By Jamie Butow
I'm all fired up about an article in Sunday's Bakersfield Californian. Reporter Courtenay Edelhart wrote about districts' varying policies on allowing junk food in schools. While many have made great strides in offering healthy lunches, many teachers are handing out candy as rewards in the classroom.
Just wait -- we're not yet at the part that has me all fired up.
Norris School District has taken the step of designating three official days for classroom parties, and banning all other holiday and birthday celebrations.
This, they say, keeps the sweets out of the classroom and keeps the focus on learning.
Here's the part I'm fuming over: When Courtenay went out to talk to parents about these policies, one mom said ... actually said, "People are just too obsessed over silly little things like weight."
One out of every three children in the United States in considered to be obese. Being concerned about weight is not a "silly little thing," and it's that sort of attitude that leads people to think sugary foods are harmless.
I grew up with a mom who is a Type 1 diabetic, so I'm well aware of what sugar does to your body, the sudden burst of energy, then the low that follows.
As parents, it's our job to make sure our kids know how food fuels their bodies. If your kids don't have weight problems, lucky you. But one day they might, and education about nutrition starts at home at a very young age.
My son's teacher gives out candy in class. I don't like it, but it's her classroom and her rules, and I will defer to her. After all, she's the one with 32 third-graders to work with. Aside from birthday celebrations, they have also had five holiday parties so far this year. Plus the five holiday parties he has been a part of in the afterschool program.
And he wonders why I don't have candy and cookies at home.
As someone who has struggled with weight issues my whole life, and was never given candy or cupcakes in school, I'm much more concerned about dismissive attitudes like this than I am about birthday celebrations in class.
Moderation is key. A treat on a holiday or at a birthday celebration is fine. So is a single Jolly Rancher for completing a difficult task.
But teaching our kids that being mindful of our weight is "silly" is just going to lead to health problems down the road.
Wednesday news meetings
Here in the Californian newsroom, we have a lot of staffers using social media to pass information on to readers, but we also use it as a way for our readers to pass information on to us.
For the past several months, we've been holding the 3 p.m. Wednesday Afternoon News Meeting on Facebook and Twitter.
Each week, we ask you to comment on that thread and tell us what's happening in your world. We want to know if something in your neighborhood park is concerning, if a new policy at your child's school has you wondering, and about anything you're concerned about in Kern County.
Be assured, this information is passed on to editors.
Of course, you can always contact us directly. Our phone numbers and email addresses are listed at Bakersfield.com/contact_us, but this is another way to discuss what's happening in Bakersfield.
Look for the post at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays at Facebook.com/BakersfieldCalifornian.
As they promised to do late last year, Facebook began rolling out changes to the way they allow contact between users.
If you want to send a message to someone you're not friends with and make sure it lands in their "Inbox" versus their "Other" mailbox, you'll have to pay $1.
This is a problem for folks like me who administer several brand pages. In the past, if someone has posted a question in a discussion thread, I've messaged them directly to avoid derailing the discussion. But not anymore.
However, we can still reply to your messages, so if you have a question message us directly.
In other Facebook news, they'll be making an announcement on Thursday about changes to their newsfeed.
I'll post some information at Facebook.com/JamieButow2 Thursday afternoon.