Massachusetts, cradle of the Revolution, to ban school bake sales
You are too fat! In fact, you're not only fat, you're out of shape. Check that - you're not only fat and out of shape, but we need the government to whip our butts back into line and eat healthy, healthy healthy!
The solution? No cupcakes for you at school!
Bake sales, the calorie-laden standby cash-strapped classrooms, PTAs and booster clubs rely on, will be outlawed from public schools as of Aug. 1 as part of new no-nonsense nutrition standards, forcing fundraisers back to the blackboard to cook up alternative ways to raise money for kids.
At a minimum, the nosh clampdown targets so-called "competitive" foods - those sold or served during the school day in hallways, cafeterias, stores and vending machines outside the regular lunch program, including bake sales, holiday parties and treats dished out to reward academic achievement. But state officials are pushing schools to expand the ban 24/7 to include evening, weekend and community events such as banquets, door-to-door candy sales and football games.
Football games? Haven't been to a high school game yet where they didn't serve hot dogs and nachos. How's about some bean sprouts and alfalfa?
The Departments of Public Health and Education contend clearing tables of even whole milk and white bread is necessary to combat an obesity epidemic affecting a third of the state's 1.5 million students. But parents argue crudites won't cut it when the bills come due on athletic equipment and band trips.
"If you want to make a quick $250, you hold a bake sale," said Sandy Malec, vice president of the Horace Mann Elementary School PTO in Newtonville.
Maura Dawley of Scituate said the candy bars her 15-year-old son brought to school to help pay for a youth group trip to Guatemala "sold like wildfire." She worries the ban "would seriously affect the bottom line of the PTOs.
"The goal is to raise money," Dawley said. "You're going to be able to sell pizza. You're not going to get that selling apples and bananas. It's silly."
Silly? Since when does "silly" matter when we're talking about government?
There's nothing an obesity epidemic needs except parents who order their kids away from the computer and video games and out into the fresh air. Or find an organized sport like soccer or basketball leagues during summer and winter that the child can participate in.
Have Massachusetts parents abdicated their responsibilities to raise their kids? Of course not. And there is nothing wrong with school districts buying healthy food and preventing vendors from stocking junk - in theory. In practice, kids will bring junk food to lunch anyway.
But exerting this kind of control over kids who might occassionally munch on a cookie or cupcake is loony. It is nanny statism run wild and if I were a parent in the Bay State, I would be outraged at the interference.