Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Schools and sugar

Mik's experience of having to turn down so much sugar at school this week has really been gnawing at me (and today it was "only" an ice cream sandwich). But the more I think about it, the more I think it's ridiculous that kids are served any food at all in the classrooms. What about kids with allergies? What about the ones with food intolerances? What if a parent just prefers that their kids not eat certain things, like food dyes or animal products? What right do they have to be feeding my kids things that are both addictive and terrible for them (or allowing other parents to do it)? And isn't eating what lunchtime is for?

I know the kids can just refuse the food, but come on. They're kids. They don't know how bad sugar is for them, and if they did, they wouldn't care.

This has been an issue for Dex his whole life, because he can't eat dairy or eggs, so maybe I'm a bad mother for only getting riled up about it now. What we used to do for him, though, was bring the teacher a box of Blow Pops, so whenever treats got brought into the classroom, he could have one of those instead. (And they used to go through a Costco box of suckers every year, believe me.)

If I had to do it over again, I think I'd be writing letters and trying to organize parents. Or is bringing cupcakes to school such a beloved tradition that the PTA mommies wouldn't be able to part with it? (Sigh, don't answer that.)

I'm an elementary school parent for exactly one and a half more days. Fight for change or let it go?


  1. FIght for change! This whole "we get to try to feed your kid behind your back" thing is AWFUL. We're only in preschool so far, and it's AWFUL. Why do kids need a snack in a three-hour school day? Ridiculous. I had a dietitian mother of a student in my kid's class send around some anti-diabetes video. Just three days prior, she gave my daughter a birthday goody bag filled with Tootsie Rolls. WHAT? People don't know what they're doing to kids at all anymore.

    This is where I am tremendously libertarian. Let each family feed their kids and make those choices for themselves. Don't give kids food as rewards at school. Don't undermine parental sovereignty. Except to make school safe for everyone--so if that's no nuts, no honey, whatever--then let the kids bring their own food and that's the end. If I feed my kid bacon, her Muslim friend doesn't also have to eat it. If someone has a birthdqy, they should bring something safe and reasonable as a treat. Like STICKERS. Or, like my kid wanted this year, clementines.

    Your boys shouldn't be made to cry because other people are forcing food at them. Food should be the thing kids do at lunch, and at no otHer time save Home Ec class. The end. So stupid. Fight the power!

  2. Excellent rant. I told M.H. that I may become known among the sixth-grade parents as the "cupcake Nazi."

  3. No, it's the people forcing unwanted stuff on your kid who are the fascists.