The Argument for Banning Cupcakes in Schools - Birthday of the Month

The Argument for Banning Cupcakes in Schools - Birthday of the Month
From The Kitchn - August 8, 2017

I will never forget the day in second grade when my mom showed up with two giant sheet pans of homemade cinnamon rolls. It was my birthday, and this was her surprise to mea special treat to share with the whole class. I was genuinely surprised. And also a smidge disappointed that she had not shown up with trays of store-bought cupcakes sporting thick swirls of frosting and plastic toppers that said, "YOU'RE RAD!" like the cool kids had brought in on their birthdays. (In addition to my reading and spelling skills in second grade, I was also proficient at ingratitude.)

Needless to say, everybody went gaga over the cinnamon rolls and, thankfully, my class showed all of the appreciation for my mother's efforts that I lacked.

Until recently, my second-grade callousness was the closest I ever came to a cupcake controversy, completely unaware of a growing number of cupcake bans in schools from sea to shining sea.

It seemed to pass me by even when my own kids were in elementary school. Like all parents, I was hoping for a chance to vicariously correct all of my petty childhood complaints, but both my kids would rather die than have their birthdays publicly acknowledged in any way.

Me: Your birthday is next week!

My child: Yes!

Me: Want to have a party?

My child: Nooooooo.

Me: Can I at least send treats for your class?

My child: Do you even know me at all?

And since the opportunity passed me by, so did the debate about whether or not cupcakes belong in the classroom at all. I had not thought much about it, and when I did start thinking about it, I was not sure exactly where I stood or what was really at the center of the debate. Is this about protecting kids with serious food allergies? Protecting kids from foodborne illnesses from unsanitary home kitchens? Accommodating various cultural/religious/lifestyle food preferences? Protecting teachers from kids strung out on sugar at 1:30 p.m. while wielding blunt scissors? Or, like my favorite multiple-choice test option, is it all of the above?

I took to the streets (and by streets, I mean Facebook) to understand the issue and get some perspective and answers. My friends include a diverse group of parents, teachers, school administrators, and even peanut allergy sufferers. They have been on the front lines of this debate, so I asked their help to understand.

From the Pro-Cupcake Side

For my friend Jenny, it comes down to having a little fun: "I feel strongly that [birthday sweets] should be allowed. These kids work so hard at school with less recess and gym and playtime than ever and should be able to have some treats and 'fun' time!"

From the Pro-Ban Side

A Non-Conclusive Conclusion


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