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November 10, 2010

Pennsylvania - no longer sweet when it comes to schools?

The Nanny State is rearing its ugly head again. And, surprise surprise, it's in Pennsylvania once more.

Fresh off of the "laptop webcam spying" case, now a Pennsylvania school district is considering new rules that would force schools to change the way they celebrate birthdays and the like with students.

"The state Board of Education is considering new rules that would limit parents to a single sweet treat at school parties and allow classrooms one birthday celebration per month."

If schools don't comply with these rules, the state can rescind or deny funding to the schools. A huge hammer being held over their heads, especially in these times.

Is this a good idea? I'm all for healthy eating. What I'm not for is state-enforced healthy eating. Where does it stop?

New York mayor Bloomberg is already getting heavily criticized for the excessive food regulations that are being passed there, such as "no saturated fats" and the like. Then again, while people are complaining, nobody's voting the bum out over it, so maybe that's a bad example.

But where do we draw the line regarding government intrusion into our lives? Are bake sales going to be a thing of the past now? What about bringing a cupcake in your school lunch? Are there going to start being lunchroom monitors with the power to confiscate lunches?

People often complain that the modern fashion trends and media consumption over-sexualizes young girls, forcing them to dress more and more like women on the make in order to fit in with their friends. "Let kids be kids!" is the outcry.

Can't that apply to having fun too? Why keep kids from being kids in regards to celebrating birthdays and the like? Let the parents decide if a school is going too far in forcing bad food on kids.

Keep the government out.

If you don't, then you may not like what they latch onto next.

(h/t: Marybeth Hicks on Ricochet, though the article she links to is no longer available, which is why I used a different one instead)

*Update: (11/11/10)*: Apparently, the original article was retracted, which is why the one quoted on Ricochet was gone from the web site when I tried to use it.

The Pittsburgh News Tribune has now pulled the story, according to, stating that the state is only "encouraging" schools to do this, and encouraging them to make healthy choices available in the lunchroom.

This is all fine, and I have no problem with this. Encouragement is a good thing, as long as there isn't a financial hammer behind the encouragement.

However, it would have been nice if the Tribune had actually posted the retraction on their web site, rather than just pulling the original article.

I couldn't find any hint of the story anywhere on the Tribune site, especially the retraction. The story is just POOF gone.

So sorry to mislead you, folks!


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