The Brookhaven School District’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve a “Commitment to a Healthy School” in their October 27, 2020 meeting. The addendum will be added to the existing student wellness policy, which includes language citing students and staff will be allowed to carry refillable water bottles on campus and that all new or majorly renovated schools will have water bottle refilling stations installed.
This commitment is part of the American Heart Association’s larger Water Within Reach effort in Mississippi. The organization aims to pass legislation in 2021 requiring all new or renovated Mississippi schools to provide students with water bottle refilling stations. Brookhaven is the first school district in the state of Mississippi, and in the southeastern region of the U.S., to pass this important policy.
Mississippi ranks number one in the nation for the highest rate of obesity among children ages 10 to 17. Drinking sufficient amounts of water reduces the likelihood of kids being at an unhealthy weight.
“Water is critical to a child’s overall health. Not sugary drinks. Water,” said Jennifer Goodwin, registered nurse for the Lamar County School District “But for many Mississippi children, drinking water is not a part of their day, nor is it available to them. And a passing sip in the hallway is not enough.”
Water bottle filling stations in schools can nearly triple how much water students drink at lunch time. Drinking water can also positively impact children’s cognitive performance, particularly their short-term memory.
“We are pleased to support the important mission of the American Heart Association and to offer our staff and students a healthier learning environment,” said Erin Smith, Brookhaven School Board president. “The addition of water bottle refilling stations to Brookhaven schools is a great step closer to ensuring all Mississippi students have access to safe clean drinking water.”
For more information, visit yourethecure.org/ms-water-access.
Lauren VonForegger is the Metro Jackson Communications Director for the American Heart Association.