February 03, 2006

Oh, good grief.

Fla. children protest candy sale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — More than a dozen elementary school students refused to sell chocolate bars and potato chips to raise money for trips, saying they had learned in class about the health dangers of such snacks.

"If they tell us to don't eat junk food and then after school we sell it, that disobeys what they said," said 10-year-old Daphnie Auguste, a member of the defiant class of 19 gifted fourth- and fifth-graders at North Side Elementary.

Their teacher, Monique Manigat, who is also the school's wellness liaison, said the students came up with the boycott themselves but finding an alternative hasn't been easy. She said she tried to organize car washes for her pupils but the school couldn't afford the necessary insurance.

"Parents are contributing as much as they can. They just don't have the means to foot the whole bill," Manigat said.

Fifth-graders have until the end of February to raise the remaining $12,000 needed for a weeklong trip in May to Williamsburg, Va., and Washington, D.C.

Daphnie said she hasn't raised one dollar toward her personal $455 goal.

"I'm happy because people won't get fat. But I'm sad because how are we going to get the money to go on our field trip?"

Eighty percent of the school's pupils are eligible for a lunch program for low-income students.

::sigh:: I don't know what's worse--the fact that the school's "wellness liaison" seems to have very little in the way of intelligence, the fact that there's such a thing as a "wellness liaison" in the school, the fact that this school seems only to be able to hire people with mush for brains, or the idea that paying for an expensive trip to Washington might require a bit more fundraising planning and creativity if the kids aren't rich.

Okay, let's see--these are supposedly defiantly gifted children, how 'bout we help them by using OUR brains for a minute.

As a fat person, I can say without hesitation that it's not candy and chips that's bad for you--it's eating TOO MUCH candy and chips that CAN be bad for you, especially if you don't eat a well-balanced diet. This kind of nutritional scare tactic has taken a huge amount of joy out of the lives of kids. You want my idea about what has caused the increase in the number of overweight people? The healthy, eat-more-bread/pasta/baked potato/rice fad that nutritionists got kicked off in the '80s. No, candy and chips shouldn't be all you eat, but having a little enjoyment from a piece of candy won't hurt as much as people are letting on.

Second--are candy and chips the ONLY thing they can sell to raise money?! What about finding a local organic wheatgrass juice bottler who will lend a hand and give them a nutritious beverage to foist on customers? What about wrapping paper? (Or is that degrading to packages?) What about magazines? What about coupon books? These kids are supposed to be smart--can't they figure this out? Well, obviously, they're just kids, and might not know such things--which leaves me wondering why the ADULTS can't make a few suggestions.

Third--how about this: raise money first, and then decide after you've finished what sort of field trip you can afford to take. Yes, it would be nice to go to Washington and Williamsburg, but sometimes those things are out of reach. (And this comes from someone who has to repeatedly tell his four kids that we can't afford to send them off on $500 field trips every six months.) It's pretty sad that these kids seem saddled with people who seem bent on making sure they see every setback as an excuse to accept victimhood.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 11:12 AM

And why do they need to go on a $12,000 trip. Yes, those are historical hotspots and I am spoiled by having them in my backyard, but there are such things much closer to home in Florida(The Castillo De San Marcos is just one example) and they should tour their own states capital. Williamsburg is a pricey destination and DC is no better.

Posted by: Sarah G. at February 3, 2006 11:29 AM

Hmmm. I wonder how much the wellness liaison makes in a year? Probably more than 12 grand. You could probably get rid of her & have the money to go. Maybe even a little left over at the end to buy some chips & candy bars.

This is the sort of absolutism that screws peoples lives up. As you say, candy sometimes is OK, candy all the time is not. Per our other discussion, maybe these folks have more in common with the psycho mullahs than I thought.

Posted by: skinnydan at February 3, 2006 12:20 PM

Sorta makes you wonder what else they might be learning. Or not learning.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 12:48 PM

LEGALIZE JUNK FOOD! Before otherwise law-abiding people like myself turn to the black market to get our $3.00 chocolate bars. DON'T TURN ME INTO A CRIMINAL!

Posted by: skillzy at February 3, 2006 12:57 PM

$3.00? After we legalize it, we'll obviously have to tax it heavily to discourage people from eating it, and to pay for each child to have his or her own personal, live-in wellness liaison. So, I figure your $3.00 bar of chocolate should probably run about $28 or so.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 01:16 PM

Ohhhh. Somebody had soggy Sugar Frosted Flakes for breakfast this morning. As your token liberal/vegetarian, I applaud those kids.

Posted by: vachon at February 3, 2006 01:31 PM

It's not the type of food article being peddled nearly so much as it is that I'm irked that everyone is acting as though the only thing they could do to raise money was sell candy.

Why not come up with a constructive, inventive way to sell something else if you don't like selling candy? There is obviously a market for vegetarian/vegan/organic/Soylent Green/tasteless cardboard food products--why not work with a company that makes that stuff to get the word out in the community about healthy food choices AND raise some money, too?

Why sit around and mope about it?

These are supposed to be smart kids with smart teachers--well, if this is the extent of it, I think if I was those kids' parents I'd be asking why they aren't getting better service from the folks who put themselves out there as the professionals.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 02:02 PM

How about selling freeze-dried Cornatees? Shnitzel on a stick? AoW coffee mugs and pocket protectors? The mind reels at the possibilities ...

I ABHOR the fund-raising that schools foist upon the innocent students. With 4 youngsters, I don't know how many times you have to fight that pit growing in your stomach every time one of them brings home the latest money-grubbing scheme from the benevolent school administrators.

May as well sell refrigerator art to finance the latest junket to DC.

Posted by: MarcV at February 3, 2006 02:31 PM

It's a constant stream of stuff--every one of them, nearly every other week. They sometimes manage to hook Grandmom or Mom with stuff, but I've taken to just hiding their envelopes until they forget about them.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 02:49 PM

And in a related bit of news...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 3, 2006 02:57 PM

We had a bake sale at school yesterday to raise some money for the library I'm starting. We sold cookies and very few hippie Germans were opposed to a few cookies in their diet. If a little junk food is good enough for hippie German types, then I think any one can eat a little of it now and again. Mmmm...cookies...

Posted by: Jordana at February 3, 2006 07:11 PM

MMmmm--hippie Germans!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 6, 2006 08:45 AM