Continuing the great “Trick or Toast” debate where second-graders were served toast and cream cheese as opposed to candy last Halloween, we asked our Oak Lawn Patch Facebook fans how they felt about cake and candy being served at their children’s Valentine’s Day school parties.
We garnered plenty of comments from readers with children in Oak Lawn schools. Here are a few of their responses, including two of the “toast” moms from Oak Lawn-Hometown Dist 123:
Jacqui Cook Podzius: “NEVER! We got a reminder in the letter home about the party that all treats must conform to the healthy guidelines or they would be sent home. Of course it's that one cupcake at a school party that's responsible for a kid being overweight, not the crap he or she eats at home, right?”
Carole Masse Nemec: “I am sure some of the school food guidelines have to do with allergies. As a mom of a toddler with a severe peanut allergy, I am happy about treat guidelines. This means I can still send my child to public school.”
Lisa Harvey Campbell: “My kid was one on the lucky kids in the classroom that had toast for their party. Ridiculous!! These are flippin’ class ‘parties’, give them party food!!! It can still be peanut free......”
Courtney Hlavach: “Yes my kid was at the ‘toast party’ as well. I do feel that we should watch out for kids allergies but there are plenty of things out there that all kids can have besides toast with cream cheese!! This year I believe we agreed on sugar cookies that they are going to decorate.”
Aldo Quinones: “D123 is a wonderful school district...if serving kids toast during a party is our biggest concern, then kudos to Dr. Fessler...I love Patch, but this story is just silly.”
Ridgeland School Dist. 122 has boiled holiday celebrations down to the last 30 minutes of the school day where kids will exchange Valentine’s Day cards and maybe even a candy heart or two emblazoned with “Be Mine.” While the district is prohibited from distributing food in class other than what is served in the cafeteria during the normal course of the school day, parents are allowed to bring individually wrapped edible items.
“We encourage non-edible items for student celebrations,” D122 Superintendent Tom Smyth said. “We’ve got a list that we shoot out to parents, including little games or novelty items, things like that.”
Lilly Baldwin, the school nurse at D122’s Columbus-Manor Elementary School, says you can never be too careful, especially with the rise of food and peanut allergies in children.
“Soy is used as an ingredient in a lot more foods, which can come from peanuts,” Baldwin said. “If a kid has food allergies, we make sure mom supplies safe snacks in the classroom for snack time. And we make sure teachers and the school nurse know about allergies.”
A new state law now allows schools to carry epinephrine auto-injectors, medical devises that are used to the injection of epinephrine, the first-line treatment for allergic emergencies.
“Even doctors don’t know really know why we’ve seen this so-called rise in food allergies,” Baldwin said. “Maybe people had them all along and we just weren’t as vigilant. In schools we don’t question why. Our job is to take proactive steps in keeping kids safe.”
Given our trepidations about childhood obesity and food allergies, are we as a society, becoming too overly concerned about the occasional cupcake or piece or candy, or should we continue to encourage the ban on candy and treats in school classrooms?