Law would tell parents about eating disorders
The House has passed a bill requiring Virginia school boards to give students’ parents information about eating disorders.
Delegates on Thursday unanimously approved House Bill 1406, which states, “Each school board shall annually provide parent educational information regarding eating disorders for pupils in grades five through 12.”
The bill’s chief patron is Delegate Richard Bell, R-Staunton, a retired high school special education teacher and coach. Democratic Delegates Mark Keam of Vienna and Kaye Kory of Falls Church are co-sponsoring HB 1406.
Keam said eating disorders are starting earlier in children because of peer pressure and bad health behaviors.
“Eating disorders are one of those things that we as a society don’t talk about very often,” Keam said. “We don’t think about it very often; we don’t know a lot of people that may be impacted. But unless we make it a positive proactive awareness, we may never know more about it.”
HB 1406 would give parents guidelines that describe the signs of eating disorders and what to look for in their children. Parents also would learn how they can get help if their child is at risk for or suffering from an eating disorder.
The bill also allows for schools to screen for eating disorders. The screenings are not medical or physical but would help identify risky behaviors that might lead to eating disorders.
The Virginia Department of Education will work with the Virginia Department of Health to create policies on providing parents with correct information about eating disorders from informed medical experts.
Medical experts have recognized the need to diagnose and treat disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
In 2010, Dominion Hospital in Falls Church opened what it described as the only comprehensive eating disorder treatment center in Virginia. The center, called Reflections, already has a long waiting list, which demonstrates the extent of the problem and the need for treatment.
Kory said eating disorders are a growing problem. She said parents are the first line of defense and must learn how to tell whether their children might have an eating disorder.
After clearing the House, HB 1406 now moves to the Senate. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarA celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at 3 p.m. at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 East Laburnum Ave. The event will include a one-act play written and directed by Tony Cosby, entitled "Put Down the Guns;” guest appearances by TV One's Pearline Muckelvene and The Coates Brothers; singer and J. Brown impersonator Oscar Fields; and a musical tribute to Gil Scott Heron. A light dinner will be served. Tickets are $20 and available by calling (804) 218-6970 or in person at the Gospel Bookstore, 4842 Laburnum Ave. Full text