The Cupcake Ban

"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 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 are burning off. But how the heck did this result in a cupcake ban from 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?"

"Each school must develop a program to promote good health. Typical programs involve 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 a variety of activities, such as fundraisers."

"No sweets in fundraisers! But when I was a kid, bake sales raised lots of money for all kinds of charities. Now they're being banned, too?"

"That's right and for good reason. If a school 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?"

"Aren't you over-thinking? 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 could 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?"

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

"Texas?"

"They passed the ‘Safe Cupcake Amendment to protect the rights of kids and their parents to bring cupcakes to school. But you have to remember, these crazy people allow concealed weapons and used to allow open containers of alcohol in cars."

"Look, there is no doubt our kids are overeating, but doesn't the problem have more to with how they eat at home? Doesn't it have to do with a lack of exercise and playing video games at all hours? And parents who 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. It is simple for me: if I wish to keep receiving federal funding, I must follow federal guidelines. I must establish a wellness program and our wellness program 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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  • Guest

    This is ridiculous. It’s one thing to eliminate soda machines and promote healthier meals in school cafeterias. But it’s pretty extreme to eliminate treats alltogether, even on special occasions. How about placing some of the responsibility for obesity protections on the parents? An occasional cupcake in school wouldn’t hurt if parents weren’t serving up chips, candy and McDonalds every day of the week. This reminds me of the trans fat ban for the NYC restaurants. Is this or is it not a free country?

  • Guest

    While obviously a humor column, and an enjoyable one at that, it should be noted that what makes something funny is that it hits a chord of truth. This cupcake business definitely does!

    It shouldn’t even have to be mentioned that obesity is not a good thing for anyone, especially children. What bugs me, as it does Mr. Purcell, is more “big brother” in our lives. It sneaks up on us, much like the phenomenon wherein a frog will jump out of boiling water, but place this same amphibian in a tepid pot of water, gradually increase the heat, and before Kermit knows it, he is one boiled frog! I fear the same thing is happening to us in America. We hear stories in the electronic and print media every day about the horror of a so-called national identity card (hello? Ever hear of a driver’s license?) but insidious things such as acclimating out children at an ever younger age to accept the State as the replacement God, being omniscient, omnipotent, and only wanting the best for us. Phooey!

    When will we decide that the water in our particular pot is getting a tad too warm?

    God bless you Tom Purcell. Humor is the best way to get a point driven home. Just ask Mark Twain or Will Rogers or Abraham Lincoln. Oh, wait. The long distance charges could be a bit expensive. Nevertheless, you get the point…I hope.

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