POP, CANDY, AND THE KORAN
This week the governor of Connecticut vetoed a bill that would have severely limited the sales of junk food in public schools. The governor explained, “The task of determining and meeting the health and dietary needs of children should, first and foremost, be undertaken by parents.”
Excuse me, but what does that have to do with the schools encouraging children to consume garbage in school by prominently displaying it in a vending machine and profiting from the proceeds?
Actually, the mere words “pop and candy” give me the heebie jeebies. Years ago I taught in an alternative middle school in a wellish-to-do neighborhood. The school operated on a consensus basis, which means all decisions were brought before the student body and discussed, sometimes all freaking day, and had to be agreed to by everyone before being implemented.
Even with this tortuous method in place, the school unanimously decided to enact a no-pop-or-candy-in-class rule. Kids were still allowed P and C at lunch and recess. They could still snack during class, just not on P and C.
It seemed perfectly reasonable to me, but the parent of one of the students had a fit of unbelievable proportions. She complained to everyone from the PTA to the superintendent to god. Mediation ensued. As a staff member, I had to attend the meeting. This woman showed up with a written statement that was 27 single-spaced pages long. And she read it out loud. It took about 40 minutes. I will never get those 40 minutes back. All I remember was that she had warm, fuzzy feelings from her childhood experiences with P and C.
Now that I have kids of my own, I find her behavior even more bizarre. As I see it, school is pretty much one long sugar-fest, from K through 12. They have birthday celebrations, they have cooking projects, they have holiday parties, they have curriculum-related special events, and all of these things require the consumption of sugar-laden treats.
I’m considering writing a letter.
Every day I pack my child a healthy lunch with a small treat for dessert. Every day she comes home and tells me she had 14 other small treats as well, all for legitimate celebratory reasons. Do the children need to celebrate quite so much? I was hoping she could put off the diabetes diagnosis at least until high school.
Sugar-coated in Seattle
Now, if you read the title of this piece, you may be wondering how I’m going to work the Koran into it. Well, I had a brilliant plan for tying the P and C debate and the Guantanamo Bay debacle together, but it would take me a few more pages to make it coherent. I know y’all have short attention spans, so I’ll just tell you the conclusion.
People are easily distracted by trivial concerns, and fail to notice the larger ones.