Banning cookies: Is this school going too far?
A Tucson school has banned all foods that it says are processed, going as far as taking away meals that teachers say break the rules.
The public charter school, Children’s Success Academy, has a policy that allows students to bring certain foods, such as whole grain bread and crackers, but bars white bread, according to this story in the Arizona Daily Star.
Fresh fruit is great, but no fruit in syrup. And, of course, no cookies. Not a single one.
The Web site says:
Foods to be avoided entirely include refined sugars, sugar substitutes and other highly processed items including fats, such as margarines, which contain partially hydrogenated oils. These foods have all been shown in recent scientific studies to be connected to health problems. For example, the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes in children is linked to the use of large amounts of sugar-filled foods and highly processed foods from very early childhood. Sugar substitutes are well known to be addictive, and to be linked with numerous disorders, including migraine headaches and other neurological problems.
The founder of the school, Nanci Aiken, has a doctorate in cell physiology and once worked as a cancer researcher at the Arizona Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins Medical School.
She is quoted in the story as saying that she sometimes feels “like the Wicked Witch of the West,” but believes she is helping the students -- even if they don’t know it.
"When you eat sugar, especially by itself like a candy bar, you get a rush and crash. An apple will not give you instant gratification or a rush, but it lasts longer," she was quoted as saying. "An apple and a piece of cheese is ideal - your blood sugar will go up gradually and then will go down gradually over a period of hours."
The school, with students from kindergarten through fifth grade, says it is dedicated to teaching the Arizona State Standards through a values-based, service-oriented and globally-focused curriculum.
That all sounds fine.
But telling a second grader he or she can’t have a little cookie with lunch? Insisting kids eat peanut butter on whole wheat rather than white bread?
Yes, there is an obesity epidemic in the country, for many reasons. Giving a child a cookie with a well-balanced lunch isn't one of them.
Promoting and encouraging healthy eating habits is important at home and at school, but learning moderation is a life-long lesson. Hard-line policies are bound to spark some resentment -- and rule-breaking -- among kids.
At other schools, parents and teachers worry about kids smuggling in drugs. Here, the smuggling rings probably revolve around double-stuff Oreos, regular and golden.
Is this school going overboard, or doing the right thing?
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| April 25, 2010; 3:42 PM ET
Categories: Health | Tags: Children's Success Academy, charter schools, health, obesity epidemic, school lunch, school lunch program, school that bans cookies
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