When and Why To Buy Organic

This is a great article from the Huffington post on which foods you should always buy organic. Eating healthy is not cheap. But these are the top food you need to spend those extra dollars on.  Save the non-organic for items like melons and oranges that you will remove the outter skin before consuming. Eliminating chemicals from your diet is a must when eating healthy.

7 Best Foods to Buy Organic

By Caroline Young

While it may seem like the organic food movement became popular over the past two decades, it is actually a much older concept. Everyone ate organic fruits and veggies before World War II, because all crops were organic. It was after that when many farmers started “conventionally” growing crops: spraying them with new, synthetic pesticides and chemicals to reduce weeds, insects and rodents. Now many of us enter the produce section with some confusion, as we are offered every fruit and veggie grown in two very different ways.

What’s the Difference Between Conventional and Organic Foods?

Conventional foods differ from organics in several ways, including the use of chemical versus natural fertilizers (i.e., compost) to feed soil and plants. Conventional farmers also use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds, while organic farmers use environmentally generated plant-killing compounds. Therefore, organic produce has significantly fewer pesticide residues than conventional produce.

The USDA organic regulations also ban the use of food additives, processing aids, and fortifying agents found in conventional foods, like artificial sweeteners and coloring, preservatives and monosodium glutamate.

Global organic food sales have skyrocketed from a total of $1 billion in 1990 to $29 billion by 2011. However, those numbers only represent about 4.2 percent of all food sold in the U.S. during this time period. And as more and more people buy organic foods for their health benefits, these foods often get a bad rap for higher costs.

In the conversation over benefit vs. price, some studies reveal doubt around organic foods truly having significantly higher nutritional benefits than conventional foods. Despite the skeptics, there is a rising agreement in the scientific community that small amounts of pesticides and other chemicals have negative effects on health. Pregnant women and mothers should especially be aware because studies show fetuses and young children may be more negatively affected by harmful exposure to low levels of pesticides.

1) Potatoes

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When deciding which foods to buy organic, potatoes are a must. Most conventionally-grown have one of the highest pesticide contents among fruits and veggies. The USDA discovered 81 percent of potatoes tested in 2006 contained pesticides even after being washed and peeled.

2) Beef

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When animals are conventionally raised, they are fed growth hormones and medications to fight disease and speed growth, which inevitably end up in our hamburgers and our bodies. The hormones push cows’ estrogen and testosterone levels unnaturally high. In turn, those hormones can possibly have strong effects on our natural body processes. The European Union actually banned all hormones in beef. On the other hand, organic farmers try to match the natural behavior of animals and permit access to the outdoors. To reduce diseases, organic farmers take measures like rotational grazing, clean housing, and organic balanced diets with no animal by products.

3) Milk

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To increase the quantity of milk produced, cows raised conventionally are given rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), which is banned in the European Union and Canada, among others. While there is no solid scientific evidence rBGH can harm us, it may benefit us to drink milk free of rBGH given theAmerican Cancer Society has determined the potential harm to humans is inconclusive and rBGH can cause adverse health effects in cows.

4) Apples

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Apple peel is one of this popular tree fruit’s healthiest parts, offering phytochemicals that can reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, the peel is where pesticides accumulate, putting apples at the top of the organic foods priority list.

5) Strawberries

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Do you wonder why the conventional strawberries sometimes appear a bit brighter in color than their organic counterparts? It’s because some of them are enhanced with a substance containing thecontaminant fungicide captan. Plus, conventional strawberries with the most pesticides are often the imported ones because pesticide restrictions are not always the same in other countries.

6) Kale and Spinach

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While spinach and kale offer many nutrients with very low calories, they are often sprayed with more than 20 kinds of pesticides before being tossed in our salads and cooked in our omelets. A USDA studyfound 58 pesticide residues are usually contained in spinach.

7) Peaches

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Peaches, while juicy and delicious, are high on the list of tree fruits for being the most susceptible to pesticide residue, and usually contain levels above the legal limits. Contaminants in peaches arefungicides captan and iprodione, which have been linked to cancer.

Going Organic Can Help Our Planet

Production of conventional foods may cost the planet a whole lot more than a few extra bucks at the grocery store. Overtime, pesticides and herbicides used in the harvest of conventional foods contaminate groundwater, promote erosion, and destroy soil structures. Plus, they can threaten the U.S. food supply by contributing to “colony collapse disorder,” or the mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees.

Conventional Produce Is Better Than None

While it is beneficial to our health and planet to buy organic foods as much as possible, it can be hard to dole out the extra cash, especially during slower economic times. If it is just not in the budget, don’t fret. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that advocating for policies to both individual and global health, created a list of produce called the “Clean 15,” which are your safest choices. They have the smallest pesticide load and the safest conventional foods to consume. Some of the foods include mushrooms, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.

Remember, it is important to keep plenty of fruits and veggies as part of a balanced diet, and not to sacrifice the benefits of eating fruits and veggies for the risk of pesticide exposure. Focus on going organic when it fits into your life, especially focusing on the foods you eat most often and high-pesticide foods, including BuiltLean’s top seven.

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Blackberry Banana Muffins

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Easy and moist, Blackberry Banana Muffins

IMG_4009Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F
  2. Mix together your eggs, honey, coconut oil, coconut milk, salt and vanilla
  3. Sift together your baking powder and coconut flour and combine with your wet ingredients
  4. Mix your batter well and then fold in your banana and blackberries and mix well until the blackberries continue to get broken into smaller pieces and are spread well throughout
  5. Divide your batter into 11 muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes
  6. EnjoyIMG_4007

Bread Rounds

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These rounds were so easy to make and an amazing hit for a boy that has not had a “real”sandwich in a year!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (240 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (57 g) yogurt (or coconut milk or other milk) I used coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, melted (or ghee, coconut oil, or palm shortening)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of toppings such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds (optional)IMG_4201

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Line 2 or 3 (depending their size) baking sheets with nonstick baking mats, parchment paper, or other nonstick material.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except any toppings, in a food processor or blender; blend until creamy. Alternatively, you can blend with a mixer or whisk.
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of batter into pancake-like circles onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each roll. Feel free to make larger rolls by adding another tablespoon or so. If the batter is thick you can spread it around a bit with the back of a spoon.
  4. Sprinkle with your chosen toppings and bake for 15 minutes, or until the rolls brown slightly on top. If you’re making larger rolls, they’ll take a few more minutes to brown and firm up sufficiently. Don’t be afraid to go a little brown with these—that will make them firmer and add a tasty crunch at the edges.
  5. Slide a knife or spatula under each roll and remove to a cooling rack. Let cool completely, seal, and store in the refrigerator for a week or so or in the freezer for a few months.

Makes about 12 small or 6 large rounds

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Paleo Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins Paleo Style

IMG_39334 ripe bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond)
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. In a blender,  add bananas, eggs, nut butter, coconut oil & vanilla. Blend to combine.
3. Add in dry ingredients and blend that ish in. You may have to help the blender a bit but please do this when it is off. I’d like it if you kept all of your fingers.
4. In a muffin tin lined with cups distribute batter until filled 2/3 way full.  Make 12-14 muffins.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, mine were more like 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
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Fresh Peach Cobbler (paleo)

IMG_3896 Here in Southern Utah it’s PEACH season. 

I happen to have an amazing neighbor that lets me pick my fill. So I had more than enough to spare when it came to making a tasty dessert. I’ve never been one for super sweet treats and it needed to be gluten free as well as egg free. In the end we all loved the final product.

I started with cleaning, pitting and slicing 7-10 large peaches and placing them in a deep pyrex dish. I then squeezed the juice of half a fresh lemon onto the peaches. Next I sprinkled them with cinnamon, and stirred in about 1/3 cup chopped raw pecans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

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Crumb Topping:

!.5 cups almond flour

1/8 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 TBS coconut oil

1/4 cup raw honey

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup raw pecans chopped (optional)

Mix everything together. Drop by spoonfuls on top of sliced peaches. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.  I suggest doubling the topping if you are making in a 9×13 pan.  Drizzle chilled coconut milk over top just before serving. ENJOY.

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Cinnamon Muffin

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If you love cinnamon you will love these moist muffins.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup refrigerated coconut milk (make sure it’s stirred up)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

For the glaze:

1 TBSP cinnamon
2 TBSP pure maple syrup
1 TBSP coconut oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, coconut milk and syrup. Add to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour into muffin tins and drizzle glaze over each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

School Birthday “treats”

A huge concern of mine is all the “treats” or junk my children are offered at school.  In a classroom of 24 kids with 24 birthdays celebrated in 9 months thats 2.7 birthdays a month. Thats blue frosting, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, preservatives, sugar, and dyes offered to our kids usually without us knowing. It is also 23 celebrations my children cant participate in. Yes, I’m that parent, my kids say “No Thank You” and watch everyone else  consume the dyes and chemicals. So this past year we tried to set an example to show that birthday celebrations do not need to revolve around the consumption of unhealthy treats. I am also trying to change the way our school handles these celebrations and school rewards, by eliminating “food” as treats and turning to prizes or treats that are not food of any sort. Yes, I could have sent fruit or veggies but I was trying to show that we can celebrate without eating something. These are the 3 treats my younger children took this past school year to celebrate their birthdays.

Lucy took jump ropes for each child in her class. She was turning 11 and was in 5th grade. They cost me $1.00 each. We attached a little poem to each one that read:

Hip Hip Hooray,

It’s Lucy’s birthday!

Lets all jump for joy,

because she got you this cool toy!

Thanks for celebrating her day,

now lets go outside and PLAY!

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Charley was turning 9 and in 2nd grade. Charley took pins. These cost me about $.10 each. 

Thank you for making my birthday out of the world.

Thank you for making my birthday ROCK!

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Finnegan was turning 7 and in 1st grade. He gave everyone tubes of glow sticks. Cost $1.00 each.

Thanks for making my birthday CHEERY and BRIGHT!

IMG_3490My Children did not complain that they weren’t taking cupcakes or cookies. They also told me everyone was really excited to have something to take home. Yes we can all complain about the $1 toys and trinkets that clutter our homes but I would much rather have my house  full of clutter than my children full of poisons and chemicals. We may not be able to change how everyone thinks but we can lead by example and show others their are alternatives.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Lemon Poppyseed

Lemon Poppyseed

Ingredients
⅓ cup coconut flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 eggs
¼ cup (real) maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract (I actually used vanilla bean paste, because I’m obsessed lately)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice – about 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon zest – about 1 lemon
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp poppy seeds
Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift the dry ingredients together into your mixer’s bowl.
Add everything else except for the coconut oil and poppy seeds. Mix to combine.
Pour in the coconut oil, while the mixer continues to run on low.
Add the poppy seeds.
Divide the batter into 6 muffin cups. Silicone ones work great, and are reusable.
Bake 21-15 minutes.
Cool in the muffin cups, then remove and serve.
I have also followed the same recipe and added fresh raspberries for an added sweetness.IMG_3713
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Valentine (healthy) Treats


heartday

val·en·tine  [val-uhn-tahyn]

 
download (1)valentinesnoun
1. a card or message, usually amatory or sentimental but sometimes satirical or comical, or a token or gift sent by one person to another on Valentine Day, sometimes anonymously.
2. a sweetheart chosen or greeted on this day.
3. a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone: His photographic essay is a valentine to Paris.

Valentines day is the biggest candy day of the year! I absolutely cannot stand how every holiday revolves around chemical filled junk. Valentines is about expressing your love and affection for those that mean the most to you. I had to explain to my 15 year old daughter that Valentines is mostly for little kids and their moms finding crafty cute ways so spoil them. For most woman and mostly teenage girls it’s a day of disappointment. That being said how did showing your love for someone become about chocolate, fun dip, and heart shaped pizza? Well because the fact remains  that in America we incorporate food and mostly sugary food into every  social gathering.

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How can you make your kids feel special on Valentines without all the junk? And what do you do about the school party where every Valentine has a sucker or pixi stick taped to it? My kids actually brought home more candy from 3 class parties than the three of them collected trick or treating this past Halloween. Insert face of disappointment here.

Special Lunch of love

For my younger kids I packed them a special Valentines day lunch. This one is for Charley who has lots of food intolerances. He has sweet red peppers cut into hearts, as well as cucumbers and red cherry tomatoes, a pumpkin muffin with a cute Valentines LOVE toothpick, strawberries shaped as hearts, sunflower seeds, an apple that I made by cutting a heart out of a green apple with a cookie cutter and placing it in red apple. I also added a cute little card expressing my love and his little gift of a valentines themed lunch box sized hand sanitizer and the holder he has been asking for.

20130217-234815.jpgLucys lunch was a bit different with a sandwich cut with a larger heart cookie cutter, and little watermelon hearts. I also gave her yogurt with fresh strawberries and raspberries in it. Any red or pink fruit and veggie shaped like a heart makes them happy. Try cutting homemade fruit leather in to hearts.

Teacher need love too

IMG_1661Our teachers Valentines were simple and quick. Again we shared a healthily snack and gave them apples that had the message: “you are the apple of my eye” . A friend shared the idea from Pinterest. They had a “plum perfect”  “bananas for you” and “pear”-fact” all very cute ideas! I also received one from a sweet preschooler that said “you’re a’cutie'” can you guess what fruit that was?

Classroom Idea

For my class party at my preschool I had each child bring a piece of fruit to create a “friendship salad” that they helped prepare. Each child washed their fruit then cut it up before adding it to the bowl. In the end we had a beautiful healthy treat that everyone had worked together to make.

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Rylee MacKay the Girl removed from school for dying her hair is MY DAUGHTER

IMG_3263I apologize for make lack of posting my life has been turned upside down with so much happening. I am taking on one school in a fight against the amount of candy they hand out on a hourly basis. And I am taking on another school because my daughter was kicked out of school due to her hair color. Yes if you’ve seen it in the news that is my daughter. No this is not a blog about food this time but it is about being a real mom. Though I have to admit my daughters face being plastered across 6 different continents, on Yahoo, CNN, even contacted by the Anderson Cooper Show and in more newspapers than I can even count does not feel like real life! (today there is a letter to the editor address WCSD from SHANHGHAI, CHINA!)

Rylee is my daughter.

February 6th:

Rylee MacKay

Rylee 2/8/13

Rylee was told Wednesday February 6th that she had to turn her hair back to brown or she could not come back to school. My husband was called and he told the Vice Principal that he was in training and could not come get her. The VP said that she could stay but her hair had to be fixed before she could returned. I then called the VP and asked him if her even knew who my daughter was. Mr. Goodwin said “I do now.” Exactly he didn’t know her because she was not a problem student and she didn’t draw attention to herself, if anything she was the quiet girl who flies under the radar. She is an honor student without so much as a tardy. She didn’t want attention and being pulled out of class twice in one day, crying because she was heart-broken that she was going to have to change the red hair she loved so much was much more attention than she would ever want. I tried to explain to him that I couldn’t just leave my job to go have her hair dyed and asked if she could stay in school the west of the week so I could have it done professionally over the weekend. He tole me that “if it were important enough” I should leave work. I told him he wasnt giving me any options that worked and he told me to go to Wal-Mart and buy a box like all the other parents do. I had not allowed her to use a Wal-Mart box the first time around and I wasnt going to destroy her hair now just because he was telling me to. I told him she had just gotten a touch up 5 days before and that it would fade over the next week, and could she just stay in school until then. His answer once again was “NO.” The best he could offer was putting her in a separate room where no one would see her. Like a caged animal!

Now understand Rylee had been dying her hair since September of the previous year. She had gotten the same color every time. I did not take dying her hair lightly. I made sure it was professional and was going to look natural. I was also clear that there was a dress code in Rylees school. I explained the rule to her stylist and she assured me the color combination she used would be natural looking. She used a mix of “natural brown and Red.”

This is the dress code we were trying to follow. We believed Rylees hair was im compliance with WCSD Dress and Grooming Standards.

3.1.4. Hair, including beards, mustaches and sideburns, should be groomed so that it is neat and clean. Extreme hairstyles are prohibited. Hair color should be within the spectrum of color that hair grows naturally.

February 8th:

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On Friday I took Rylee back into the school to see Principal Holt. I had tried to talk to the Superintendent of schools but was told I had to talk to Mr Holt first. Mr. Holt agreed to recheck Rylees hair on monday and told us to do whatever we could to die it down, like having a brown put over it. He also told me to get a green shampoo and that would help remove the red. He also asked my to support whatever decision he came to. I told him I would not dye her hair brown and that he would have to be clear on what red she could have. They were missing the point, she wanted red, not brown and we were not clear on what shade of red was going to make them happy.

February 10th:

On Monday I sent Rylee to school where she was made to wait in the office through first and almost all of second hour before they talked to her

. She even asked if she could go to first hour because she had a group presentation to do. She was

told “NO.” and made to wait because they had “school issues to deal with.” Apparently my daughters education and grades were not an important enough school issue. When they finally call her in the men told her to stand near the window and turn her back to them while both men examined her hair. Can you even imagine how this made a 15-year-old gi

rl feel. Did

they never consider her self-image or how humiliating that would be for her. She was told it looked like she had removed the pink and could go to class.

The truth: Rylee did nothing more than shower and wash her hair everyday like normal. She even used her color conserve shampoo.

So why one day or even for 5 months is her hair ok and but on another day she’s a distraction? The school has never contacted us, they have never apologized.

The media attention has had its good and bad. We are happy that it has spread and we believe it has because it’s just that crazy. People are clicking the links because they just cant believe its true. But tears have been shed from the rude comments. Yes for every one thousand supporting comments there have been one or two haters, but those are the ones that stick with you. I have been told to be a parent not a friend, I should shave her head to embarrass her as much as she has embarrassed us, or I’m teaching her she doesn’t need to follow the rules if she doesn’t like them. Rylee has been called a liar, saying she probably had blue streaks she was keeping from the press, told numerous times she looked as old as 40 and had wrinkles, or the photos had been altered or that she had fixed it.

It has also been hard with being let down by people who you would expect to have your back at times like these. Support at times has been greater from strangers than friends that are afraid of what their neighbors will think in this community. It hurts.

IMG_3419How the school district thinks:

We’d asked her not to come until she complied with the policy,” said Hurricane Middle School Principal Roy Hoyt. “99% of our parents come in here with the attitude‘okay, we’ll comply’ and they take care of it within hours.”

Thats the schools attitude, and so many parents have given in to their demands. Why has no one fought back? They think they can control our children. They have forgotten what they are actually hired to do: EDUCATE. I did not sign a paper giving up my daughters civil rights at the door. I am not from here and I am not teaching her to be submissive. From the time any of my 4 children were born I have taught them to “use their words” and voice their feelings. This time was no different.

February 12, School Board Meeting:Red Haired

Rylee and I attended the WCSD board meeting. Not surprised the dress code was not even mentioned during the meeting. Both Rylee and I spoke during the public comment session. I started by telling the I was here because of what happened to my daughter, I then refered them to their policy.

Amy:

” School administrators, teachers, students and parents need clear dress and grooming guidelines so that rules of dress and discipline can be enforced consistently.”
The guideline stated in the dress code are no where clear when it comes to hair color. Because as A parent and adult I honestly believed we were within your guideline. There is no color palette that we can look at. So basically it’s subjective. Yes obviously blue is out but which blond is ok which red? I mean her hair had been this color since September and in February she was removed for 2 days and we did nothing to change it yet she was allowed back in on Monday.
I was told she was being removed from school because she was a distraction. When I asked who she was distracting the answer was that she was deliberately breaking a rule and she knew she was getting away with it making her a distraction. But again that was not true, that was saying it was intentional. Again we both thought we were following the dress code. Is there any study showing that hair color is distracting in a classroom?

It is also considered part of their behavioral expectations? Can anyone explain to me how hair directly affects behavior? Jesus had long hair and Albert Einstein had crazy hair, did it effect their behavior? For teens maybe its making them feel more confident, pretty, unique, excepted, but these are actually all feelings, not behaviors. Aren’t these all feelings that we are trying to help teenagers gain? not suppress. Don’t they have enough going on with peer pressure, teen suicide, and drugs. Personally if my daughter wants to experiment and express her self I’d much rather it be through her hair than drugs or alcohol. Also won’t this confidence she’s gaining help her to not give in to these other peer pressures? I guess then you could say that is effecting her behavior. But not quite how its outlines in your standards.

In the end, are we telling these kids that we are judging them on their physical appearance and not on their morals, behavior and personality? Aren’t you telling them how they look is more important than their education? Essentially that’s what happened to my daughter.

Rylee:

What about our civil rights to express ourselves? We as Teenagers have so many rules and restrictions mostly to keep us safe, but how will we ever find ourselves if we are sticking to the old concept that children should be seen, not heard.

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Spreading the L O V E

We propose that the wording of the dress code be changed and even be considered to be put to a vote by the people of Washington county. It also needs to be enforced the same across the board in all Washington county schools. Looking at different schools my hair would never have been an issue.
I think if you take the time to review any of the hundreds of thousands of comments on the Internet in the past 5 days along with the polls placed on news website you will find that 92% of the people agree there needs to be a change.

What Now?

Please don’t let this die until a change is made in Washing County School District. Weather you believe the dress code needs to be reworded or if you think teens should be allowed to dye their hair as a form of self-expression, make your voice heard. Please email the superintendent and members of the board, refer to policy 3.1.4. Board emails can be found on WCSD web site. http://www.washk12.org

Superintendent Rose: mrose@admin.washk12.org

Assistant Superintendent Topham: mtopham@admin.washk12.org

HUMAN RESOURCE DIRECTOR Cox: lcox@admin.washk12.org

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