This week in Greeley, Colorado, the school board announced a ban on all sweets in the schools, as reported by FoxNews. No rewarding students with candy. No birthday celebrations with cupcakes. No bake sales. No off-campus fundraisers selling sweets.
Everything served must be pre-approved by the schools. There is only one cake recipe that can be made–it includes black beans–in the cake. The district says the kids love it.
I am adamantly opposed to fundraisers held at fast food restaurants such as McDonalds. I would much rather write a check at the beginning of the year and opt out of these ridiculous fund raisers that encourage (and in some cases require) unhealthy eating.
But no sweets in schools? Ever? No holiday celebrations? No cultural eat-ins? No birthday cupcakes?
Greeley, Colorado (a town that was–until today–on my top list of places to consider relocating my family, someday) you are taking this too far.
If we allow our school systems to dictate our children’s menus, when will they have an opportunity to try new things? To celebrate a special time? To create something different?
I asked Jennifer from Savor the Thyme about a healthy black bean cake. She shared that she’ll work on it. In the meantime, her kids love Zucchini and Banana Muffins. So do
I mine. They’re somewhat healthy. They have sugars, but they have fruit and vegetables, too. Muffins like these help our kids to learn that even vegetables taste good, right? But in Greeley, Colorado, you aren’t going to be permitted to make those for school, so your children won’t learn it at school.
As a teacher, I frowned when my students asked to bring Root Beer to a class party. I rolled my eyes when, instead of sending in homemade cupcakes or cookies for a birthday celebration, a mom sent grab bags of candies, worthy of the end of Halloween night. But banning these celebrations in lieu of pencils and erasers? Has the school board forgotten what it’s like to be a kid?
An overwhelming response in the comments notes that the biggest issue for parents is that the schools are now dictating their shopping lists and what they choose to pack for their children for lunch. I applaud schools who change their cafeteria menu to make it healthier. Goodness, I wish our’s would actually do it, rather than just talking about it and pretending they did. But to tell parents what they can and can’t feed their own children? That’s too far.
“They’re dictating what I can send with my child for lunch – what I can give them for a treat at a school party,” she said. “I don’t believe that’s right. It’s my child. I should be able to feed them whatever I want. They’re not raising my child. They’re not paying for their orthodontic bills. They’re not tucking them in at night telling them they love them. But yet they’re telling me what I can and can’t feed my child?” –parent comment from the FoxNews article
Once again, schools are taking the opportunity to teach about making healthy choices and stuffing the concept into the overfilling closet of forgotten lessons. The closet that sits behind the caution tape of “shhh! Don’t talk about it. Just don’t allow it and we can forget it’s important.”
Greeley, Colorado, why not offer a lesson on sugar? On fats? On making healthy choices. Have your 2nd graders do a poll of favorite foods. Teach third graders about eating in moderation. Lead them to sample tastes from the world and learn the cultures of foods. Instruct Home Economics classes to create a healthy muffin that still tastes good.
Foods are a learning experience. So is fun. So is celebration.<p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2736″>Image: piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>
© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.