No child gets left behind, but soon cookies, cakes and brownies will have to be. Baked goods will be banned from schools under a new city regulation that is part of an effort to battle the high obesity rate in New York City public schools.
The new rules are part of the Education Department’s effort to crack down the consumption of sugar and fat, effectively banning most school bake sales.
At a time when school budgets are being cut left and right, these fundraising events are extremely important in funding extra curricular activities.
California has already taken steps to ban bake sales and regulate the amount of sugar and fat in snack foods, but New York’s regulations are the toughest, said Howard Wechsler with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the New York Times.
There are exceptions to the new rules. Any parent groups can hold bake sales once a month as long it's after lunch. Previous regulations had already limited bake sales to once a month, but they were allowed to go on at any time during the day.
All sales are off after 6 p.m., according to the rules, but by that time, most students are already gone.
The Education Department said approximately 40 percent of students are overweight in the city’s schools. A city survey in July showed that health and standardized test scores were correlated.
“We have an undeniable problem in the city, state and the country with obesity,” said Eric Goldstein, the chief of the office of school support services, according to the Times. “During the school day, we have to focus on what is healthy for the mind and the body.”
The new regulations are not going smoothly at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School on the Upper West Side where bake sales are held several times a month, the paper reported. The high school might not even be able to raise enough money for a new scoreboard.
A student at the high school said when the soccer team held a bake sale last May, his blueberry muffins sold out in 15 minutes.
“I think it’s kind of pointless,” Eli Salamon-Abrams told the Times. “I mean, why can’t we have bake sales?”
The policy also affects vending machines under the new regulations because these machines must be stocked with healthier snacks like baked chips or granola bars with low sugar. Vending machines raise millions of dollars worth of funds for sports.
Principals must comply with the new rules or their evaluations will reflect negatively on them. They are scrambling to find new ways to raise funds quickly and easily, which is especially important at this time when school budgets are being cut drastically.
John Sommers, an assistant principal at LaGuardia, told the Times that teachers at the school had already pushed for students to be careful with what they sell. “There was never any cotton candy or something like that, and there weren’t sales all the time,” he said. “But they are definitely a way kids count on to get money.”
“There are more schools that are making more changes in what is available for kids at school,” Wechsler said, the paper reported. “Schools are supposed to be a place where we establish a model environment, and the last thing kids need is an extra source of pointless calories.”