Not even the teachers are exempt from St. Paul's new "sweet-free" zoning. In fact, even the school principal is having to learn that rewards for a job well done can no longer include a candy bar because all the public schools in the St. Paul school district are to be declared free of all sweets by the end of the year.
Minnesota's second largest school district plans to enforce a ban on all sweets in response to a childhood obesity rate of 40 percent, 11 percent higher than the national average.
"It's very basic. Healthier kids are better learners," said Ann Hoxie, the district's assistant director for student health and wellness.
Reminders are being sent home to parents that "sweet, sticky, fat-laden [and] salty treats" are no longer allowed during the 6 ½ hour school day. According to the story in the Star Tribune, St. Paul administrators say they're preparing for stricter rules that could soon be handed down through the Child Nutrition Bill signed by President Obama last week. In the upcoming year, the federal government will write new rules that outline what can be served on school grounds along with school fundraisers and events.
I wrote earlier this year about a Wisconsin school district that cut crime by changing the menu. They took an innovative approach to fixing crime and discontent by removing vending machines and replacing processed burgers and fries with fruits and vegetables.
School administrators say that with the departure of junk food, there was also a departure of vandalism, litter, and the need for police patrolling the hallways. The students were calm, socially engaged, and focused on their schoolwork rather than causing trouble during the school day.