By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
A school district in Washington state is determined to make school more healthy and less fun.
Edmonds School District, in the suburbs south of Seattle, has approved a ban on cupcakes, candy and other sweet treats that children typically bring to school to celebrate their birthdays. Instead, district officials say kids should distribute pencils to their classmates on those special days – because pencils are every bit as much fun as cupcakes.
The ban on food in classrooms — aside from “seasonal, cultural or curriculum-related celebrations” that are allowed to occur three times per year — is part of an overall effort to make the district’s schools healthier and to comply with new federal guidelines for school wellness.
That’s right kids: Michelle Obama ruined your birthday party.
But she had plenty of help from Edmonds school officials.
If every child in a classroom brings treats to birthday celebrations, “We’re not just talking about one cupcake a year, we’re talking about 25 cupcakes a year,” DJ Jakala, spokeswoman for the Edmonds School District, told the Everett Herald newspaper.
Jakala told the newspaper the change was part of a “philosophical shift” at the district and spoke about reports of students being more unruly during weeks when multiple birthday parties were held in the same classroom.
But some parents say the school district is stepping on tradition — not to mention the fact the district is telling each child there is only one right way to celebrate his or her birthday.
“It’s not necessarily the district’s job to control that, to take away from everybody,” parent Marcus Shelton told local Fox affiliate KCPQ. “It’s overreaching.”
As of two weeks ago, the district had gotten just three written complaints, but officials failed to return calls from Watchdog.org seeking updated numbers.
Edmonds School District isn’t alone when it comes to banning sweet treats for birthday parties and other occasions, but it’s certainly in the minority.
According to a report published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior last year, only 7.3 percent of schools prohibit sugary items during classroom birthday parties and 6.4 percent for classroom holiday parties. The study examined policies at more than 1,200 schools nationwide.
With the federal government pushing stronger nutritional guidelines for schools, surely the birthday tradition of cupcakes in the classroom is heading for the axe in more places.
But this week, for their efforts to limit childhood obesity by limiting childhood fun, the officials at Edmonds School District are Watchdog’s Nanny-staters of the Week. Their prize? A pencil and a handmade card.
Boehm can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org and follow @WatchdogOrg and @EricBoehm87 on Twitter for more.
- Nanny-state state of the week: MD may become first to ban Vaportinis
- Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays
- Skim is in: CT lawmakers want to ban whole milk in day cares
- Nanny state of the week: Fairfax, VA, wants to limit the right to assemble
- Nanny state of the week: SC — and Schumer — for duplicative efforts to ban powdered alcohol
- Nanny of the Week: Virginia hoses down car wash fundraisers
- Nanny of the Week: Even a summertime trip to the beach can’t be nanny-free
- Nanny of the week: Federal authorities think feral cats can read signs
- Nanny of the week: Cambridge wants to ban ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft
- Nanny-stater of the week: NY lawmaker wants to ban photos with tigers
- Nanny-stater of the Week: Who needs cupcakes and candy? Here, have a pencil
- Nanny-stater of the week: Fargo limits kids to less than four shots of juice per day
- Nanny-stater of the week: Wisconsin towns fight repeal of bow ban
- Nanny of the week: No fun in the sun, thanks to Congress and FDA
- Nanny-stater of the week: DOT to ban cell phone use on planes
- Nanny of the week: The out-of-control trend of arresting non-helicopter moms
- Nanny of the Week: Vermont city could ban ‘human activity’
- Nanny of the Week: Mississippi makes bird feeders illegal – by accident
- Nanny of the week: MO town bans breastfeeding near pools
- Nanny of the Week: School bans lip balm, 11 year-old girl fights back
- Watchdog.org blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban
- Nanny of the Week: Seattle imposes fine on residents who throw away food
- Nanny of the Week: California bans plastic bags
- Nanny of the week: Maybe this time it will be different for Chicago
- Nanny of the Week: Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers
- Nanny of the Week: Massachusetts town seeking to ban tobacco faces uprising from residents
- Nanny of the Week: Proposed bans on Thanksgiving Day shopping
- Nanny of the week: U.S. government bans ‘Comfyballs’ underwear
- Nanny of the Week: Better take down those holiday decorations
- Nanny of the week: Towns ban sledding
- Nanny of the Week: New York City plans to ban out-of-state cars
- Nanny of the Week: Snow-shoveling teens get in trouble with the law
- Nanny of the Week: Get caught wearing yoga pants three times, go to jail for life
- Nanny of the Week: Georgia lawmaker wants to ban mermaids, werewolves, other fictional creatures from real life
- Nanny State of the Week: Endangering manatees in Florida
- Nanny of the Week: Christie caves to protectionist gravestone proposal in N.J.
- Nanny of the Week: Don’t mix beer and ice cream – because of the children
- Nanny of the Week: Is the minimum wage a nanny state policy?
- Nanny of the Week: Republican in NY backs cat declawing ban
- Nanny of the Week: NJ continues ban on self-serve gasoline, because sometimes it snows