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The Cupcake Ban By: Tom Purcell
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 28, 2006


Let me get this straight. According to The Washington Post, schools are now banning cupcakes?

That's right. What of it?

They're just cupcakes – little individual cakes wrapped in paper and coated with icing. What the heck could be wrong with a couple of lousy cupcakes?

Are you not aware, sir, that a childhood obesity epidemic is under way in America? According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overweight children between 6 and 11 doubled in the past 20 years!

Yes, there IS an obesity problem with our children. Kids are taking in way more calories than they're burning off. But how the heck did this result in a wholesale cupcake ban from many schools?

It has to do with the Child Nutrition and Reauthorization Act of 2004. Any school that receives funding from the federal lunch program is required to create a wellness policy.

A wellness policy?

Yes, each school must develop a program to promote good health. Though the government doesn't direct schools on what the programs should include, typical programs are a mix of physical education, a health curriculum, and the elimination of junk food on school grounds.

No junk foods at school?

Nope, many schools have banned sodas, cakes and candies from being sold in vending machines. Many are more cautious about the foods they serve in their cafeterias. And many are banning sweets from being used for a variety of activities, such as fundraisers.

No sweets in fundraisers! But when I was a kid, brownie sales raised lots of money for all kinds of charities. How are you going to raise money now?

Our spinach-stuffed tofu bars are starting to sell. Look, if a school body sanctions the use of sweets in any way, isn't that tantamount to teaching kids that sweets are good? Isn't that tantamount to encouraging them to eat sweets?

You're thinking too hard. One of the best teachers I had promised my fourth grade class fresh donut holes every now and then if we did well in our classroom work. We always looked forward to the reward. It provided a welcome break from our regular regimen.

He might be arrested for that today.

They're just cupcakes. As the Post points out, cupcakes stoke our nostalgia. As adults, they bring back the feelings of security and good times we enjoyed as children. Without cupcakes, what will today's kids be nostalgic about when they're adults?

Celery stalks. Look, you need to get over it. Cupcakes are being banned at schools all across America – maybe even in Texas one day.

Texas?

The rabble rousers passed the "Safe Cupcake Amendment." They say it is to protect the rights of kids and their parents to bring cupcakes to school, but I think they just like to make trouble.

Look, there is no doubt our kids are overeating, but doesn't the problem have more to with how aren't teaching good nutrition in our high-calorie society?

Sir, as an educator I cannot concern myself with what happens to kids in their homes. I control only what happens to them at school. And if I wish to keep receiving federal funding, I must do what the government tells me to do. That is why I established a wellness program, and ours bans cupcakes.

But your cupcake ban is another example of government seeking to control our behavior – another example of “do-gooders" unwittingly taking all the color and flavor and fun out of our public institutions? How can you possibly replace the cupcake?

You've obviously never tried our asparagus wraps.

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Tom Purcell's weekly political humor column runs in newspapers and Web sites across America. Visit him at www.TomPurcell.com.


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