on the prohibited list and, in accordance with school rules, confiscated the items. When the principal witnessed a student trying to hide their item from his view, he revoked that student's permission to go with their class on a planned field trip that afternoon. The revocation of that permission to attend the field trip was due solely to the students' attempt to deceive school administrators. It also led to an unfortunate incident at the school between the student's parent and Principal Van Hooks that resulted in the Detroit Public Schools Police Department (DPSPD) being called and the parent being taken into custody for aggravated assault. At no time were students in any danger. The safety and well being of each and every child in our care is our top priority."

Erickson reports the parent punched the principal and bit him twice.

The school says notes were sent to parents Wednesday regarding the altercation between the parent and the principal.
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