School district ban students from sharing treats

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -- As school gets underway across Wisconsin, one district implemented a policy bringing students' health and wellness to the forefront. Appleton Area Schools no longer will allow students to bring in snacks to share with classmates.

Celebrating your birthday at school is a rite of passage for some kids, and for decades that meant bringing treats to share with classmates. Under the new policy, that tradition will end. The district says it's about promoting wellness, safety for medical conditions or allergies, and equity by reducing social and economic pressures.

"It's really about shifting from the snack, the item to really shifting that direction towards students and really making that celebration and that honoring about the student and not about the snack that he or she is bringing in," said Steve Harrison with the Appleton Area School District.

Sue Kuehl, a first grade teacher at Appleton's Johnston Elementary School, actually implemented a similar policy in her classroom about 10 years ago. She made the change in order to place the focus on the kids and not what they could or couldn't bring in.

According to Kuehl, "Instead of bringing in a birthday treat, the child gets to choose a special activity to do. They could do extra recess, they could bring in a book from home and read a story to the class, we play class games. Sometimes we've had special brain break dances, exercise things, something that they feel special about."

The decision was met with some opposition by parents, mostly online. Rebecca Brown is a mom and owner of an allergy-friendly bakery in Appleton. She said the policy makes sense.

Brown added, "Our home, we eat very clean, so also with food diets and processed foods, I like that my kids aren't eating those options, I feel good about that, that it's focused on the kid and not the treat."