I’m Just a Mom, Not the School Food Police

Cupcakes: image from seriouseats.com

Image from Seriouseats.com

Houston, we have a problem.  Parents approach me all the time, thanking me up and down for working so hard to improve our school food.  They are tickled pink about our new salad bar (launching this week) and they love that we are bringing in more freshly prepared foods and less  processed junk.  But then there are other parents who see me approach, and say “Michelle – turn away.  You won’t want to see what so-in-so is eating.”  Or, “Don’t look – the kids are eating cupcakes in the classroom for Little Joey’s birthday.”

I struggle with how to effectively balance the messages we give our kids about food.  I try to be positive and proactive as much as I can.  I also have to be honest.  Now, tune in for an awkward situation…


The other day, another mom and I were talking about a school event.  The 5th grade parents who have planned the event for several years have burned out and are ready to graduate, so a fresh posse of parents is taking over.  After our conversation, I started to question some of the things that she mentioned.  One big surprise was that they were considering dumping the Hula Hoop contest.  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a BIG deal to the kids.  Our young students watch in awe as the older students swirl colorful rings around their hips for what feels like an eternity.  It was exactly this event that motivated my own (very uncoordinated) son to learn the art of hula hooping…It’s hard to imagine getting rid of a fun contest that keeps our kids moving and includes any student who is interested.  You won’t believe what they may adding to the agenda instead.  Or maybe you will.  I am just too flummoxed to have an objective opinion at this point.  I spontaneously decided to email her, so that I could get my feelings off my chest.  (I also copied our principal and food service director, just to keep them in the loop.)

girl at pie eating contest

Photo from Middletown Press

“I was thinking about our chat today about the Round Up.  You mentioned that there would be a pie eating contest… I have to admit, I really dislike the concept of eating contests – it really gets kids eating too much and not paying attention to their bodies signals (that they are full etc)…  I am wondering if you would be willing to compromise and do a watermelon eating contest instead of one with pie.  At least it is a healthy fruit and they won’t get sick from eating too much.  Plus, most pies (at least the ones that you can afford for a contest!) are filled with artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup.  We would never openly have a high fructose corn syrup eating contest, would we?

I am not trying to be a food nazi, I promise.  We are just working SO hard to get our kids paying attention to their foods – we have a salad bar coming to school starting next week.  It has been a 5+ year struggle and we made it.  So watermelon would be a better message…

Feel free to ignore me, but I had to put my thoughts out there for you to consider 🙂  I will ALWAYS try to be reasonable – but wanted to be sure I said my honest opinion.”

Maybe my email response is exactly the type behavior that causes parents to encourage me to avert my eyes when teachers are handing out cookies.  Should I just keep my mouth shut?  But if I did, things would never change for our children.  Quite a quandry.  Luckily, I am out of high school and it is less important for me to feel “accepted” than it used to be.

After hitting the send button, I posted the idea of a pie eating contest at a school function to my Facebook community – simply as a “thumbs-up or thumbs-down”question.  The feedback was awesome, ranging from people who called it outrageous to good clean fun.

Still, maybe you should just call me “Buzz Kill” for short.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I heard back from the mom on the planning team.  She says that her husband is unlikely to back down from the pie eating contest completely. BUT she hopes to persuade him to limit it to the adults and will aim for one with watermelon (or maybe even watermelon-seed-spitting!) for the kids.  Phew.  I’ll let you know what happens after the event at the end of September.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE:  The new organizing team heard about my concerns and took the issue of the pie eating contest to the PTA.  They decided to keep the pie eating contest at the event.  But, they will be making home-made pies, and will only be including some teachers, parents and older students. They said it isn’t intended to be an eat-till-you-barf activity but more a humorous one as people watch the mess that people make by eating without using their hands.  Just wanted to keep you in the loop 🙂

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37 Responses to I’m Just a Mom, Not the School Food Police

  1. Dr. Goat says:

    Uh, watermelons are full of fructose. More than you’d get in any HFCS-laden pie. Fruit isn’t healthy in large amounts.

  2. Thanks for chiming in. I would prefer that they didn’t do any eating contests for the kids…I don’t really think that over-eating should be a sport. Fingers crossed that they like the watermelon seed spitting contest instead. That said, though, I would rather my kids eat too much watermelon than pie made with chemicals.

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I think you are handling things beautifully, you are proactive, positive, and clearly want to encourage children along a path of healthy nutrition!

    I think every school across North America needs parents just like you who are willing to put yourself out there and put the needs of our kids before your need to be popular 🙂 It’s not an easy task to try to bring in a new way of doing things!

    I don’t think that a pie eating contest isn’t sending out the right message to students. Besides I think the kids would rather have a watermelon seed spitting contest 😉

    I think that when it comes to getting kids on board with healthy eating we need to be consistent with the messages we are sending them.

    I think you are doing a fabulous job…keep it up 🙂

  4. Rosemary says:

    Michelle,

    You’ve got to hand it to them for working hard to create something new but get rid of the hoola hoop contest??? Max is already gearing up for the big competition. I wonder if these parents know the tradition of that event and how much the kids look forward to it each year. Perhaps add some new and keep some old??

    You know I fall somewhere between the cupcake lady and a food nazi but I think I agree on the pie eating contest for this particular event… it doesn’t really fit the evening. Isn’t really appropriate for the really little kids… more 4th and 5th graders. My brother entered one at the fair when he was a kid and he never ate pie again so maybe you’ll get your desired outcome anyway. They may never want to eat pie again.

  5. Gina says:

    Michelle – You’re in a really tough spot, but handled this situation wonderfully, and with tact and respect. Unfortunately there is a very fine line to balance on between working hard to raise healthy eaters, and “letting kids be kids” in today’s food society.

    This reminds me of that last line or so in my high fructose corn syrup post from last month about my son who can’t …”enjoy cotton candy at the fair, a hot dog at the ball park, the same snack as his baseball team or a popsicle at a friend’s house”.

    I’m not sure how we balance it all. I’d love to have 90%+ of their food healthy, additive free, real food but don’t believe that a 6 year old can make the decisions on his own to keep that balance. So we teach them the good, healthy lessons about what their body needs from food. We help them see food as fuel or energy to keep our bodies strong. And to respect our bodies so that it lasts a lifetime.

    We are fighting the good fight, for sure. I know we’ll help each other take deep breaths when it’s time to turn the other way. Because we don’t want to be the food police. Our intentions are pure and real.

  6. I say good for you. As I wrote in that Facebook thread, we don’t have the luxury of viewing these things in isolation anymore. The culture of food is so messed up in this country that we have to reclaim sanity whenever we can. Also, as Kia mentioned above, we need to be consistent in the messages we send our kids about food.

    BTW, your e-mail message was extremely diplomatic, so I wouldn’t worry about alienating people.

    (And you already know I’m in favor of watermelon-seed spitting instead of any kind of eating contest!)

  7. Mary Kay says:

    For another perspective, I was in a pie-eating contest in college (unwillingly) and found it totally gross and humiliating. It may have been funny for the observers, but was NOT fun for the participants.

  8. Thanks for the comment, Mary Kay! I always wondered how the participants in those events feel afterwards…I would hate to have my kids feeling sick. There is nothing like a slice of GOOD pie – and this seems like it would ruin pie for everyone involved.

    Christina – still LOVE the spitting idea. I bet kids would love it, too!

    Gina – we are coming from the right place. We want our kids to feel good and make wise choices for THEM.

    Rosemary – thanks for chiming in. I would actually be really sad if people shied away from pie after the event. There is nothing like GOOD pie… I just don’t agree with eating as a sporting event. We have enough unhealthy kids in our nation as it is…

    Kia – thanks for the kind words, as usual! I am trying to stay honest and consistent 🙂

  9. Julie says:

    The blogger seems to be confused. She says that the hula hoop contest keeps children in a state of awe, but she says the contest seems to take an eternity. Then she says she does not like food contests, but she suggests a watermelon eating contest. I think this Mom has too much time on her hands!!

  10. Thanks for visiting Julie. Perhaps if you don’t have constructive to share, you could restrain yourself from being rude. This is a place for people to share ideas and support, so that we can raise healthy children. Do you have some tips you would like to share about fun and healthy events at your school?

  11. Sally says:

    I think the place you need to find balance is between self promotion and being a member of a community. When you decided to air all of this on your website and then on facebook you crossed a line. You exploited fellow parents to promote your agenda. I’m sure from here on out fellow parents will not just be worried about serving cupcakes.

    • Hi Sally,
      Wow, I am so sorry you took this as an exploitation. I had no intention of exploiting anyone, nor do I see how this discussion is “self promotion” in any way. I don’t personally benefit if people eat cupcakes or pie, or if they choose an alternative way to celebrate.

      My biggest goal is to get a conversation going about how to deal with treats at school and school functions. On facebook, I merely asked for thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the pie eating contest idea and loved the variety of responses. Here, I shared more about my own thoughts and invited others to do the same. And I was also proactive, making alternative suggestions…with the overall goal of having a discussion on ways to keep our kids safe.

      While you are in the midst of making judgments about me and my motives, you might want to consider the fact that some of us have children that get sick from foods like these. So having them as a regular part of their school experience is painful and isolating. And simply giving them a “different treat” just makes them stand out even more.
      Michelle

  12. Mindy says:

    Ugh. Pie eating? That does seem a little.. gross. It also seems expensive. Plus, were they planning on throwing an entire pie at each kid?

    Maybe each competing child can eat a reasonable sized slice? They’ll still get the messy faced fun, but not go overboard?

    Maybe I’m biased though.. I was the ::ahem:: pretty plus :::ahem::: girl who never could learn to hula hoop. 🙁
    PS. LOVE the blog!

    • Thanks Mindy. My son cried the first year because he didn’t have the coordination to hula hoop. But it motivated him to want to learn, so he could join in on the fun the next year. It was awesome – he practiced until he got it and then he did great the next time around 🙂 Yes – just learned that they are going to include some teachers and older students. They are going to do home-made pie and are going to eat it without hands. It won’t be an all you can eat thing, which is a relief.

  13. Christy says:

    Michelle – I thought conversations went two ways – not just your way. Not posting the entire story really tweaks your agenda even more to support only your point of view. Don’t cloud it with words like “getting a conversation going” and “invited others to do the same” when you have chosen not to publish other points of view that may be a little less forgiving of your quest to throw all of the other Glenwood parents under the big yellow school bus assuming we don’t know how to feed our children correctly. Having Pie is not Unsafe – it’s an American tradition.

  14. Mrs. Q says:

    I come from people who chose dessert food over dinner food frequently (my grandpa loved his pie ala mode!) so I do have a big love of pie.

    What is the agenda of any eating contest? The point of the pie eating contest is to marvel at how gross it is, no? It’s not fostering a love of food. I like that Michelle is questioning this kind of stuff related to food. We need to ask the “hard” questions. It does seem a bit weird that initially they were considering that the children participate in the pie eating contest. Would I let my kid do that? Not if I ever wanted him to eat pie again! Wouldn’t he be grossed out and sick of it? Pie in moderation is fantastic over the holidays and on special occasions! Getting it all over yourself in front of all your friends and family? Messy, disgusting, and embarrassing.

  15. sarah henry says:

    I’m with Michelle, Mrs. Q, and others on this one: A pie eating contest (or any eating contest) is not appropriate at school, for all the reasons discussed in the post and ensuing comments.

    And, um, hello, eating disorders anyone? Food is a source of nourishment and social interaction around a table — not a competition.

    There are many other ways to have fun without playing with your food.

  16. Lisa says:

    Too much time on her hands? There are few comments I find as offensive as that one!! If we had more moms who dedicated a reasonable amount of time to the nutritional well being of children perhaps we would not have such an epidemic of obesity in this country. Whether you agree or disagree with her point of view I think this is a very worthy use of anyone’s time.

    Personally I have mixed feelings about policies on treats for children. Treats are nice at times but why do we feel the need to celebrate every event with sugary indulgence?

    The thing is, a pie eating contest takes it a step further in my view. I agree that the experience of being covered in sticky food is humiliating and apt to lead to unhealthy views of food. It is also wasteful. Does having homemade pies make it better? Who is making these pies? How do you define homemade? Why is this fun?

  17. Sally says:

    Wanna know “What’s Cookin?” Michelle Stern is censoring the blog entries and only posting those that she approves of. Remember folks this blog is connected to her business website. Many parents have tried to express their opinions in this debate but, Michelle is not posting them. I guess it’s bad for business. Something stinks in the kitchen!

    • Sally, I have only deleted one comment. But yours is pretty rude and should also be deleted. But I’ll keep it here for the sake of discussion. Please keep in mind that most people who come here do so because they are interested in feeding their families. It probably isn’t wise to try to persuade them that I am conducting unsavory business.

  18. Chris says:

    I just have to state the obvious here and say that to eliminate a physical activity and replace it with shoving food down your throat as fast as you can doesn’t make sense on any level.

    The American public school system has been fighting against childhood obesity by eliminating things such as Coke machines on campus, etc. So this is a no-brainer. Is there anything wrong with eating pie? Of course not. But having this replace hoola-hooping makes no sense. Still, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Sharing what’s in your heart and being honest about the way you feel always attracts the trolls.

    Unfortunately, it sets you up for people with low self-esteem who become giddy with the opportunity to step on someone else – under the illusion that it will make them appear taller. (Damn, short-y short trolls)

    Want to know how to tell when someone is *really* interested in the conversation and would truly like and honest answer? They ask the question. Without pointing an accusing finger…without making snarky comments that would only be said while hiding behind a keyboard.

    Trolls who say you’re being “un-PC” because you don’t allow comments that flog and humiliate you is BULLYING in the purest sense.

    Keep the comments that invite honest discussion and different points of view – and dump the bullshit.

  19. Luna says:

    I appreciate parents like Michelle who are working hard to mke sure that not only are kids getting healthier options, but those who are left out. I have so many allergies, it’s not funny. I wish there had been a food champion like Michelle when I was a kid.

    To say that a pie eating contest sends a poor message to kids is an understatement. Instead of beating her up, take a step back & see the bigger picture: the messages we send now to our kids will stay with them a lifetime.

  20. Heather says:

    Things really have changed since I was a child. Fast food was a special treat, not a weekly expectation or a mainstay of one’s meals. School activities and treats were based physical activities, not food related activities. No one was allowed to bring desserts into the classroom. The school had healthy, balanced real food for lunch, cooked on site using real ingredients, not things reheated from frozen or where ketchup and tater tots are considered “good”. At home, we did not have dessert every night, we were expected to play outside and be physical and television was limited to 40 minutes of supervised viewing. I consider my childhood normal and am astounded at the challenges parents today face with their children. The norm now is fast food, obesity and inactivity.

    I believe parents like Michelle who are trying to make changes for the better should be applauded instead of criticized. A gluttonous activity like a pie eating contest may be great fun at a college, but not an elementary school. What message does this send kids? Pie is an American tradition but that doesn’t mean I want my kid to eat a whole pie for fun. Why not have more physical contests instead of food related ones? These are valid questions to raise and a parent shouldn’t be viewed as the pie police. I suppose the only alternative is for parents who want to raise healthy kids in this environment is to teach them that pie, like any sweet or dessert is an occasional treat and that food shouldn’t be wasted by silly contests. Then, teach them how to make a pie from scratch, maybe even from the point of picking the fruit, so that they can learn the work and effort that goes into baking a pie, instead of teaching them to shovel one into their gullets in under 5 minutes. By the way, those food eating contests on tv are really gross, have you watched one? The contestants on the most part look really unhealthy and/or are overweight. Not a role model….

  21. Sally says:

    Hmmm…been talking to other parents who have had their voices silenced. We all know it is more than one deleted comment. This is your website. You can certainly choose who you want to publish. What people object to is how you have handled yourself and exploited fellow parents to advance your agenda. You should have had more respect for them and spoken to them directly not through your website. You are the one who chose to use your business website to discuss this, you can not now turn around and scold those who point out the connection. Instead of censoring and judging what is “rude” or “wise” post everything. Let everyone have a voice equal to your own.

    • Good point – yes, a true discussion is one where people can have a say. But I am being truly honest when I say that I have only deleted one comment. On some of our salad bar posts, parents have asked me if their comments have gone through and I have never seen them. Call it a blog glitch. To be honest, if it is somehow blocking other rude ones, I can’t complain. But I would at least like to see what people have to say, regardless of whether or not I choose to publish it. This is my blog and I have a right to moderate what I allow through. If people can remain constructive, I’ll allow the posts that I see to remain – but if people are as rude as you were earlier, I’ll exercise my right to use the delete key.

  22. kitchenMage says:

    Well Michelle, this is an interesting post and comment thread. I was trying to tease out the actual issues you wrote about rom the rest of the noise…it comes down to this, right?

    The plan for an annual school event includes removing a popular physically-active event and replacing it with an eating contest.

    I’m curious, was there a response to your email or did they just go to the PTA behind your back? What an awkward sort of relationship this must make for.

    Practical questions abound: What if a diabetic or allergic child wants to participate in the pie-eating contest? How will they deal with the apparent discrimination against kids who can’t eat a lot of sugar/carbs? (Kosher, Halal, oooh, the can of worms here…)

    As for the “Shucks! It’s good old American fun!” argument, well, I could dig just a smidge into our history and make a list of old-fashioned Americana we find unacceptable today. (slave auctions were once the rage, I hear!) As I mentioned on Facebook, greased pig chases are even more traditional than pie-eating at fairs. Maybe the kids would like to traumatize a pig for fun too…

    I must admit I am confused about what the point of the ‘other side’ is, but only because nobody who commented here or on FB went beyond being annoyed with you to explain anything. It seems like this year’s agenda is fixed, however, so…moving on.

    Perhaps after the carnival, there could be a debriefing with a chance for ALL sides to feel like they are being heard. One pie-eating contest isn’t going to do any real damage and it may give you talking points – teachable moments as it were. How did the kids feel after gorging on pie? Was it really fun to watch?

    As the person who is always yelling about open comment threads, I really appreciate your willingness to keep this fairly open. At the same time, nobody seems to be being a troll – ahem – and it would be intimidating to have others calling you one if you felt you were just trying to get your point across.

  23. Christy says:

    What a synopsis:
    “The plan for an annual school event includes removing a popular physically-active event and replacing it with an eating contest.”
    Do you even see how ridiculous this has all become – it’s one thing to stand up for what you believe in but it’s quite another thing when you get people all riled up – misinformed and pretty self-righteous about eating pie. Michelle you made pretty harsh, quick and incorrect assumptions about the event, the type of pies that would be provided, the Hula Hoop Contest debacle and basically changed the tone from a happy Round Up event to a sad, controversial and stressful event for all of the parents that have donated their time and energy for our kids.
    As for KitchenMadge and her rampage – you are pretty off topic yet the post still remains because you are a vigilante supporter obviously. Equating a funny eating pie event to “Slave Auctions” and Michelle denying that she’s being a “Food Nazi” are two highly offensive remarks and so out of proportion to the original concern.
    The debate is over and I hope that other parents won’t be so horrified about a simple game at the Round Up. To obtain the perfection that all of your supporters are requiring would be impossible and unfair to our kids – you can’t live in a bubble and your kids shouldn’t either.

  24. Jeff says:

    Well, this has gotten out of hand. I’m the father mentioned in the post that “won’t back down”. My name is Jeff Shepler and I will be at the Round Up (I’m helping to host it). So if you have a Glenwood student in your family and you want to seek me out and have a conversation with me regarding this subject, feel free.

    I’d like to clear up a few things. 1) We never canceled the hula hoop contest, it’s absolutely on. 2) We didn’t go behind anyone’s back at the PTA. This concern was part of a long list of ideas, requests and concerns that we brought to the PTA. We treated it like any concern that a parent would have. 3) It’s not an all you can eat contest.

    I spoke with my six year old and asked her if she could tell the difference between an eating contest and daily eating for nutrition and she treated me like I’d lost my mind. “Of course I can” she said.

    Michelle, I applaud your work to get a salad bar at the school. And if you want me to help make sure kids are exercising more and eating less junk food on a daily basis then tell me what you need. But I just can’t make the leap that a once a year pie eating contest equates in any way to childhood obesity. Children are smart enough to recognize the difference. For instance, I don’t blame Christmas morning for kids growing up to be overly materialistic adults. And yes, that analogy may indeed be a stretch but that’s how I feel about it.

    In fact, one of the moms at the PTA made a very good point. By showcasing an eating contest you’re actually putting it in a specific light, one that tells kids “this is not how you should eat”.

    In the end, we cannot shelter our kids from everything. Nor should we. Being a parent is not about removing your kids from everything you deem as bad, but by explaining the difference and teaching them the correct choices to make. Michelle I’m sure your kids eat well, but not because they don’t know about all the bad food or ways to eat but because you teach them the right way.

    That said, if any of the Glenwood parents reading this thinks that they can do a better job running the events then please contact the PTA and take a shot! We need all the help we can get!!

    Now, can we move on to the next subject? Like Happy Meals? “Collect all six prizes” makes it like an eating contest at McDonalds!!

  25. A.J. says:

    I guess this shows people should hear both sides before jumping to conclusions.

  26. Kristi says:

    I’m so biased on this matter as to be of little or no help, but just so that you know there’s a mom out there who feels even more strongly about this than you do I’ll post. I find eating contests repugnant, even when they’re “not of the eat-til-you-barf” variety. There’s nothing funny to me about people getting food all over their faces, about wasting food, about gluttony. That said, I don’t think that one contest is going to permanently harm most kids’ ideas about food, but it’s still not the kind of activity that I think is appropriate for kids (or, frankly, anyone.) But I’m a wet blanket that way. 🙂

    I love that they have chosen to hand-make the pies, though. I think an even better idea would be to have the kids make the pies at home or at school (if there’s a kitchen available there), see how much work goes into making a pie, then see how they feel about one person cramming their face into it to make a mess. Some kids won’t mind, but I would bet that some are a little shocked to see an hour or so of work demolished in seconds.

  27. Joan Murray says:

    About the pie eating contest, make the pies fairly small, so it’s more about the entertaining-ness of watching people try to eat something messy with out hands. And homemade pies tend to be less sugary than storebought, but they may have to be made at the school (no food poisoning bouts here).
    And Yeah for the hula hoops.

  28. Kirsten says:

    What a great opportunity for you to teach your children how you feel about pie eating contests. As they watch it, explain to them your feelings about it and why you are against it.

    Better yet… GET INVOLVED. Clearly you have strong feelings about it. You should volunteer on the committee next year. Teach your children by example how to make changes that matter to you. Offer to make the pies. It is possible to make a pie without using high fructose corn syrup.

    But you can’t shield your kids from situations like this for their whole lives. Your day to day parenting and the choices you make will have a much, much greater affect on them than watching one pie eating contest. Use the pie eating contest to show them that some people actually think this is fun and humorous and it’s OK to play with your food sometimes. After all, it’s not a contest to see who can eat the most pie.

    You or others might be disgusted with people getting pie all over their face, but respect the fact that others might find it fun.

    I applaud your efforts to get a salad bar at your school. Focus on daily eating habits of children, not a one time event planned by parents that I really don’t think meant any harm to your kids or any others.

  29. Lynn says:

    I realize i’m a little late this this party, but I wanted to chime in. I think the main point here is for each family to raise their children as they see fit, but NOT to force thier views on others. If you don’t want your children to participate in a pie eating contest, don’t have them participate. I think it’s the
    “preaching” that gets to people. My sister-in-law is a serious food nazi. And yes, her kids are the sickliest of the entire family. But at least she doesn’t try to change what I feed my family! I feel sorry for all the kids and their families that have to deal with you at the school. Glad you’re not at mine!

    • Michelle Stern says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for joining in on the conversation. I agree – I don’t like when people are forceful about change. It is all a negotiation and healthy discussions are worth their weight in gold. But I respectfully disagree about me being one of those people. Yes, I am opinionated. But I also like to hear from others and modify my view if I learn more. I’ll pass on taking your bait about not being at your school, thank you very much.

      • Katherine says:

        I know this is a pretty old post, but I’m desperately searching for some cues on how to deal with my frustration regarding my kids’ grade-school’s complete lack of discretion in this sort of thing. The PTC and extra-curricular fundraisers abound, and there are Otter Pops, typical bake sales, POWDERED DONUT DAY, and cotton candy sales nearly every day of the week after school right alongside the pick-up queue! But what has me running to you is that the principal is in with several promotions that give the school a kickback: Chik Fil A “caters” a parent-kid lunch day (!), Jamba Juice has a stand on Tuesdays to fund an overnight field trip, the teachers work at McDonalds for a night and we’re all supposed to show up and eat there (NO!), and today, according to the Facebook post, my little boys are going to come home with stickers applied to their shirts like mini billboards to inform me that I am to take them to Chuck E. Cheese on Wednesday for yet another fundraising opportunity!!! Their school is making me seem like the strange one for not playing along and condoning hot and cold running crap. I’ve gone the “positive” route, offering to help with a school garden project, applauding the good things like the salad bar, and such, but the powers that be seem far more interested in funding their showboat projects (a science lab! Too bad they aren’t interested in the science of nutrition) and getting PR opportunities than in the actual message they’re sending the kids. The comments you’ve received here, those that fall into the category of defensive, knee-jerk “you can’t inform me because I’m just hearing you call me wrong,” “just tell your kids to say no when everyone else is doing it and the whole body of authority figures is condoning it,” flippant non-response is what is scaring me away from directly stating my misgivings to anyone in the PTC or in administration. If you have any insights or suggestions, please please help me!!! Just reading around your blog, I believe wholeheartedly in what you are doing, and know if comes from a place of care and a desire to educate and absolutely not from a place of self-promotion (is she kidding???) or some compulsion to ruin everyone’s fun (really? The only thing that’s fun is an onslaught of junk food? Those ad execs are sure earning their money). Thank you for what you’re trying to do!

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