August 26, 2010

Back to School Woes: New NC State Board of Education Policy is Ridiculous!

So, school started today and try as I might, my mind still could not come to terms with the fact that my little girl is now in grade school! Add the thought of tons of paperworks, assignments and what nots into the equation and what you get is one delirious mama!

Driven to epileptic anger by the note that we got from her teacher {from the school} today. If you're a mom with a child in school in NC you need to read this.

Not too long ago, my daughter celebrated her birthday. She was in Kindergarten. Instead of cake, we decided to bring homemade cupcakes for her class which is easier to handle and literally mess-free. And knowing us, we are very particular of our ingredients and making sure we use only the best ones. Organic if you must. In short, it was considerably healthy. It's for the kids AND our daughter afterall.

We went to her school during lunchtime all set to party. Signed in at the admin office only to be told we can't bring the cupcakes in UNLESS it was store bought! They'd rather have a crappy store-bought cupcake eaten by kids in place of a homemade, nut-free, organic, healthy ones! Much as I explained, the admin lady was unrelenting. At this point, my hubby was already ticked off. So we left fuming. We were given the go-signal prior only to be told we can't on the party day!

This of course passed and we managed to forget about the incident until today...
THAT note states as quoted:
It is "to inform {us} of a major change between the school and the cafeteria regarding birthday celebrations" and that according to the "NC State Board of Education's policy on competitive foods, bringing treats for your child's class while lunch is being served is a violation of the policy". That "mass outside foods are in direct violation of the USDA National School lunch program and violations could result in being removed from the program and losing funds from the government".
In this regard, it continued to state that the cafeteria will...
"be more than happy to supply treats for your child for a fee". They will offer " a choice of cupcakes, ice cream cups or chocolate chip cookies. The treats will be healthier for the children."

Healthier?! How does a sugar-laden treats be healthier? And not just that, Most of the stuff they sell at the cafeteria including their lunches are store bought! AND yet, here they are, prohibiting us from bringing in store bought items! How different is that from the ones we, parents, buy at the store? This school seriously can use some Food Revolution from Jamie Oliver. This is the main reason, we cook our daughters lunch. Seriously! This is just utterly ridiculous!

Much as this note drives me insane, we know that our schools are suffering from lack of funds. But giving us crap by implementing ridiculous policy and glorifying their version of healthy food so as not to lose their funding, to me,  is just beyond unacceptable. And to say, that their "supply" is healthier just sends a very negative connotation to us parents. And no, this is not a positive change much as they want us to think it is! Rather they made me feel crappy instead!
"What does this mean to us?" - You really want to know?!
It means that you think we have no clue what healthy foods are and that we're senseless and can not provide healthy foods to our own kids. If your intention is to drive us mad, you've done an excellent job! "Yes, thank you for thinking so well of us!"
Needless to say, this has really irked me. Does your school has the same policy? Do you agree on this policy? How do you feel about it?


  1. Oh my. That's crazy!! This world is going crazy..

  2. That is seriously ridiculous. I passed a box of Cheeze-it's from the grocery store and it had a label on it saying it was a "Nutritious Snack" under the USDA school lunch program. How can a food that replaces the S for a Z be considered healthy?!

    When kiddo starts eating solid foods, I'm claiming he has allergies so he doesn't have to eat the crap his day care provides.

  3. Don't get me started on this. Our school systems and their food issues are so backwards. I send Nick with a bagged lunch to school because I can't even imagine him having to eat some of the junk they put out. We also have to use their cupcakes or nothing for birthdays. Where's Jamie Oliver when you need him?

  4. That is ridiculous! We have a no junk food policy at my children's school... no chocolate, no sticky candy-type foods (fruit rollups) as they cause cavities. It is a good policy that I support as a parent because I try and uphold that same policy in my home.

  5. Completely agree with you. Luckily we do NOT have that policy at either of my kids schools and I know the parents would never stand for it. Totally crazy!

    The Balance Beam

  6. Okie dokie. I am going to give this one a go. While I don't like the policy, I understand it. However, I have sat on so many committees at the public school level now as a parent advocate, advisor to the Superintendent, etc., that I can comment without passion overtaking me like it used to on this topic.

    All schools receive the majority of their funding from the federal government. For children who are receiving free and reduced lunches, this program gives them the opportunity to eat. Some kids only eat 2 meals a day during the school year, and both are at school. As parents, we don't want to think about children going without meals, but it's a sad fact that is very much reality.

    Competition laws are put in place that protect cafeteria sales. PTA's cannot even sell during Field Day anymore, etc. It's not been such a bad thing. It helps protect the cash coming in to the school so that they can continue to provide basics. I mean, very basic, like lunch.

    Did you know most schools have vending machines to pay the electricity bills?

    Now, the other stuff comes in from the Health Department. It filters from the feds, to the state, to the county, down to us. Our school has a BBQ sale as our "big" fundraiser. We can also guarantee ourselves at least one visit from the health department during that one day for inspection. PTA's getting inspected, go figure?

    It really is a health issue. While we might take great care cleaning our kitchens, making sure everything is clean, they cannot police that with every parent in the school. The majority of kitchens would not pass inspection if based on restaurant criteria. So, the crackdown.

    What if someone baked cupcakes, had raw egg tainted with salmonella on the counter, that wound up on the spatula they were icing the cupcake with? Someone could get very ill, or even die if their immune system was compromised.

    Guess I need to start blogging this stuff more....



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