The Cherry Hill Courier Post reports that the Ocean Township School Board has adopted a policy prohibiting students from bringing in cupcakes, brownies, and other baked goods to celebrate their birthdays in the lower grades. According to Christopher Lommerin, students will still be able to celebrate the day with classmates — the new policy focuses on crafts and games — but the new policy eliminates the longstanding practice of parents bringing in snacks, even healthy ones, for a birthday celebration in the classroom.
While parents acknowledge the policy was put in place in part to address the problem of student food allergies, some agree with school board member Jacqueline Von Schmidt’s suggestion that an alternative to totally eliminating birthday food items could be found. While the superintendent indicated that he was willing to discuss a possible compromise position, he said, ”I’m willing to talk about it further, but last year it was out of hand. There was food everywhere, and how do you control that when you have 8 percent of your population with food allergies?” The article also notes school officials’ concerns about sending a mixed message about childhood obesity by allowing sugary treats in school.
Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post, 9/22/10, By Bob Vosseller
[Editor's Note: NSBA's School Health Programs has announced that registration is now open for a free webcast on food allergies and schools that it is producing in partnership with the Missouri School Boards Association’s Education Solutions Global Network. Food Allergies and Schools: Keeping Students Safe and Ready to Learn will provide valuable information and insight to school board members, superintendents, and other administrators, as well nurses, teachers and all those who play essential roles in carrying out the policies and practices that keep all students safe and ready to learn.
The webcast will feature a comprehensive panel of presenters, such as national-level experts and legal counsel, school board members and other critical school personnel, and parents and students. Among the topics to be discussed:
• Why you should act to address food allergies in schools;
• What parents and students with life-threatening food allergies experience and need;
• How food allergies have been successfully addressed by schools and recommendations for concrete policy and practice actions; and
• Where you can find additional resources to help you get started in enacting your own plans.
This multimedia program will be broadcast by ESGN (www.esgn.tv) – the Missouri School Boards Association’s production brand. Support for the webcast is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food Allergies and Schools: Keeping Students Safe and Ready to Learn will take place on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 from 2-3:30 EST, and is free but registration is required. To register, click here.]