The Grinch that stole Cupcakes
Vote in our poll:
Should Nauset ban birthday parties with cupcakes & pizza.
School budgets are tight, teacher unions are swirling in controversy and MCAS results are looming - but the Nauset Regional Schools' Health and Wellness Committee wants to take away kids' birthday parties.
With an eye towards teaching better eating habits in the schools, the committee has recommended removal of flavored milk from lunch menus and desires to end the sale of non-nutritional foods as fund raisers. They also wish to end the practice of pizza parties as classroom rewards and to limit the number of classroom birthday celebrations to one per month.
"We have more important things to worry about than cupcakes. I don't know when cupcakes first got brought into the school system for birthdays, but we didn't do that when I was in school. This is a school and we have to teach them what's good for them and set a good example."
- Doc. Dick, the Food Grinch.
Nauset's superintendent Richard Hoffman calls it the "the cupcake controversy" because parents often send in cupcakes for a child's birthday celebration. The committee has recommended a single consolidated birthday event per classroom, per month.
Hoffman has also gone on record as against "food as a reward" such as a pizza party for the class that read the most books.
We really hate to pick on Doctor Dick again because we would rather sing his praises for turning the Nauset Middle School into a stellar educational system, but with all the pressure that sits on children's shoulders today, what's the harm in letting them have a party?
Do the people on this committee think that limiting kids' birthday parties is a giant step towards reducing childhood obesity?
Is the small benefit in reduced calorie consumption by having a combined party a fair trade-off for letting an individual child have their "special day" all to themselves?
Meanwhile, Dr. Hoffman - the would-be "Grinch who stole the pizza party" - apparently aspires to take away one of the last vestiges of competition in our schools - a class that reads the most books certainly deserves special recognition. A classroom pizza party is a powerful incentive for participants and is a clear indicator of victory for the winners.
Let parents be the Food Nazis
We're all respectful of the national struggle against childhood obesity. We're also positive that classroom parties aren't the problem. The problem is over-indulgent parents that let Junior graze at will in a kitchen that's set up like the Old Country Buffet. If mom and dad keep sweet treats around the house, they will be eaten. Ask any elementary school kid to chose between a banana and a candy bar and guess which she chooses?
If Nauset wants to make a statement on nutrition, we suggest they remove all vending machines from every school building. No soda machines, no candy machines and nothing in the teachers' rooms, either. Of course the cry will go up that "we make money with those machines". If so, replace them with machines that dispense healthy snacks. This would be a good test to see how well the district's healthy eating education is working out for them. If the program is successful, the high school jocks should be lining up to buy apples and oranges.
While we don't know all of the people on the Health and Wellness Committee, we have seen a few of them around town. Some of those "Food Nazi's" might want to take a good look in their own mirror and aspire to lead by example.
Educate the parents, teach the kids about proper nutrition, but let the little ones have their fun. Party on!
Some source material is from The Cape Codder here.