We’ve heard of the lunch box police. But now the cake police is out in full force and some parents are not happy (although the anti-sugar brigade is celebrating!).
We know that more and more schools are jumping onto the no packaged snacks / zero treats bandwagon and most parents are not amused. Seriously, don’t we have enough to think about with Jimmy’s melt-downs and Johnny’s mound of homework to now start worrying that our kids’ lunchboxes will be ransacked by gung-ho so-called ‘healthy’ school policies.
Banning Birthday Cakes AND Icing
I almost had my own temper tantrum when our pre-school told me that they’re banning icing on birthday cakes. Plus the cake had to be ‘nutritious’ – no sugar, no taste and no icing, and certainly no colourants, were allowed. Oh.my.goodness! What’s a birthday cake without fluorescent pink frosting? It’s my child’s special day once a year and so what if the kids get a slice of cake 20 times over the year (one cake for each child in their class). That’s 20 slices of cake spread over 365 days. Is it really that big a deal? These dumb policies literally suck the fun and the flavour out of any special occasion. And don’t tell me that the teachers don’t celebrate their birthdays with a fat slice or two of sugar-laden, buttercream-slathered, ‘real’ cake. Hypocritical and ridiculous. We should be teaching our kids that healthy eating is all about balance, and that includes enjoying a piece of cake WITH icing on their birthday.
COVID Cancels Cakes
I completely understand that COVID has influenced the cake policy in many schools. I used to spend hours baking and frosting enough cupcakes to feed a class to celebrate my child’s birthday. But last year everything changed and we weren’t allowed to bring in any homebaked goodies. Instead, I bought a box of individually wrapped mini chocolates and my daughter handed these out. Easiest birthday ever.
However, whilst virus restrictions have relaxed in most places, schools are holding tightly to that anti-cake policy.
Cake bans are not new but the reasons for them have evolved over time. Two years ago, we reported that St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, in Campbelltown, Sydney had advised parents that birthday cakes, slices, doughnuts, biscuits and similar foods will no longer be permitted to be brought to school and given to children to celebrate birthdays and other events.
They said that this was to protect children who were severely allergic to such foods, particularly those that contained nuts and eggs.
Instead, it was suggested parents could buy an ‘ice block’ for each child in the class in lieu of celebrating with a cake.
Threats To Healthy Eating
But now, schools are banning cakes due to health reasons.
Wollondilly Anglican College in the Wollondilly Shire in South West Sydney, has placed a blanket ban on birthday cakes.
Pastoral care coordinator Lisa Maher said there was too many “birthday treats” bought to school, which then threatened the school’s healthy eating policy, as reported in Yahoo! News.
Too Much Cake (Gosh, Is There Really Such a Thing?)
“Birthdays are special and many children love sharing their special day by bringing in a cake or treats to share with their classmates at the college,” she wrote in a school newsletter
“While this is a lovely gesture, the number of birthday treats coming into the college each day is causing concern.
“Most weeks see a birthday or two from each class, sometimes several on one day. This makes it difficult to promote our healthy eating policy amongst the junior years.”
“Students will no longer be able to bring class cakes or birthday treats to school. Teachers will ensure your child’s birthday does not go unnoticed and they are made to feel special on this important day,” she said.
She also noted that bringing birthday treats was placing some parents under “additional stress” who may not have the time or budget for this extra expense.
Greta Primary School in the NSW Hunter Region has also banned cakes, encouraging parents to buy a box of icy poles from the canteen as a “Birthday Bucket”.
Manly Village Public School has also asked parents to go down the ice block route for birthday celebrations and two schools in Newcastle (New Lambton South Public school and Bishop Tyrell Anglican College) have also said a big No-no to birthday cake.
School’s Choice To Be Anti-Cake
The NSW Department of Education said that it is up to each school to determine its own policy on outside food.
“This is managed on a school-by-school basis, where each individual school determines and implements the necessary risk management processes for their school based on the needs and circumstances of their student population – a strategy similarly implemented by a number of schools across the state,” the Department of Education spokesperson said.
What do you think of this business of schools banning birthday cakes? Good, bad, crazy, don’t care? Tell us in the comments below.