at the bake sale

at the bake sale (Photo credit: tiny banquet committee)

Almost every day I read an article from a news source and wonder, “Is this for real?” and I cross-check other sources to make sure the story is accurate. Here is an example that turns out to be accurate: A number of schools in the United States have banned bake sales as fundraisers due to their selling “junk food” and alleged encouragement of obesity. Apparently one place this has happened is in the schools of Massachusetts (surprise!) and another place is a district in Maryland.  Now obesity is not a good thing–it can lead to serious health problems. It is also true that Americans have an addiction to junk food. However, to police what children can sell at bake sales smacks of Puritanical totalitarianism. Those Americans who are not busybodies about violators of religious orthodoxy find another religion, whether it be the War on Drugs or the fight against junk food. In the past, Prohibition was the great Puritanical crusade. Some Americans are not happy unless they can force their nosiness down the throats of others by government power. Thus, food totalitarians have banned bake sales, which are excellent means of fundraising by school organizations. Many clubs on the university campus where I teach have bake sales, and I buy and enjoy the “junk food.” To any Puritan who wishes to force his beliefs on me, my response is “Don’t tread on me.” Thankfully, parents see the silliness of the bake sale ban. A simple way to stop such nonsense is to elect a school board that is not composed of nosy busybodies who have nothing better to do than to police free people’s food. They may reply, “But some of this junk food is being sold to children!” Unless parents have a child who is morbidly obese and overstuff him, which is an extreme case anyway, if parents have no problem with their children eating what is sold at bake sales, there should be freedom to decide what foods to buy. Those arranging bake sales should also have the right to sell cookies, brownies, and other staples of bake sales, as well as the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. If Ms. Yogurt Breath still wants to discourage junk foods (by the way, I like yogurt), she can use education and try to convince people to change their minds. It is way past time to get the food police out of the schools of the United States.