(Not So) Sweet Celebrations

An “06880” reader attended yesterday’s 5th grade graduation at Green’s Farms Elementary. When he was not riveted by the proceedings, he chatted with parents and teachers. One of the topics was a recent note sent from school district administrators, noting that cupcakes and sweets will no longer be allowed at birthday celebrations.

The alert reader writes:

While I am absolutely in favor of the move — for many reasons — it was pointed out that our friends at Great Cakes would now lose a big chunk of their business.

As a huge proponent of local merchants, this concerns me. I hope our friends at Great Cakes can figure out how to make up for the lost revenue. Maybe through creative marketing (“Birthdays just wouldn’t be the same without Great Healthy Cupcakes!”).

He also wonders if “06880” readers have any ideas for Great Cakes (or its sweet competitors). Click “Comments” (and send samples to me).

Is this the future for Bonnie and Rick at Great Cakes?

85 responses to “(Not So) Sweet Celebrations

  1. Another Great Example of smart people, (administrators) being really stupid.

  2. Westport Convert

    I have must call out this “alert reader” and his or her approval of the decision. How foolish can you be? This could be quite possibly one of the most asinine decisions I have ever heard of by school administrators in Westport.

    This is absolutely ridiculous and a super example of administrators butting in where they should. If parents want to bring cupcakes to their child’s birthday, they should have every right to. It is public school. Our tax money pays those administrator’s salaries.

    Dan – if you could please get a hold of the letter announcing their decision (and the reasoning) and then post it to your blog as a follow up, I’d appreciate it.

    • Westport Convert

      Excuse me. *…butting in where they SHOULDN’T

      • I’m going to send my kid with cigarettes for their birthday next year to share. No school administrator is going to stop me from that. I pay their salary. See how stupid you sound?

  3. Nick Thiemann

    We are asking a lot of our kids to lose some weight. Cupcakes for someone’s birthday every two weeks undermines good intentions. It may seem trivial to some but it will break the back of kids trying not to be fat.

    • It will seem trivial to anyone with a lick of sense or an appreciation of childhood.

  4. While I love Great Cakes, Westport has had a rather long standing (although mostly ignored) Town Wide Health and Wellness Policy -http://www.westport.k12.ct.us/media/policies/combined_health_and_wellness_policy_and_regs_for_website.pdf, saying that (in a nutshell) celebrations shouldn’t revolve around food.

    Last time I checked, there were plenty of kids parties going on every weekend at many other local stores. Maybe Great Cakes can partner with some of the local kid centered stores around town…

    I, for one, am thrilled that the town has finally agreed to begin enforcing their policy, and I can only hope that the teachers will be able to have those precious extra minutes for education.

    • Westport Convert

      And you are incorrectly assuming that those school birthday celebrations are centered around food.

      I would always bring in cupcakes for my children’s birthday party, but the party did not “revolve around” food. It revolved around the child.

      Please get off your health-nut high horse.

      • Thumbs up! I am so happy about this decision. Sugar is toxic and we should be teaching our children to eat well. It has nothing to do with being a health nut — it has to do with teaching our children to eat well in order to be healthy. Additionally, birthday celebrations with food take away from instruction time.

  5. Westport Parent

    I think the intent of this policy is good, but the implementation of the policy bad. I believe that the celebrations definitely get excessive when every kid has to have a little party, and that we do need to be a bit more on target in teaching about nutrition even at an early age, even if only by simple examples.

    So why not switch instead to monthly birthday celebrations for all the kids with birthdays for that period — that cuts down on the sweets, which is what this policy is really aimed at. And August and July birthdays can be included too — do June and July together, August and September together. At most that is 10 times versus 20 or so.

    Finally, with regard to the issue of Great Cakes, do I really care if bakeries lose business? That is no way to make policy decisions.

  6. It's about time!

    We are not the only town doing this, in fact, many many towns nationwide are trying to support what most health professionals around the country are very worried about, childhood obesity.

    Can’t we get a little more creative and celebrate our children’s birthday’s by letting them have 10 extra minutes of recess (or story time for younger kids). Kids expect cupcakes in class because that’s what they know. We, as the parents need to change what their expectations are.

    Here’s an article about another town that’s done the same thing.
    http://news.yahoo.com/no-cupcakes-school-policy-battles-childhood-obesity-224400658.html

  7. DIANE HANLON

    Danny,
    I also grew up in that little town, attending Burr Farms, Coleytown Jr. and Staples. How did we all ever survive our childhoods in the Westport school system? We all had the cupcakes and treats that the mothers would bring for their kids birthdays, and not one of us got sick or died from them. What is this world coming to? I am so glad I left Westport and all the BS that went with it.

  8. So if i understand correctly, birthday celebrations are the cause of childhood trending obesity. Give this issue to a couple of Staples students and solve this problem for real. They would be better off putting the school bus drop off a half mile from the school.

    Better yet, ask Great Cakes for special BDay cupcakes that are healthier than the great ones thay already sell.

    The town banned plastic bags (i’m glad) why not ban birthday celebrations too! (i’m sad). Get serious. Surf’s Up!

  9. ucanthaveyoucakeandeatit

    maybe the compromise could be if you kid walks to school they can have a cup cake.

  10. Wow, and I thought that everyone made their own cupcakes for the birthday celebrations. I would never dream of buying them from a store!
    Westport Mom

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, sadly most of child rearing has been farmed out these days.

    • Jack Whittle

      We at the Whittle house still make cupcakes and frost them for these birthday celebrations (no offense to the purveyors of cupcakes, but seriously it’s pretty basic – suggest the upper crust ask the nanny to get on it) – that is, we used to. Saw the same email yesterday and thought they were attacking the problem from the wrong angle – the kids need to exercise more, not eat less sweets (I believe every child is entitled to some reasonable amount of cookies, candy, cupcakes or ice cream if they have eaten a proper meal, but I know that’s old school thinking.)

  11. HealthySweets

    Great Cakes -challenge yourself to create healthier versions of your recipes that taste just as good but without the refined sugars, flour, and even dairy. It can be done. A friend of mine just started bonniefoods.com. She’s figured out how to make amazingly tasty sweets that cater to type 2 diabetics, vegans and people with gluten-free diets that’s all natural and healthy!

    • Probably given the problems with obesity Great Cakes should perhaps branch out to sell more healthy options… The kindergarteners won’t know the difference (unless their parents make it one!) — and btw Coley El has been celebrating birthdays without a food option for years with no complaints! Great Cakes and those who live in the past — time to join the 21st century!

      • Westport Convert

        Or perhaps you should allow consumers to make their own choices.

        • Longtime Westporter

          Are you a “convert” from some other part of the country? If so, when in Rome do as the Romans do. There are administrators in Westport trying to help the obesity epidemic, and I’m very proud of them! Small steps but sugar IS toxic and very addictive.

  12. Here’s a thought…………Give the little Rug Rats and Ankle Biters more time for Recess and Gym Class so they can run around and get some excercise and burn off those calories.

    Banning Cupcakes is just plain asinine!

  13. I like Westport Mom’s idea – bunch the kids’ birthdays together once a month. Isn’t that the best compromise?
    ( I never once had treats at school for my birthday. Was I deprived?)

  14. Shame on our BofE to start this. Why don’t they spend more time on saving the town money then hurting our local stores. I guess you can call this the Bloomberg effect. Big brother trying to tell us how to live our lives. Humbug.

    • Tired of inane comments

      Exciting! Bart Simpson reads Dan’s blog, 06880. Or at least it sounds like him.

  15. Westport Convert

    Big Brother? More like a Communist Nation. “Big Brother” is just too nice.

    If any of the parents could be kind enough to post the letter from the school administrators, I would like to see that. As taxpayers we should be able to have a say in such crudely-enforced, widespread policies as this one.

    Let’s just ban whole birthday celebrations while we are at it. Ridiculous.

  16. Happywestportmom

    I applaud the school’s decision to make birthday celebrations foodless. Can’t we celebrate something without food–especially junk? The school is a place where children should learn healthy values–including nutrition. Our children are being given the wrong message by associating high sugar, high fat treats while celebrating a life. I fear that if we keep it up- we’d see an even bigger rise in already alarming rate of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. We are preserving our kids’ mental and physical health with this step in the right direction. And I second the motion to have the kids run around for an extra ten minutes at recess instead of stuffing a cupcake in their mouths. Only good things could come of it.

    • Westport Convert

      If the schools are to recognize birthday celebrations, the parents of those children have the right to bring in a cupcake for their child – or all of the kids, if they wish. We are not talking about peanuts or a bomb for goodness sakes. It is a treat.

      So the school is permitted to ban cupcakes but has the authority to determine how a child can celebrate their birthday? Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

  17. What's next, apple pie?!

    The Letter is pasted below, less the Westport Public Seal on the original:

    “Westport Public Schools
    Coleytown Elementary School Greens Farms Elementary School Kings Highway Elementary School
    LongLots Elementary School Saugatuck Elementary School

    Birthday Celebrations

    Starting at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, food items will no longer be part of the birthday celebrations in all elementary schools. A number of reasons including loss of instructional time and health concerns related to food including allergies and diabetes have prompted this change.

    We recognize that birthdays are a special day for our students and want to be sure to continue to honor them at school. Children’s birthdays will still be celebrated in class with the classroom teacher acknowledging the birthday and the opportunity for parents to be involved through a variety of activities that the children can enjoy. You can expect to hear more at back to school night and from your child’s teacher.

    As always thank you for supporting us in our efforts to keep students healthy and ready to learn.

    Thank you,

    Janna Bell, John Bayers, Susie Da Silva, Rex Jones, Julie Droller”

    I know the Superintendent said it was up to the individual elementary school principals, who obviously worked together to form their new policy.
    I wouldn’t mind if they consolidate birthdays into a monthly occasion as suggested above.
    However, an all-out ban seems excessive, what’s next Halloween?!
    As for these health nut moms advocating and cheering this, how about we take away your chardonnay?

  18. How about all of you parents start teaching healthy eating at home first and your kids won’t over indulge when these “evil sweets” are around. Teach them discipline and stop ruining their childhood!

  19. Make ’em weigh in. Overweight = no cup cakes. 🙂

  20. Fred Cantor

    Does anyone know when the practice of having birthday celebrations in the classroom started? I do not recall any such celebrations in my elementary school in Queens or Westport (after I moved here in 1963). Birthday parties were held at home. There have been some very positive changes in the classroom in the past few decades but having birthday parties at school is not one of them in my opinion.

    • Those of us who went to Catholic school in the 1960s only celebrated one birthday with the class–and it occurred on Dec. 25.

  21. It is not the Westport Public School System’s responsibility to make sure that a bakery stays in business. It is its responsibility to educate children, including educating them about health and lifestyle decisions. I don’t think that it is appropriate to link this Great Cakes. It is more appropriately placed in a larger context of the food in our schools and how it affects (positively or negatively) the youth in our country.
    -Health Education Advocate

  22. This policy is advocated by the food Nazis who went home and belted back a few adult beverages to celebrate their victory. The policy came about because a few loud mouth cranks harassed school officials until they got their way. It is ever thus in the Westport Schools sytem; those who complain the loudest and become the most annoying are rewarded.

    If you don’t want your kid to mot eat cupcakes or any other food, teach them to abstain; why ruin the party for everyone else?

    • Excuse me, but birthday celebrations don’t belong in school. That’s what parties and family celebrations are for. If you want your child’s birthday to be celebrated then throw a party for him or her. I for one think that our children need to learn in school rather than spend 20 or 30 minutes celebrating a birthday with sugary treats. Now, if we could only get the town to do away with Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Halloween parties during class time.

  23. Yes, I am sure it is that one birthday cupcake every few weeks which is making a small minority of Westport kids fat…. better not check out what is in the rest of the lunchbox.

  24. What's next, apple pie?!

    I’m all for eating healthy in school, how about we start with what’s passed off as cafeteria food in the elementary schools.
    In the quest to serve ‘healthy’ lunch the kids get something that’s not even close to appetizing and ends up in the garbage can.
    Before we ban cupcakes or any other food at birthday celebrations a couple times a month, why don’t we try to fix the food they eat on a daily basis?
    And that doesn’t mean giving them carrot sticks or serving up some bland, but ‘healthy’ food they won’t eat.
    There needs to be balance and common sense, not edicts.

  25. Gary Singer

    Dan, you’ve done it again.You wrote this with at least half a tongue in cheek. Only in Westport can you get 35-40 people debating over kids eating cup cakes. I’ll join a debate if someone wants to outlaw Pizza.

  26. Cupcake eater weighs in

    These comments are fascinating and reveal an abundance of ignorance that would be readily cured by reading the CDC statistics on children and mortality and by attending even ONE of the district-wide, quarterly meetings about the school’s wellness policy. If you are upset about this decision by all means contact the assistant superintendent, Nancy Harris, and “weigh in” like the “cranky” parents you complain about. This policy has been in print in the Westport school district for YEARS, having nothing to do with the efforts of any parents, cranky or otherwise. It’s just now being better enforced. At least the “cranky” parents got off the couch and attended multiple meetings and advocated for something they had researched, and thought carefully about. You?
    And by the way, nothing prevents you from continuing your all out assault on your child’s health in the privacy of your own home instead of using everyone else’s tax dollars to interrupt education and foist your sugary, food-dyed “treats” on the entire class. The argument that children should have the self control to opt-out makes me question how familiar you are with the EPIDEMIC of obesity and type 2 diabetes in our country. Where do you suppose those behaviors started? The real crime is that the concerned parents who advocated for ALL our children are made to feel ashamed. Get informed before you wage your war against those who self-lessly volunteered their time. Maybe if you researched the merits of the information first hand you’d be more sympathetic? Why not try and see?

  27. Cupcakes. Food Nazis. Economics. Three terms that are terribly incongruous in a community blog and profoundly disappointing to read lumped together. Bottom line is: I send my children to school daily to LEARN, a process which is frequently interrupted, sometimes 2-3 times a week, by birthday celebrations with foods that they can’t even eat. I am one of many conscientious parents who cares about what fuels my children’s bodies. “Anonymous”, you made a gross generalization to claim that the people who care the most and have done significant research went home and drank to celebrate! You might want to look at your own practices. Go ahead and eat whatever you like in your own home, I will not and do not proselytize. I’ve educated my kids. They have no problem not eating the ‘treats’ frequently brought in, because they know better and have stellar “discipline”, so you call it. I call it healthy eating habits. For kids who have life threatening food allergies, are they supposed to continuously sit by and watch as kids pig out on 2 inch high frosting and then can’t sit still for the rest of the day? All in lieu of learning? Not in my book. My kids have a wonderful childhood, but thanks for your concern. Thankfully they have healthy associations to other meaningful activities and actions, aside from a cupcake piled high with sugar.

    • No one is forcing your kids to eat anything. “In lieu of learning”; you don’t want to open that can of worms. Many activities take place in the Westport Schools in lieu of learning. Each activity has a constituency.

      You don’t proselytize? You must be kidding.

  28. Westport Convert

    This argument is shifting to the health nuts vs. cupcake eaters. Instead, let us focus on the real issue here. The issue of the school being able to “ban” a snack on a child’s birthday.

    If the schools are continuing to acknowledge birthdays, then I should be allowed to bring a cupcake to my child, on his or her special day. It’s that simple. Now if the schools chose to ban birthday celebrations all together, this would be a different story.

    • John McCarthy

      Which part of the Constitution gives a parent the right to bring cupcakes to class to celebrate a birthday? Just curious. And shocked that people care this much about this issue.

      • Westport Convert

        1st, 9th, and 10th.

      • What's next, apple pie?!

        What part of the Constitution says I MUST buy health insurance.
        Just curious.

        • Westporter

          The part where Congress has the right to tax us so that I don’t have to pay for YOUR visits to the emergency room since you have chosen to wing it and not buy health insurance.

  29. No cupcakes for the little kids, but Staples serves pizza and other junk as well as sugary drinks! And cookies etc….

  30. Happywestportmom

    Serving pizza and sugary drinks is exactly a reason to keep unhealthy snacks out of the classroom. If kids are consuming the school lunch program, they are already over exposed to unhealthy nutritional choices in our schools. If we can at least start controlling the over-exposure to unhealthy choices in the classroom, we have somewhere to start. Hopefully we will get the schools to re-evaluate their contracts with Chartwells and select more health minded options for our children in the future.

    It amazes me that an “educated community” still thinks it’s a good idea encourage obesity unhealthy relationships with food by offering this junk in the classroom. I would have expected more from Westport.

    • Westport Convert

      For what it is worth, and I know you weren’t directly addressing me, I can assure you that I do not think it is a “good idea” to encourage bad eating habits. How incredibly presumptuous of you.

      Your philosophy of “controlling the over-exposure,” however, scares me more than childhood obesity. The last thing I want is the school telling me what I can or cannot give my child to eat.

      We are talking about the public schools; a taxpayer funded system — not a private institution. We should not be stripped of our individual rights, as our children’s personal food choices harm NO ONE ELSE (allergen exposure notwithstanding).

      Your way of operating would go over well in China, though. I suggest you take a visit.

      • Just have the kids party at home if cupcakes are that important to you…

        • Westport Convert

          As I have been saying this entire time, it’s not the cupcake. It’s the principle of the matter.

          If the schools chose to ban birthday celebrations completely, I personally would have no issue. But my issue is the choice to continue celebrations yet choose to ban a sugary treat that the child should have the right to (if he or she wishes to).

          • Longtime Westporter

            Westport Convert, you probably also think that you have a right to tear down a very special antique home in Westport because the only person’s rights that matter are your’s! If you are truly a new convert to Westport, why come in with such a chip on your shoulder?

  31. Westport Old Guard

    I like the once a month birthday celebration. And Great Cakes, don’t change a thing, you are a bakery and your are a stable source of where to get all things good. This is not about Great Cakes this is about neurotic parenting gone bad.

    How about making your child walk to school, as we did when we were kids? We lived on a bus-route and we still walked. And had school birthday parties. And ate cake and ice cream. And didn’t get fat from it. If you have an obese child, I’d look to the ways the child is being entertained at home. I’m guessing here that it’s in front of a computer or TV. The school is not Big Brother. We had allergies, we had dietary restrictions- certain students had them and they just lived by them.

    Westport schools have become this syrupy, “we’re all winners here, no one loses. here’s a medal for being the best healthy cupcake eater, you’re a champ” society. Brought on by Stepford wives afraid their husbands will leave them for a younger prettier version. Everything MUST BE PERFECT.

  32. Wow the comments from those opposing the new policy are really missing the point. If parents want to feed their kids cupcakes or other junk foods on their birthday or have parties with their friends, that is their prerogative. However, to have these parties on school time makes no sense. It leaves the parents who choose NOT to feed their children such foods in a very unconfortable situation where they must eather a: break with their principles and allow their child to eat the “junk” or b: disallow it and have their child feel left out of the fun. Clearly neither optionis ideal, so the decision to feel children unhealthy foods should be made outside the classroom on respective family’s own time. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate birthdays without serving junk food come on! Well done Westport.

  33. Cathy Cupcake

    I have been on the Food Advisory/Health and Wellness Committee since it’s beginning in 2001 and I think from the comments above, you can see why it was so difficult for the committee and administration to finally come down on one side of the cupcake dilemma.after discussing it every single year. (When I went to bed last night there were 51 comments and now it;’s down to 44, odd). Here are a few facts: Coleytown El has been functioning with no-cupcake birthdays for at least 5 years with no ill effects or required therapy for children. They do all sorts of creative things for birthdays and will be sharing their ideas with the other Elementary schools. At the other Els, many teachers already celebrate birthdays once a month and some individuals specify what can be used to celebrate. Over the years, the committee and administration felt that each school culture (admin/parents/teachers) could decide what was best for its school. Because of this decision, and after MANY spirited discussions just like the above, , there is currently no specific wording about birthday cupcakes in our policy. There IS specific wording about using food as an educational incentive and that has been difficult to stamp out.

    Over the years, cultural norms change (witness seatbelts, smoking, designated drivers) and I have seen the shift in many parents’ support away from my beloved cupcakes toward other birthday options. This,, coupled with the remarkable increase in food allergies in the El population and many new Elementary Principals, has made this time the sensible time to make a specific policy across the schools. Foods will continue to be used when involved with the curriculum such as Thanksgiving re-enactments or International Foods’ Day, etc.

    Addressing the coments regarding our school food in general: There are no sugary drinks anywhere in our schools, even Staples. There are no trans fats, no fried food except for French fries at SHS (and now sweet potato fries). All our bread products, rolls, pizza crust, chicken breading, french toast and pasta are whole wheat. Fresh fruit is in our cafeterias. Both middle schools have fresh salad bars and there are chicken, turkey and vegetarian tacos available, along with house made nut-free hummus at all schools with soy milk, hormone free milk, yogurt and yogurt and granola parfaits. We’ve reduced the cookie size at the middle schools (lots of kid swaking at that!) and they use as much locally grown, fresh food as they can find.

    Notice of our meetings is posted on the town meeting schedulel and all members of the public are welcome to observe. We are an advisory committee so do not make the final policies, but the majority of us feel that the Administration has, all in all, made a good decision for the majority.of our children. I am trying to chnage my mind set that a celebration does not have to be about food and it’s about the celebration!

    • Cathy Cupcake,
      Has the committee considered banning food from the Halloween parties, Christmas parties, Valentine’s Day parties, end of school year parties? It seems like the school district should ban food at these celebrations as well or else limit food to fruit and vegetables.

      • Westport Convert

        Happy Mom,

        Have you considered moving to North Korea or China and leaving Westport, Connecticut, America, etc.?

        It seems like your crude views on controlling personal consumption, through a public entity and/or administration, would fit in perfectly.

        • If you follow the logic of the no food dictate, then no food should be served at ANY school functions, afterall some kid might eat a cookie. If the rule is no food, then let’s make it comprehensive and not be hypocritical. No food at Field Day, etc.,etc.

      • What's next, apple pie?!

        My kids are allergic to fruits and vegetables, unless they’re 100% organic, fair-trade picked local and shipped in eco-friendly 100% recyclable cartons and not imported from any third world country with insecticides sprayed on them.
        Shouldn’t my and my child’s demands be met? If not, why?

        So do you see how ridiculous this becomes? Unless your a big government nanny advocate that feels you know best for everyone, therefore you should decide what’s best for all.

      • Yes, there is already a policy in place, (see earlier post with a link to the Town wide Wellness policy) that says there should be NO food for celebrations…

    • You need to take a better look at the food at Staples – Pizza (whole wheat crust doesn’t make it a healthy food) pastas, cookies and desserts, drink selection. But you’ve “reduced the cookie size” and some is “locally grown”, so it makes it all PC.

  34. Childless Cathy

    Whatever happened to celebrating birthdays at home with the family or a small gathering of friends? Or is this part of the “celebrate children” movement that David McCullough Jr. spoke about in his graduation speech earlier this month? Yes, I know I am a dinosaur.

    • Westport Convert

      My issue is with the schools continuing to celebrate the birthdays but banning a cupcake. Since when can the taxpayer funded schools dictate what I can and can’t bring my child on their special day, provided it is not harming anyone else?

      For years in Westport we did this, and it was not a problem. Now – all of a sudden – this “Committee” of holier than thou housewives can influence the administration and their decisions? Something smells rotten if you ask me.

      • Voice of Reason

        I am not sure your rude comment even deserves the tiniest of replies, but I will reiterate what has been stated above many times: you are able to determine what to feed YOUR child, at home or at school (barring some highly allergic foods in some situations). What is being curtailed is what you are permitted to feed the other children. Send your kid in with an enormous cupcake on his or her birthday or on any other day, but you will no longer be able to decide what the rest of the class is served, as it IS harming our children over all.

        • What's next, apple pie?!

          Voice of Reason, Your same argument can be made for fruits and vegetables. Why should my child feel forced to like your damn carrot and celery sticks as all the kids are forced to pretend and believe they’re tasty and a real treat.
          See what I wrote above about 100% organic.

          • Voice of Reason

            Where exactly did anyone say they were foisting vegetables or anything else on your child? Where did I say anything about carrots and celery? You make absolutely no sense.

      • Tired of the brouhaha

        Ugh, another poster who has to make disparaging comments about people who disagree with him/her. I’m so tired of these diatribes. As Rodney King asked, “Can’t we all get along?”

  35. Involved Parent

    A few things:

    1. Yes – this policy was SUPPOSED to be in place but teachers were each handling it differently. That has it’s own complications. There needs to be uniformity in order for kids to feel like the system is “fair”. It is the school Principals who are in the buildings every day that finally agreed to put a stop to this – not the Board of Ed.

    2. No one is saying that having cupcakes on birthdays in school is the reason that kids are obese, however, when parents are making the effort to educate and feed their kids in a more healthful way, it does undermine that effort. Plus, it was not restricted to birthdays – there always seemed to be a reason why they were having treats at school.

    3. There is much more evidence now than there was when we were growing up about the harmful effects of sugar on kids brains and bodies. Why should the school system promote that? It is inconsistent with what they are learning in their health classes. Children are getting sicker at earlier ages at an alarming rate much more so than we did. There is nothing wrong with the school system being part of the solution rather than the problem.

    4. No one is saying you can’t give your kids cupcakes at home – very often the food celebration in school is in ADDITION to an at home celebration.

    5. The public is welcome to attend the town’s Food/Health and Wellness Committee meetings that are held a few times a year – they are open to all and people can give their input there as well as get an understanding of the issues at hand.

    6. By the way, the school lunches HAVE gotten alot healthier AND the sales have increased! Have you read through an elementary school menu recently? Do you even have kids in elementary school??

    7. Incidentally, it is the PARENTS that will probably be most upset with this change – the kids will roll with it for the most part and will be fine – unless of course their parents choose to brain wash them about how bad the administration is for making efforts to help keep them healthy. Ask the parents at Colertown El which has had the policy in place for years.

    Finally, there is no need for vitriol and spewing of nasty comments in a community blog. It is a forum for people to express themsleves and to hear the comments of others. We would all create a better example for our kids if we spoke our mind in a civil way and opened our ears to the other side of the issue to learn what was behind the decision.

  36. Cathy Cupcake

    Dear Westport Convert, The schools are not dictating what you put in your child’s lunch box on any of their special days. They are asking that you don’t provide it to others as it CAN harm them; nut, egg, wheat, dairy, gluten allergies to name a few.
    Our committee of “holier than thou housewives” usually has at least one practicing nutritionist or pediatrician and/or professional chef who specializes in healthful eating on it each year. They have volunteered and been voted on by their school’s PTAs to represent their parent population and they communicate with their parents throughout the year. The parents asked for this committee to be created and we are grateful for an administration and food service company (Chartwells) who listen to us most of the time…Somehow we never got our sushi bar or warmed syrup for pancakes.. I”M KIDDING!! If you have a child in the school system, feel free to volunteer for a 2 year rotation on this committee and you can sniff for yourself.
    Do we need to change the subject and have a discussion about why “housewives” has become a pejorative term?

    • Westport Convert

      Cathy,

      Fair enough. I thank you for the thoughtful response. If my kids were younger, I certainly would volunteer.

      That certainly won’t stop me from encouraging kids to enjoy their special days however they wish, though. Even if it includes those “sugary treats” that scare the heck out of health nuts everywhere. For shame!

      Westport Convert

  37. It’s not vitriol. We enjoy FOOD FIGHTS here at 06880 where we can release our inner selves. We’ll applaud each other in the next post. Hang around. You’re already in the game with your caustic remarks 🙂

  38. Dr. Johnson

    As a science teacher, I feel privileged to be able to witness the frequent science experiments involving the effects of sugar on young bodies. Empirical evidence is fascinating and affirming; especially when it involves a First World problem such as this.

    I am particularly fond of herding cats. When we have one of the 117 birthday celebrations throughout the school year, i get to test my mettle…how many kids can I keep from going completely insane before their release at the end of the school day? I am particularly fond of the glorious national and Hallmark holidays that further the steady stream of the myriad permutations that fat and sugar take, circumventing the intravenous route that might be preferable to some children. Perhaps the greatest convergence of natural child energy and refined sugar comes at the end of the year when every child brings in the most beautifully decorated cupcakes in an explosion of color, texture and human creativity. Then I feel truly blessed.

    How ’bout trying some crudites for a laugh?

  39. Pleez … how is this Great Cakes problem?? As an adult I’d still like to be able to exercise my right free choice & buy their cupcakes, (assume that’s still allowed in westport?)

    • Westport Convert

      According to “Happy Mom,” you should not be allowed to purchase any food that contains sugar! It is the deadly silent killer. It is the reason all of our children are suffering!

      Save the carrots — Ban sugar! That’s what I say. Maybe, in a few years, Westport will be fortunate enough to not only have banned plastic bags but also ban dessert and birthdays! It’s in the name of HEALTH, after all.

      WC

  40. Good thing Landon wasn’t able to cut back recess time like he proposed earlier this year, or the kids would all be obese from sitting in class and eating cupcakes and having fun!

  41. Cathy Cupcake

    Dear Anonymous, Trying to make budget cuts, the BOE and Administration suggested cutting out some Physical Education time (not recess). They actually listened to parents’ reaction through our committee, and directly by e-mail/phone and took that budget cut off the table. Regarding Staples’ food choices: I could regale you with a number of stories of off the wall food restrictions suggested over the years by parents to make high school food “healthier”. Other parents and the Administration felt that students in high school should be able to make their own food selection decisions and not be terrified by the sight of a beckoning french frie. It’s a big scary food world out there…. But we don’t have any “sugary drinks at the high school either, That’s from FEDERAL oversight….don’t let’s get started on THAT!

  42. mom2kidswpt

    I will offer up my family’s experience as the control…my son started elementary state in the 5% for weight…by third grade he was in the 85%…took until middle school (no parties in school) to get his weight in check…We did nothing differently in the home during that time…And on top of the in school celebrations at that age there were the parties too…I understand that a child with allergies or diabetes has to be vigilant but it is not easy to tell an otherwise “normal” 6, 7 or 8 year old boy that he has to pass on desserts while the rest of the class is eating them..and trust me, they were constant…My other child was and is in the 5%…would fill up on the junk at school and not be hungry for the healthy food at home…(At home, he alternates between brocolli and chips as his go to snack…it is all available). I support the decision to eliminate the sweets in school fully. Trust me, kids have access to plenty of ice cream and sweets outside of school….

  43. Nick Thiemann

    Let’s step back a moment. Is your kid going to get a better education if you spend $100 (20x$5)on cupcakes. Isn’t the real point of the cupcakes to prove to the other mothers that you are just as good a mother as they are? It has nothing to do with the kids, except for collateral damage.

    And when was a child’s parent given the right to feed 1,200 calorie snacks to someone else’s child? By banning cupcakes all incentives and rewards are removed. A monthly birthday party with varied choices contributed to by everyone is a fair compromise.

  44. A commuter, who loves westport.

    Dear Involved parent. You want a system that is fair??? How about starting with class size??? In this town, kids in kindergarden and 1st grade have an unequal education. 22 kids in kindergarden is very different from 18 or 19 in another elementary school in the same district. So please stop talking about fair. Its an insult to those of us who truly worry about the quality of our kids’ education. Time and effort should be put towards investing in teacher to student ration in all the classes– including Staples. Not cupcakes. This is a complete diversion away from what the problem with the education in this town. If you attended any of the moving up ceremonies– you will see what i mean. A bunch of uninspired speeches– Spending time celebrating a birthday in class brings community, something to look forward to. If kids had enough one on one time with their teacher– that would ensure they were learning. Additionally, it is possible to celebrate birthdays in class room once a month. I find this solution insulting , petty and misguided.

  45. Westport Mommy

    Let’s get one thing straight. Kids are not fat because of cupcakes during school celebrations. They are over weight primarily because of lack of exercise and poor eating habits. It’s a parents responsibility to teach their children healthy habits. That said, I have no problem with not being able to bring in sweets for birthday parties. That’s several batches of cupcakes I dont have to bake. No offense to Great Cakes, but I have been told my cupcakes taste better.