An elementary school in the outer suburbs of Atlanta has outlawed birthday cupcakes, cookies and, in fact, all food from birthday parties over fears that some kids with food allergies could feel sad and left out.
Officials at Brooks Elementary School in Newnan, Ga. announced the draconian new policy for the upcoming school year via a letter to parents, reports The Newnan Times-Herald.
“When parents have brought in goodies for birthdays, oftentimes these children are not included in the snack because of dietary restrictions and have felt left out,” Julie Raschen, principal of Brooks Elementary, said, according to the Times-Herald. “Parents can still send in treats for their child’s birthday, we just ask that they not be food items.”
Raschen claimed that upwards of 10 percent of the students at the school have suffered from all manner of food allergies to foods ranging from peanuts to gluten to blueberries.
“This is a school-based decision due to the high number of students with significant allergies at Brooks,” she explained.
While allergy concerns are important, the principal equally stressed fairness concerns. Thus, the cupcake ban will treat every student fairly by ensuring that no students receive cupcakes.
“Although our first priority above all else is the safety of our students, we are also trying to create an environment in which all students feel included and not singled out,” Raschen told the local newspaper. “So both safety and a positive environment for all students were the reasons for this change.”
A school district spokesman said the new policy will not apply to various holiday celebrations. It’s not clear why kids with allergies will presumably be left out of those events.
Raschen stressed that the policy is not a response to new guidelines under the Hunger-Free Kids Act which prevent bake sales and the sale of many kinds of food at all schools taking associated federal funding. (RELATED: Michelle Obama Policy Axes Cupcake Fundraiser For WWII Vets)
At the same time, the principal noted, Brooks Elementary will, indeed ban all such food sales.
Earlier this summer, a school district in the suburbs of Seattle also banned birthday cakes. School officials in Edmonds, Wash. said the ban is part of a broader set of wellness and nutrition policies that dovetails with the new federal wellness guidelines. (RELATED: School District Looks To Birthday Cakes For New And Exciting Thing To Ban)
Banning things out of fear that kids’ feelings might be hurt has been a common theme at public schools around the country. For example, in May, officials at an affluent Rhode Island middle school sent a letter to parents explaining that a traditional honors night had been eliminated because rewarding students who do well is “exclusive.” Later, in the face of withering national ridicule, the school reinstituted the honors night. (RELATED: School That Banned Honors Night For Being Too ‘Exclusive’ Decides Not To Be National Laughingstock)
Also in May, a Michigan elementary school sternly warned parents that their children should not try to win any of the events held at the school’s field day. (RELATED: Grade School Field Day Flyer Warns Parents: “Competitive Urge To Win Will Be Kept To A Minimum’)