8.12.2011

Par-tay! Or is it?


Some of you have been waiting for this post since I baited you on Facebook and Twitter, so here it is.

The schools in my district have decreased our holiday parties to 4 per year, they are all acceptably innocuous and called names that won't directly offend any person or their beliefs, Halloween, Winter, Spring, and End of the Year. After some changes a few years ago, one treat was allowed and a "healthy alternative" must be present. Example: If you serve cookies, you must serve water to drink and also provide carrot sticks or grapes as a healthy alternative. If you serve a drink with sugar, you cannot have a cookie and only fruits or veggies.

These parties are only allowed for students in grades K-3 and all parties are to cease at the level of 4th grade (you know, 9 year olds are grown up). Any parties from that point on are very few and in some cases none, and must relate to some sort of academic milestone (100th day of school, 3rd quarter, etc...) and are allotted 20 minutes at the end of the day to mill around and visit while music is on.

The kids spend 8+ hours a day in school and it's a hard pill for them to swallow.

Last month, our school board had a meeting and voted to eliminate all food and drinks from all school parties. This topic was not on the agenda and no one (including PTO officers) knew of the vote or the decision until it was final. Have you ever attended a party that served no food or drinks?!?

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you agree with eliminating food and drinks from school parties?

Is this a step forward to solving the childhood obesity epidemic? If it's an allergy thing, would your child with an allergy prefer to have approved food at his/her party or no food?
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20 comments :

  1. My daughter's class had a few parties last year and we were always careful about what we brought because of the allergies in the room. As long as people are bringing juice instead of soda or a simple treat instead of tons of junk, what's the big deal. They did a full Thanksgiving feast last year and an ice cream social. It was fun and was a great way to celebrate some fun milestones.

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  2. Hey Jen,

    Wow...More and more I can see why many are choosing to home school.

    This is the most asinine thing I have heard in a long time.

    Of course there is a way to have a fun party with good beverages and food, still being mindful of any health issues. It sounds like they don 't even want to try anymore...scared to death of someone being offended or made sick.

    Seems to me if simply guidelines were put in place and adhered to, a good time could be had by all.

    I am so glad my kids grew up when they did. As a child, I and my boys, attended many a school party and I can't remember one child getting sick from something they ate.....ever!

    Yes, some children have deadly allergies, but they still eat..right? Just be mindful and provide (that parent would be the perfect choice) the proper treats.

    A cupcake on Christmas does not make for an obese child, unless they eat 30.

    One more fun part of a child school memories gone by the wayside...sad.

    Janet xox

    PS...food allergy moms...please don't send me hate mail...I get the seriousness of these health issues.

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  3. I agree that parties are more fun with food...treats included...and it irritates me that schools continue to get hounded for the obesity problem...parents seem to have no responsibility in teaching their children to make good choices in their eating habits. If good choices were made 95% of the time, a party with treats wouldn't matter. And allergies are easily avoided...

    That being said...we also live in a time where people are quick to get angry, complain and even sue anyone over just about anything. So, I also understand why school districts are doing whatever they can to cover themselves. In this case...allergies...religious beliefs...obesity. If they just eliminate it all, then there are no chances of a parent finding some way to sue the school district over an occurrence at a school party....No law suits...and no angry parents making appearances on the Today show slamming the school district.

    I think it is all sad, and wish we could go back (not very many years) where kids could have fun "holiday" parties and have a break from all the monotonous school days....I just don't think that will every happen...it's probably only gonna get worse.

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  4. The "political correctness" that schools are taking on now is just SO upsetting! No CHRISTmas party? And the food? That is just crazy....Maybe a petition to have ANOTHER board meeting may be in order, so that the voices of everyone may be heard! We had a disussion about this in our Sunday School class last Sunday. It seems it only takes a complaint from ONE person to change everything....it is time that we speak up!

    Good Luck!!

    Lou Cinda :)

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  5. couldn't agree more with Janet! Talk about just another example of schools going overboard!

    Hmmmm....carrot sticks or cupcakes....I bet you come home with a plate of carrot sticks! Why not show good healthy treat options? I'm sorry, but a carrot stick ain't no treat ;) Talk about shaping their views on food--gak!

    As far as food allergies, be sensitive, but it should ultimately be the parent's responsibility to bring in something safe for their kid (and yes, I DO This for my kids..they're my responsibility, not some mom who doesn't know what or how to prep things)

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  6. I think kids should have parties at school because it gives them something fun to look forward to and helps to keep their interest in school. I also think the parties need treats and drinks because that is part of what makes it fun. It is something special. Don't we all like treats?

    I don't have a problem with the generic parties like the winter, spring, etc. I'm a Christian, but I find it funny sometimes that we want everyone else to celebrate our holidays, but we wouldn't want to celebrate theirs. I think in public schools generic celebrations are just smart. We'll do celebrate religious holidays and their meanings at home.

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  7. As a Non-theist, I agree with the generic parties. At least where I come from, we have so many diverse religious type of people that it makes sense to not celebrate specific holidays. (unless of course you want to celebrate all of them but I don't see any Yom Kippur parties happening)

    But I do think the snack thing is a bit oppressive. It's not the key to solving childhood obesity.

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  8. Breaking News: Holiday treats at school #1 cause of childhood obesity.

    Give me a break. It doesn't take a genius to see that obesity occurs with the food choices a child's parent makes outside of school the other 99% of the time these holiday parties aren't occuring.

    If certain parents have certain restrictions about what their child can and can't eat, they can send a note to the teacher, otherwise, who cares?

    I remember in second grade we had a Jewish girl in our class who's mom came in and taught us how to all make a couple different traditional Jewish foods around Hannakah,and then we got to eat them, and it was AWESOME.

    Those were the days...

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  9. Whatever happened to letting kids just be kids? Let them have the parties, let them have food and drinks. Geez. The adults need to relax!

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  10. I majored in Elementary Education and during my student teaching, I got to participate in a few class parties. I like the idea of one sweet and one non-sweet food. Kids don't need to load up on junk food anyway. And it just makes it hard on the teacher. But I definitely think there need to be parties. Kids need a break! This No Child Left Behind is taking all the fun/creative/interesting things out of school. I have a 5 month old now and by the time she starts school I think there won't be anything fun left!

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  11. Our elem school only has a winter party and an end of year party. The room reps just check in with the teacher for the details, but any and whatever treats are brought in. After all, it does not replace lunch at which time the proper choices are made.

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  12. Well, in this nanny state of being that has evolved, why don't we just swaddle our kiddies in bubble wrap at birth and not let anything touch them? Being a child from a genertion that colored outside the lines and ran with scissors, I marvel that our mothers somehow had enough common sense to raise us to maturity...and they took responsibility for our wellbeing, not leaving it to the schools. One thread I see in these comments and from blogs I follow, is there are a lot of very passionate moms (and dads) out there. Like anything else in our society you are passionate about....get involved and make that voice heard. Just because a board makes a quick, unannounced vote, does not make it immutable.

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  13. That's dumb!!! In my niece's class there's a boy with a food allergy. At the beginning of the year, when snacks and parties and what not are assigned, everyone is made aware of that allergy and plans accordingly. This whole this is just a means of pulling what little fun was left in school away. Boo I say!

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  14. I say BOO too at my school they are going to skim milk for lunches and breakfast. What happened to we need vitamin D next the kids will be breaking bones left and right. They will be trying to figure out why. Hmmm could it be your taking everything away including vitamins.

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  15. In Texas they outlawed all food in school. After a couple of week or outrage, they did allow parents to bring in store bought cupcakes for you kid's b-day and we do get to bring in food for parties. At the last party there were some things left over (crackers, cookies, juice boxes etc.) but we had to throw them out, since the teacher wouldn't be allowed to hand them out later. STUPID. I think there are so many problems in the world and in our schools that it seems really stupid that THIS is the issue people are concerned about.

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  16. I agree with almost everything that's already been said. Just wanted to add my .02.
    I don't think it's just the school rules because it's happening all over the US. It's the government making all this strict rules due to personal agendas.
    If we can take religion out of school, I think we should take the goverment too.
    OH, and I'd rather have homemade snacks than store bought. Homes don't normally stock supplies that you can't pronounce.

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  17. I'm wondering if the people who make up these uptight rules have those kind of parties when they invite their friends over. "I'm sorry Mr/Mrs Boardmember So and So, I know you are used to having a beverage and maybe a special appeitzer, maybe even a sweet treat at my home but I am cutting out all of those things for the betterment of mankkind."

    Give me a break!

    I have kids that range from 24 years old to 8 years old and I must say I have been able to see these changes take place and it is so sad to witness. I actually loath going to my younger sons parties (I use that term loosely) to watch kids sit in their seats with out laughter, music and any sort of good time at all.
    When my older kids were in school, the parties included a game of some sort, some music and general nonsense. Nobody got out of hand, nobody was offended,and believe it or not the treats they ate were the sweet kind and as parents we didn't point fingers at the treat givers thinking they were the cause of all of our childs so called problems. If the treats are now going to be carrots to keep down our obesity crisis then we better start sending carrots home with the kids. Or here's an idea; investigate what the school is serving for lunch in the cafeteria instead of what is brought into the school by a generous parent. They serve sugar and fat with every lunch, but let's make sure we don't make a sugar treat a special thing to celebrate a special occasion!

    Sorry, I could go on and on, I do understand that schools are trying to cover their butts but honestly, why take it out on the kids?
    4 "parties" with generic names, no snacks, and no games... can that really be called a party?
    It's too bad that all of the fun has to be sucked out of the littlest pleasures of childhood by grown-ups that actually got to have parties when they were children... have they forgotten what it was like to bea child?
    O.k. I'll stop now... this is just so sad to me.
    t. xoxo

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  18. When my older son started elementary school, there were 4 classroom parties - Halloween, Winter, Spring, and End of year. Reindeer paper plates were allowed at the winter party, and bunny crafts were allowed at the spring party. By 5th grade, the winter party had to be all snowmen and snowflakes with no acknowledgement of Christmas and the spring party was moved up to Valentine's Day for no possible mention of Easter.

    I thought these changes were asinine. We have a cultural corner in the school with many displays of various cultures and religions. We had mothers who could come in and discuss Hannukah, Ramadan, or Kwanzaa, but there could be no mention of Christmas. Still it was what it was.

    Last year when my younger son entered Kindergarten, I was shocked to find that there was no longer a Halloween party. It was an Autumn party now. There could be no mention of Halloween. Seriously? Previously, children who's parents didn't want them participating in the Halloween party, could opt out. They would go to the library for a separate autumn party. It was usually about 20 kids total for the whole school. No costumes? No Kindergarten parade? No bat crafts or Halloween Bingo? Grrrr.

    As to the allergy concerns, as a room mom, we receive a list of students with allergies in the beginning of the year and have always worked around the food allergy with no problem at all. With a child who is gluten-free, I am very much cognizant of cross contamination and it's never been a problem. And as for the obesity epidemic. 4 cupcakes a year is not going to make anyone fat. Sitting in front of a screen all day will.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Mama Thompson had some interesting points. Everyone is just so quick to complain and in many cases, sue.

    I think this is twofold. It's some administrator's idea that this will help stop unhealthy food while at the same time trying to be PC for the different student demographics. But Neither makes much sense.

    Call the party what you want, but let the kids have their fun.

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  20. That is absolutely ridiculous. How is it a party without food? Food is a big part of the party being a treat for the kids: they get to have snacks that they probably (hopefully) don't eat often, and to be silly with their classmates.

    I can't believe they're stopping the parties at Grade 4, too! Or at least controlling them like that. We even had parties/potlucks in high school! Though I think that was more of an excuse for the teachers to be fed for free...

    xx

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