Robyn Margulis Vernon Ogrodnek

Schools have rules. This is understandable and necessary. Certainly we would not want our kids attending school with a bunch of hooligans who are permitted to run amok. Obviously this would not bode well for the educational process. Rules that promote respect and safety and inhibit unruly or inappropriate conduct are vital components of an effective learning environment. I would expect nothing less from my children's educational institution.

But these days, it seems like some school boards are comprised of a bunch of politically correct control freaks - especially when it comes to certain aspects of their nutritional policies and dress codes.

According to the experts, there is an obesity epidemic with kids today. You have certainly heard the news reports, and perhaps you've seen the politicians on their soap boxes talking about it. Maybe you've noticed a greater percentage of chubby kids in class photos or the increase in "husky-sized" clothing lines in department stores. We know that bad eating habits and less activity are usually to blame. So I understand the importance of school initiatives that promote activity and healthy eating habits.

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But it seems to me that there is a fine line between policies with good motives and policies that go overboard. Is it really necessary for the Board of Ed. powers-that-be to be a bunch of party poopers? Gone are the days when children are allowed to bring birthday cupcakes to school in some districts. Bake sales and candy bar fundraisers are no longer permissible in others. Some say kids may not bring in any snacks to share with classmates if the snacks' first listed ingredient is sugar.

Do the rule-makers really think that by banning sugary treats in schools the obesity epidemic will be ameliorated? If so then they are fools.

Sugar is not the only enemy to the school dictators these days. The latest foe is a little rubber bracelet similar to the Lance Armstrong cancer awareness bracelets. The purportedly offensive bracelets, sold in white, black, or pink, and in support of breast cancer awareness, are emblazoned with the eye-catching and consequently effective phrase "I ♥ boobies!" and a very clever play on words "Keep-a-breast." The popularity of the bracelets has spread quickly. So has the controversy (including lawsuits in some states).

My 11-year-old son bought two of the bracelets from a female friend. He proudly informed me that he used his own money to purchase them and knew about the cause that he was supporting. Quickly he and others at his school were informed that they were not permitted to wear them on school property. While I did not inquire with officials the specific reason for the ban at my son's school, I read an article where a school official attempted to defend the ban at his school by saying the slogan on the bracelets was in violation of their policy against sexually suggestive language on clothing.

The word "boobies" is sexually suggestive? Really? I used that word when my kids were little and they pointed to my chest and asked, "Mommy, what are those?"

For those who agree with that school official, I'll ask you: Do you think that kids today are really that immature? Do you think our schools are packed with a bunch of Beavis's and Buttheads'? (Huh, huh, that says "boobies." Huh, huh.)

Can we give our kids a little more credit? It's not like the bracelets say, "I ♥ knockers!" I could understand the flack if the T-word was used. Even if the bracelets do illicit a little snickering, so what? They've got kids thinking about breast cancer awareness. And they have them talking about it too.

When was the last time your tween or teen truly became aware of, let alone supported, a worthy cause? Typically, the only causes young people become a part of these days are those that are self-serving.

I do believe that school officials generally do a good job in crafting policies and rules that are appropriate and necessary. But sometimes I think they really need to get a grip on reality and lighten the heck up.



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