CHARLESTON, W.V. – Birthday cupcakes are back in West Virginia!
West Virginia officials banned birthday cupcakes and other celebratory foods in 2012, as schools across the nation struggled to comply with federal restrictions promoted by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The state board of education did not adopt the no treats rule as official policy, but suggested the move in a “guidance document” on school nutrition in 2012 that board members now plan to rescind, the West Virginia Gazette-Mail reports.
Deputy state superintendent Cindy Daniel said the state board decided to send letters to local school officials to give them discretion on allowing food for classroom celebrations at a meeting last Thursday.
“Until such time that Policy 4321.1 is revised and additional guidance is given, county superintendents have the discretion to work with their staffs to determine the guidelines for classroom celebrations,” the letter reads.
Essentially, the changes means students now “have permission to have fun” on special days, state superintendent Michael Martirano said, according to the Gazette-Mail.
The reversal comes after parents in numerous school districts across the country have complained about school policies banning sweet treats for students amid the push from federal bureaucrats to crack down on “unhealthy” school food.
Texas was among the first states to balk at the federal rules when Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller famously declared amnesty for school cupcakes shortly after he was elected in 2015.
“We want families, teachers and school districts in Texas to know the Texas Department of Agriculture has abolished all rules and guidelines that would stop a parent from bringing cupcakes to school,” Miller said in a press release quoted by BigCountryHomepage.com.
But the Michelle Obama-inspired school food rules continue to impact students, and birthday cupcakes from home, in numerous states, including Iowa, New Jersey, Maryland, Maine, Illinois, Washington, Missouri, Pennsylvania and other states. Even folks as far away as Israel have blamed the former first lady for ruining special celebrations at school by influencing school snack policies. In many places, school officials advised teachers to replace birthday cupcakes with pencils and erasers, funny sock days, and other lame ideas, EAGnews reports.
School cupcake bans, of course, are one of numerous symptoms of the former first lady’s failed attempt to fight childhood obesity through federal bureaucracy. Since the tightened restrictions on calories, fat, sugar, salt, whole grains, fruits and vegetables went into effect in 2012, more than 1.4 million students – including hundreds of entire schools – have dropped out of the National School Lunch Program for a variety of reasons.
Many school officials pointed to plummeting cafeteria sales, while students and parents complained about paltry portion sizes and unidentifiable concoctions that turned students’ stomachs. Many students rebelled against the changes with online campaigns, boycotts, parody videos and pictures of their gruesome lunches posted to social media with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama.
The U.S. House Freedom Caucus in December called on Congress and the Trump administration to repeal lunch rules imposed on schools through Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, though it remains unclear if or when lawmakers might heed the advice.
In the meantime, states like West Virginia and Texas are peeling back state laws and policies inspired by the federal government to give local officials more control over the decisions.