HERSHEY, Pa. – If Derry Township School District board member Andrea Abruzzo had her way, kids would celebrate their birthdays with carrots.

michelle obama carrotAbruzzo’s district is putting a greater emphasis on “non-food rewards,” including birthday treats.

To that end, Derry Township schools have banned cupcakes or “other snacks.”

“We’re trying to encourage non-food rewards for students. So that applies to birthday parties, successes they may have in the classroom,” Dan Tredinnick, the district’s director of school and community information, tells Fox 43.

“We don’t think that snacks are a bad thing. We think that snacks have a place in everybody’s diet, but food served in schools brings with a whole host of challenges. I think that there’s other ways that we can collaboratively make kids feel special, and recognize their accomplishments, that don’t necessarily have to involve food.”

“There are reasons to eliminate birthday treats,” superintendent Joseph McFarland tells the Patriot-News. “We’re trying to teach healthy eating.”

Instead of cupcakes, school leaders are suggesting students bring pencils, pens and stickers or wear “silly socks.”

The paper reports:

[McFarland] said elementary school administrators tried to make a list of healthy snacks, but found it difficult to decide what should be on the list, especially in light of an increase in allergies. Also, district personnel don’t know what goes into homemade treats or how they are prepared. …

Board member Andrea Abruzzo said perhaps there could be a compromise. Maybe parents who want to bring cupcakes should also bring in something like fruit or carrots.

 Derry Township’s move – which stems from its “wellness policy” – comes on the heels of the newly implemented school snack regulations championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I think it’s ridiculous that kids can’t bring in cupcakes and things like that. It’s their birthday; they’re going to do it at home, so why not be able to share it with all of the other kids at school,” parent Sarah Smith says, according to Fox 43.

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