Get Fat For Haiti!

Bake sale table
Image by Holy Outlaw via Flickr

In early October people began noticing that in late June the NYC Department of Education banned most bake sales in schools.

There were exceptions: once a month the PTA could hold a bake sale, but not during lunch periods. In other words, if you wanted to sell cupcakes to kids you had to haul them out of class.

Oh, you could also hold all the bake sales you want after 6PM on any day. Go figure. My school closes at 6PM.

The DOE promulgated the crackdown on cupcakes in an at-best ham-handed attempt to reduce the amount of fat and sugar in student diets.

Apparently the yearly lessons on the food pyramid were not sticking in student heads as much as the daily doses of chips, brownies and Skittles were sticking out student bellies.

I’m not writing this essay to claim that allowing students more time for physical activities such as gym classes and running around the schoolyard during recess would do more to promote student health and reduce waistlines faster than policing pies.

That is far too obvious to bring up.

And I’m not writing this essay to note that many schools are so overcrowded that their gyms are used for classroom space, or that many principals have eliminated gym time so that students are able to receive more minutes of the precious math and language arts test preparation that passes as instruction in many schools.

I’ll save that diatribe for another time.

I’m also not writing to say that my school gives all students gym class at least twice a week, has two certified physical education teachers, and gets kids outside during recess whenever the weather allows it, even though we do all of that.

No, I want to talk about Haiti and the DOE’s reaction to the death, injuries, famine, homelessness and other horrible results of the recent massive earthquake there.

The DOE said it was okay to have bake sales again, even during lunch periods.

But only as long as the proceeds were sent to agencies participating in the relief efforts in Haiti.

Yes, boys and girls, the DOE says you have to find other ways to finance class trips, band instruments, sports uniforms, and all the other things schools once provided.

But its okay to get fat for Haiti.

There’s something particularly disturbing about the DOE’s idea of students swallowing sweets while desperately hungry Haitians swallow dust.

Meanwhile, at my school, students raised over a thousand dollars in three days just by going from class to class and soliciting donations.

And they got exercise by striding down our long halls and climbing up and down stairs.

I think they could teach the DOE leadership a thing or two.

Don’t you?

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3 Responses to Get Fat For Haiti!

  1. cgibson says:

    The irony of all this makes me ill.
    Thank you for this post.

  2. Sandra says:

    Our school is not allowed to sell food stuffs during the lunch period because it competes with the cafeteria profits (they sell cookies, slushes, and the like). They have also decided that bake sales are not a good idea because the homes in which the goodies are baked are not certified by the department of health. Theat leaves purchasing products for resale, and cutting the profit potential dramatically.

    Love the post – and I’m looking forward to the other promised posts.

    (BTW, IMHO, the “food pyramid” is wrong.)

    • Deven Black says:

      Wrong in the sense of inaccurately presented or do you mean formulated incorrectly?

      I don’t think the NYCDOE runs school cafeterias as profit centers, though, given their insistence on running schools like businesses, I’m sure they’re working on figuring out how to do that. While I’ve never been involved in that kind of bulk food service I did spend 25 years in the restaurant business and I’d advise them to work on quality and service, the latter being the more important in driving profits.

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