How DARE Some Lady Give Cookies to Kids?

Readers — This story from Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins is heartwarming, and enraging.

Seems a mom there, Anne Tabat, wanted to thank her kids’ school bus driver. So she baked some cookies and brought them to the bus stop — one for the driver and one for each of the kids on the bus, too. Her idea was to reach out. Connect. She did this every Friday for 15 years…until last week.

That’s when some anonymous person officially alerted the school district to this unofficially sanctioned practice.  We don’t know why the caller called, and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that once alerted, the school district felt compelled to shut her down. So,  my proposal:

To honor the cookie lady and to connect with each other, why not do one of the two things Tabat did? Either bake a treat for your bus driver and the kids. Or hold a cookie open house. That’s what Tabat is doing this weekend, and does annually. She just bakes a ton of cookies and invites the neighborhood to drop by. This year, of course,  they’ll all have something to talk about:

Some of her neighbors, [Tabat] says, are more upset about the cookie-bus indignity than she is. “I kept saying if you’re going to do something about this, go out and thank your bus driver. Get to know people, not just your neighbors. Get to know everyone on the planet you’re rubbing shoulders with. There are so many people doing things to make your life better, and they never get thanked for it. People are good.” 

The vast majority are. (And then there are the ones who alert the authorities to random acts of kindness.)  To win one for our team, I pledge to do some cookie baking today, and to use those cookies to connect. – L.


What kind of monster bakes cookies for kids and bus drivers?

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103 Responses to How DARE Some Lady Give Cookies to Kids?

  1. Krolik December 20, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    What a great idea. Wish I’d seen this a bit earlier. Today is the last day of school before Christmas holidays, a perfect time to thank the bus driver, but the bus has already left and I haven’t even started baking :).

  2. Jodie December 20, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Unless there’s a law against baking cookies, she has every right to bake them ande give them to whoever she wants. What legal right does the district have to stop her?

  3. Joanne December 20, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    I can understand why someone would be concerned, but to call the district and kill the mom’s idea was really stupid. Surprises are nice, but in today’s society where some kid you’re feeding a cookie to could very possibly have a food allergy you weren’t aware of, it’s best to plan ahead. Better to know what kids are and aren’t able to tolerate for food and give an alternative treat to the ones with certain intolerances or allergies, than to have an irate parent or several screaming at you or suing for payment of the child’s medical expenses because their child may have had a reaction to something you made without checking first. Giving out cookies and other holiday treats as a gesture of appreciation can certainly be done, but always be careful, IMHO.

  4. sue December 20, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    well let’s drag her off to prison, she was apparently grooming these kids for the porn industry[sorry my sarcasm switch is set on high today]. several cliches spring to mind upmost being no good deed goes unpunished. never mind that she set an example of community and good will, we can’t have that can we, what if the kids learn not everybody outside of home and school is to be feared. and yes a child might have had an allergy BUT that wasn’t mentioned and if the kid is old enough to go to school shouldn’t they be old enough to know not to accept suspect food? or will their delicate ego not be able to handle not getting something? why not have the entire school eat an allergy free diet so they don’t go thru this at lunch.? makes as much sense. can’t wat to see what happens.

  5. Peter December 20, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Cookies contain Wheat Flour which is loaded full of toxins. Wheat has been morphed into something that is slowly poisoning us every time we take a bite of sweet delicious baked goods. It’s a highly addictive slow toxin. I gave it up a year and a quarter ago and I’ve never felt better in my life.

    While I’m sure the kids eat plenty of that rubbish at lunch, some of the parents may be trying to keep their kids away from it. This sort of activity makes that infinitely harder.

  6. Selby December 20, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    Too late, everyone already ate the cookies. What, did Dolly Do-Gooder the anonymous tip-offer demand syrup of ipecac of everyone on the bus?

  7. Uly December 20, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    I’ve done that with people who take the same train as me every day.

    Heck, last Halloween I gave out real baked goods, though only to people who knew me (because, as I explained to the others, I put too much effort into those to risk somebody throwing them away. If they’d really wanted one, I would’ve given it over, but nobody protested at that policy.)

  8. Andy December 20, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    I would not mind my kid being given random cookie once in a while, but extra cookie from one person every week is too often.

    It is not like kids would suffer from lack of sweats these days. It seems more like that everywhere kids turn, someone is trying to give them sweats. Any single one of them is not a problem, the combined amount of sweats they are given is.

    I understand that obesity is parenting problem, but regular actions like this make it much difficult for parents that fighting that problem.

  9. Allison December 20, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Seriously…we’re going to turn this into a “think of the allergic” and anti-wheat screeds?

    If your child can’t eat a cookie, or you don’t want them to eat a cookie (ever), teach them that from the time they are little because the fact is that there WILL be a cookie sometime in their future.

    Demonizing those who serve and eat cookies is unbelieveably crass.

  10. Selby December 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    It’s the holiday season, there’s going to be a sugar rush. Deal. Or teach your kids to say no. (Good luck with that…as much as you howl “poison!” they’re gonna eat it when your back is turned)

  11. Lola December 20, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I sort of understand about allergies concerns, but really, giving baby carrots away is not quite as compelling…
    Over here, we have the “aguinaldo” tradition. During Christmas time, people who have a public service job (mailman, street sweeper, concierge or whatever) go door to door to wish everybody a merry Christmas. Users then correspond with the “aguinaldo”, a modest amount of money or goods to thank them.

  12. Kris December 20, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Peter, I think you miss the point. I, too, have given up wheat products and also feel much better. But homemade goodies, be it beef jerky or cookies, are done from the heart and are meant to bring warmth and smiles. And I, as a baker hobbyist and in a grocery store, still love to bake cookies and give them out with only a genuine smile and a hope to brighten someone’s day. I am sure this is what Ms Tabat had in her mind as well.

    Sigh…no good deed…

  13. Andrew December 20, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    One cookie, once a week, is suddenly a health threat? Good grief.

    Do we know why the school district felt forced to prohibit these children eating free cookies? (How stupid does that sound: next, they should try commanding the tide not to come in.)

    How old are these children? High School? Most will know if they have an allergy anyway. In the last 15 years, has anyone actually had an allergic reaction? It is not as if they are being forced to take a cookie.

    As Jodie says, there is nothing the school district can do to stop children accepting a free cookie if they so wish.

  14. E December 20, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Echoing the poster who said if your child has a food allergy or this is against what you think they should be eating, then work that out with your kid.

    She’s been doing this for 15 years!

  15. Linda Wightman December 20, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I get the point that some kids might have been allergic to something in the cookies, but in the “old days” kids with allergies, or diabetes, or something else that made them unable to eat what most people can were simply taught to avoid suspect foods. The difference these days is that some allergies are privileged in making everyone responsible for keeping them away from those who are allergic. I say “some allergies” because of what’s ignored. I know two people with life-threatening allergies to corn (twice as many as I know with peanut allergies), yet corn doesn’t get a warning label on food products. (Perhaps that’s because they’d have to put the label on almost all processed foods!) And cats are allowed to fly in the small, enclosed space of an airplane cabin, without regard to those of us who are allergic to the cat dander that puts into the recycled air.

    I understand the fear that comes with having a child who can have a deadly reaction to something in ordinary food, which seems to be more and more common these days. But rather than simply accommodating this, shouldn’t there be more anger and angst directed at finding out why allergies have become so common, rather than banning those very activities that make life human and humane, such as the giving of gifts of food made by hand and with love?

  16. Maggie December 20, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    She has been doing this every Friday for 15 YEARS? If she was a nefarious, dangerous person, out to poison children, I think someone would have caught on by now.

    Poor lady. Poor kids. I bet they looked forward to those Friday cookies.

  17. Donna December 20, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Give me a break with allergies, sugar and wheat.

    If your kid has allergies, s/he needs to learn far before attending elementary school away from you for half of his/her waking hours to be able to identify what s/he can eat or to not eat anything given to them by anyone else. If they can’t learn that, homeschool and stay with them 24/7 so that you can intercept. Sorry to appear unsympathetic, but we’ve gone way to the extreme in our over-accommodating allergies. Life-proof your allergic kids instead of expecting the world to become allergy-proof. And I say that as the mother of an allergic kid and the child of an allergic mother neither of whom expect to never be offered items containing their allergy and neither of whom think it is an outrage to have to say “does that have ____ in it” or “no, I’m allergic to that” or even just “no thank you” when offered some food item.

    Better yet, tell your kid to speak up and say “I’m allergic to ______ and can’t eat that.” Odds are a mother who bakes cookies for the bus driver and all the kids once a week will most likely go out of her way to find something your child can eat if properly informed.

    As for sugar and wheat. They exist in the world. They will be offered to your children. If this is a horrible personal affront to you, again, either teach your children to say “no” or stay with them 24/7 to intercede on their behalf. The rest of the world will not accommodate you.

  18. Maggie December 20, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Has there been an incident of a child having an allergic reaction to her cookies?

    She has been doing this every week.

    For 15 years.

    It’s December. The kids on the bus have been eating her cookies for 3 months or longer. Some have been eating her cookies every week for years.

    Somehow, I don’t see the problem.

  19. marie December 20, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I can understand why someone would be concerned…

    I cannot.

  20. Sharon Davids December 20, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    One of highlights, at least according to the children, was when a third grader managed to get free ice cream from a vendor coming to stock a local market. She approached the men in the van, said she and her friends were hungry, and could they have any extra ice cream.

    My daughter, who was in second grade, at the time couldn’t believe she did it. She did take the ice cream for a second breakfast and never forgot about it. Kids are entitled to new experiences even if it is not what the parents want.

  21. Buffy December 20, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    “Give me a break with allergies, sugar and wheat.”

    So much this. Every week for 15 years…..I think the allergy thing would have come up long ago if it were affecting hoardes of kids on this one bus.

  22. Gary December 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I used to like coming here, now seeing some of the people that are commenting I f!@#$%^ hate it.

  23. Gary December 20, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    “So much this. Every week for 15 years…..I think the allergy thing would have come up long ago if it were affecting hoardes of kids on this one bus.”

    Yup, I tried finding a decent clip of Cloverfield where Marlena inflated like a balloon and popped, but alas, it was just not meant to be today.

  24. Warren December 20, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Enough with the allergies, special diets and personal feelings on toxic cookies.
    If your kid doesn’t know how to politely decline due to these reasons, that is your problem as a parent. This is just another case of a busybody that does not stand up and be held accountable for their complaining.

  25. nina December 20, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Be it food allergies or other dietary restrictions, kids should be aware of them by the time they are school age. Just last week in my son’s middle school one of the substitute teachers brought a tub of mac n cheese for the kids to eat during study hall. My son loves mac n cheese but this particular kind had bacon bits in it. We do not eat pork, so my son felt he had to abstain from the treat. Instead of being upset by the incident, he actually felt proud that he was able to resist. We have friends whose kids have significant food allergies. The youngest is 4, but he knows very well not to accept outside food no matter how good it looks.

  26. C. S. P. Schofield December 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm #


    You cannot child-proof the world, so you are going to have to world-proof your child. If said child is too weak willed to turn down something that will make him sick, then said child is doomed anyway.

    In any case, the evangelical urge to refrain from eating foods that have been part of man’s diet for tens of thousands of years is a social aberration. Society is probably not going to accommodate you, and if you want your family to follow in your footsteps they are going to have to be convinced by you , since they won’t be policed by strangers.

  27. Michelle H December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Just FYI I’ve been doing low carb, so have cut out most sweets. 1 cookie once a week is not going to mess anybody’s “no wheat” issues and no sweets issues (non allergic). I don’t know what happened to personal responsibility. “Thank you for the offer, but no for me” is all that an allergic kid or whatever has to say. It’s always 1 person who ruins something for everybody else.

  28. lollipoplover December 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    “Seriously…we’re going to turn this into a “think of the allergic” and anti-wheat screeds?”

    It’s just a cookie.
    But an incredibly kind gesture.

    Shame on the person who insisted this be shut down.
    There are three words you could have taught your child if you didn’t want them to participate in this sweet tradition:
    “No thank you!”
    Instead, you take away what may have been the highlight of the week (it would have been for me, I have such a sweet tooth)for kids and a kind woman’s legacy.

    I sent in Christmas cookies already this week for school and we usually distribute to all of neighbors too.Everyone has a specialty- mine’s double chocolate macadamia nut- I gain 5 lbs. just taste testing them they’re soo good. But I guess we are cookie lovers around here…

    When we demonize a cookie to children, we have to seriously rethink our priorites in life. If you don’t want your kid to get a cookie, teach them to say no. The cookie is not bad. It’s really not, in the whole scheme of things.

  29. BL December 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I’m extremely allergic to busybodies.

  30. Jennifer December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    When I was a kid, there was a man in our town that made cookies for the kids. During the summer when we were done at the community pool, we would stop at his side door, he would do a head count and come back with the best home made sugar cookies tha size of an adult fist. Those are very cherrished memories for the kids I grew up with. Imagine that today. So so sad.

  31. Gary December 20, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    “Imagine that today.”

    Something something lockdown, something something pedophile, something something background checks, something dark side, something something complete…

  32. J.T. Wenting December 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    hmm, what if every parent of every kid in that school district were to send a box of cookies to the school staffer responsible every day of the year until she comes to her senses?

    Poetic justice.

  33. Lee Markosian December 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    If sugary treats were harmless, I’d agree that this is an overreaction. But sugary treats are not harmless, and handing them out to kids without permission is pretty obnoxious. Try tangerines next time 😉

  34. Papilio December 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I agree it’s ridiculous to shut this woman down after 15 years, as a cookie every once in a while isn’t going to do any harm to that vast majority that isn’t allergic.

    But I’m with Andy on the rest: every single Friday seems a bit… much to me. I can see once a year, or the Friday before the more important holidays and the summer vacation, or whatever, but not monthly, and certainly not weekly.

    “I understand that obesity is parenting problem”

    I’d say it’s a societal problem.

  35. pentamom December 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    “But sugary treats are not harmless, and handing them out to kids without permission is pretty obnoxious.”

    Obnoxious? OBNOXIOUS????? Sharing a treat with kids is now OBNOXIOUS????

    I understand that from your perspective, it is less than ideally thoughtful because it does not consider that sugary treats cause some level of harm (like everything else in the world) and some parents may not wish their kids to have them, ever.

    But doing a nice thing is NEVER obnoxious unless the person is so ignorant that they think they’re being nice by doing something acutely or severely harmful. Period.

  36. Buffy December 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    “I can see once a year, or the Friday before the more important holidays and the summer vacation, or whatever, but not monthly, and certainly not weekly.”

    But here’s the thing – it’s not up to you. The woman decided to do a kind deed, and obviously she loves baking, and decided to do it once a week. Any child on that bus, or the bus driver, was free to say “no” to the cookie on any given Friday, and possibly some did. Maybe some parents even told their kids to just take a cookie once a month, for example. But the baking and distribution schedule of the cookies was her decision alone, and all of us clutching our pearls doesn’t change that.

  37. Steve Cournoyer December 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    the person who called it probably didn’t get any cookies….

  38. Donna December 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    If you truly feel that one cookie a week is too much for your children, I feel pretty sad for your children.

    If you truly think that one cookie a week is even slightly contributing to the obesity problem, you are seriously deluded.

    It is a cookie, not plutonium. Kids have been eating more than a cookie a week for as long as there have been cookies and kids. A child who eats a well-balanced diet and gets an reasonable amount of exercise is not going to tipped into obesity and ill health by a cookie every Friday from a nice lady on the bus. Heck, a child who eats a well-balanced diet and gets reasonable exercise is not going to be tipped into obesity and ill health if given a cookie on the bus every day.

    And, again, if the idea of your precious child eating a cookie a week is really just too much for you to bear, your children are more than welcome to say “no thank you” while continuing to allow the children with slightly less anal parents the pleasure of eating their cookies. It is not your job to police the eating habits of every kid on the school bus. This is no better than the woman who wanted to give out letters to fat kids for Halloween (albeit a fake story, some of you seem equally scrooge-like).

  39. Melanie Jones December 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    The only thing that bothers me about this story is the anonymous tip. Really it does take a village and if you want the kids in your village to eat tangerines in Friday instead of cookies rust us great. Get parents together and stage an intervention. But anonymous official intervention is so lame and i am sure the school district hates being forced to get involved too. And I have watched some kids that are not allowed wheat or sugar deny politely offers of treats. They aren’t allergic, their parents just don’t allow wheat and sugar. Because they believe it is disgusting vile crap, they aren’t crying whenthey turn it down. But if you are aware your village isn’t fond of cookie Friday and you have been made aware, why not change over to high five Friday or whatever passes the social test? From another perspective cookies every Friday seems a little helicoptery – like why so much need to ensure Friday happiness? Isn’t just the happiness of it being Friday enough? Do you really need to own the happiness of Friday? But i don’t know the person so that may not be it at all.

  40. Donna December 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    So now it is helicopter-y to offer the bus driver and children cookies on Friday? And doing so somehow indicates that you believe that you must own the happiness that is Friday?

    And with that comment, I have definitively concluded that the people here are as crazy as the people Lenore fights against.

  41. SOA December 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    It was nice what she did and I know she had good intentions. But she should have given them just to the bus driver and not the kids. With food allergies being so prevalent most schools have a policy about no unauthorized food treats at school and that includes the bus. So her cookies would be breaking that rule. That rule is so that a kid does not eat something they might be allergic to and also so they are not left sitting there with nothing while all the other kids eat the treat.

    I approve of it honestly. The kids don’t need to be given cookies all the time. Non food treats are just as cool. I actually get quite pissed when parents break the no treats rule at school and bring it stuff they are not supposed to. It is not fair to the other parents who follow the rule. For class parties the food allergy kid’s parents make sure to supply treats that everyone can eat and that way everyone is happy. But that takes planning. If people bring in food at random times there is no way to plan for that.

  42. SOA December 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I can’t believe Andrew asked if someone has had an allergic reaction in the last 15 years. Was that a joke? Um how about the several kids that die every year from allergic reactions? The most recent one was this Summer when a girl died from one bite of a rice krispy treat right in front of her parents one of whom was a doctor. Even with two epipens she still died. So yes, people still have allergic reactions.

  43. Beth December 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Dolly, err SOA, I’m pretty sure Andrew and everyone else was referring to allergic reactions in the last 15 years that the cookies were passed out weekly ON THIS BUS, not the entire world.

  44. Coasterfreak December 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    “Try tangerines next time”

    I sincerely hope this was a joke.

    I am allergic to all fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m not kidding, they have to be cooked or my throat gets all itchy and my lips puff up. Citrus gives me the most severe reaction. Thankfully it’s nothing life-threatening, but don’t just go assuming that all people can have tangerines just because they’re healthy!

    On the other hand, I can eat as many cookies as I want. 🙂

    (while the above story is true, please understand I’m being sarcastic)

  45. Stephanie December 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    There’s a kid in my daughter’s preschool class who is allergic to eggs. He knows he has to be careful about treats, even though it makes him sad to have to have different treats than his classmates. It’s a real enough problem, but I would expect kids in elementary school to know how to politely decline something they’re allergic to.

  46. Puzzled December 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    >I approve of it honestly. The kids don’t need to be given >cookies all the time. Non food treats are just as cool. I >actually get quite pissed when parents break the no treats >rule at school and bring it stuff they are not supposed to. It >is not fair to the other parents who follow the rule. For >class parties the food allergy kid’s parents make sure to >supply treats that everyone can eat and that way everyone is >happy. But that takes planning. If people bring in food at >random times there is no way to plan for that.

    Two bad ideas:
    1. Following illogical or unjust rules in the name of equality and consistency.
    2. The idea that something that can’t be planned for is bad.

  47. Eliza December 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    I can just imagine that anonymous person observing our family’s Christmas Eve tradition. I live in Australia, so Christmas is during summer. One of the activities people enjoy in the country town my mother lives in, is to walk around at night on Christmas Eve to look at the lights on peoples’ homes. Our family is one of a few who love to make home made goodies to hand out to people looking at the lights. We also have some store bought lollies so people can choose. There are people who decline our treats without any fuss. We don’t take it personally (maybe they have had enough treats that day, maybe they are allergic, or maybe they don’t’t trust what we make). My daughter loves handing out the treats. We dress up in a variety of Christmas costumes and we have those daggy Christmas songs playing that we seems to enjoy for a few weeks a year, and everyone leaves our house with a smile, even if they did not take a treat. I can imagine the uproar if the council tried to ban giving out treats on Christmas Eve.

  48. everydayrose December 20, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    “For class parties the food allergy kid’s parents make sure to supply treats that everyone can eat and that way everyone is happy.”

    Um no. That’s ridiculous to assume something like that. My daughter is allergic to peanuts and she has to say no to all baked goods that she’s not sure about. She’s in the 7th grade this year and never once have I supplied treats for a class party.

    Both of my kids, also, are vegetarian which means lots of saying no thank you. Once again, I’ve never bothered to supply things for parties that they can eat. (oh wait..there was one time I sent veggie hot dogs with my daughter for her pre-k end of year cookout but I only sent them for her and nobody else!)

    I don’t do this because the truth is I don’t care about attempting to make life ‘fair’ for them or for anyone else. Life is not fair and never will be and the younger they learn to cope with that the better off they’ll be. From the time they were very small they were truly thankful to be able to have a class party at all, and thankful for the things that they could eat there. I’m positive that they’ve never been any less happy than any other kid there.

  49. Warren December 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Let’s get something straight.
    Yes it sucks to have a food allergy, yes it sucks to have to do without because of a food allergy.

    Guess what, it sucks even more to do without because others are allergic, and you are not.

    World peace, famine, poverty, etc are issues for all of us to collectively work on. Your child’s nut, egg, wheat or whatever allergy is NOT. It is your child’s problem, and your’s. Not mine or my kids. I am sick and tired of these allergies being made out to be my problem and a problem for my kids.

    If your child has an allergic reaction, it is not the fault of the kindly cookie lady………….it is your fault for not preparing your child for life. It is high time personal responsibility returned to being personal and not community.

  50. Warren December 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    We have always had an open kitchen policy in our house. I do not think there is a kid in our area that hasn’t eaten at our place, at one time or another. Not once have we been proactive and asked about allergies. We assume that if someone is allergic to something they know not to eat it, or at least inquire as to ingredients.

    There are parents that have, or the kids have, informed me of allergies, and we take the appropriate steps.

    As for vegan or vegetarian diets, well sucks to be them………..we are meat lovers, and my bbq would implode if I ever put fake meat on it. LOL. Mind you a well seasoned portabella mushroom cap on the grill is a nice alternative to meat.

  51. Trishwah December 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I know a kid who was diagnosed with celiac sat 3 she was turning down baked goods at 4 with a firm,”I can’t eat that. It will make me sick.” I think this is much ado about nothing.

  52. SOA December 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Food allergies are everyone’s problem because if a kid has a reaction at school it will be the school that gets sued and then the tax payers have to pay for it. As long as the country makes attending school mandatory they are going to have to provide a safe school environment for every child including those with food allergies and if they fail at that, they can and will be sued.

    The worst part is it is fairly easy to work around most kids with food allergies. But most people don’t want to do anything that requires effort or change on their part to make it happen.

  53. exmish December 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    A few years in a row, my (homeschooled) kids and I made cookies and handed them out at the end of our driveway, along with cups of milk, as a Happy Autumn/Back-to-School kindness as the kids got off he bus and walked home. Granted, I live in a very small neighborhood and everyone with kids knows who we are, but it was no big deal.

    Then again, there was the neighbor who called the police to report that we were “obstructing traffic” with our neon green traffic guy that we put out to warn incoming vehicles that there are kids in the area (our house is the first on our No Outlet street and neighborhood kids would congregate by the corner, ride bikes, etc.).

    No good deed goes unpunished! 😀

  54. Sandy December 21, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Just a note (as a mom with a food allergic kid and someone who loves to bake and shared baked goods):
    My kindergartener rides the bus. He has an egg allergy and peanut allergy and knows to say “no thanks” to any food. If someone offered him a cookie (which they do all the time), he says no and explains he has allergies. So, as his mom, I’m not concerned with someone offering him food, like a cookie, because he’s responsible enough to say no. That was our job: to teach him how to handle his allergies before sending him to school.

    At the same time–and this is something no one has mentioned–many buses are now supposed to be food-free. Our bus drivers aren’t allowed to carry epi pens. Although most food allergies (like corn or eggs) require the person to touch or eat the allergic protein before a reaction, peanuts and tree nut reactions can often occur from airborne exposure. So if your child rides the bus and the driver can’t carry an epi pen, and someone gives out peanut butter cookies, well, that’s quite a frightening scenario. (I’d probably try to track down the parent or talk to the driver before calling the school, but that’s not always possible.) Also, nut oils spread easily, so a child with a nut allergy–even if not airborne–can react if the other kids are eating cookies because the oils from the nut spread over the surfaces of the bus. Unless the bus is wiped down after the cookie feast (and, seriously, would anyone expect that), the next kid on the bus touches the nut oil, then his lips, and could go into shock. Something to consider.

    The situation wasn’t clear in this case. Was it just the fact that she was handing out cookies? Or did she give out a more dangerous kind (like peanut butter ones)? Is the bus supposed to be a food-free zone, or can kids eat on it? The issue might be more complicated than the article allows.

    It’s not hard to bake nut-free cookies, and any food allergy kid should know to say no by the time they reach school. But, again, we might want to consider the bigger picture instead of jumping over parents of food allergic children or the mom who baked cookies.

  55. Lee Markosian December 21, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    “It’s just one cookie.” Every week.

    Here’s an alternate scenario set in 1962. A good Samaritan is handing out cigarettes to kids down at the local park. Everyone thinks it’s a nice gesture. Some kids turn it down, but others enjoy their smokes and even get a little dizzy. Then some party pooper starts complaining about how bad cigarettes are, addictive, cancer blah, on and on. Thankfully, some free-range parents set that person straight. C’mon. It’s a nice gesture. AND IT’S JUST ONE CIGARETTE.

    Further reading:

  56. Kay December 21, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    I suppose I could understand if there was one of those extreme airborne peanut allergies but if it’s out of concern for *in case* there were, it’s out of bounds. Agree with others, teach kids to say no thank you. Typically, those who have children with life-threatening allergies have made everyone aware of them.

  57. hineata December 21, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Why, oh why, did the school district cave? That’s the big question here. How can one single anonymous caller get something shut down that’s carried on for so many years? Why can’t people just ignore the busybodies?

    Maybe we should all phone our schools, anonymously of course, and report that NO ONE is handing out Friday afternoon treats to our kids in the name of community, and isn’t it time they did something about that?

  58. J.T. Wenting December 21, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    “But sugary treats are not harmless, and handing them out to kids without permission is pretty obnoxious. Try tangerines next time ;)”

    Now there’s an obnoxious attitude if I ever saw one.
    Tangerines are highly sugary treats, one of them almost certainly contains a lot more sugar than a cookie.

  59. Alex December 21, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    What if I were to bring coffee for all the kids? What if it were gourmet coffee? What if it was home made soda? Cookies, coffee, soda are all potentially addictive substances which are considered unhealthy to portions of the population. I could argue that cookies are worse for a kid then either coffee or soda, yet most would agree you should not freely offer those to children without parent permission. I personally have a problem myself with eating cookies when offered to me but do not crave them when not offered. I am a formerly obese person who has since shed 45 pounds and am now thin and healthy. I appreciate the affect of temptation. I can see why a parent wouldn’t want someone offering a potentially harmful, addictive food with no nutritional value to a kid. It is similar to offices having cake to celebrate every birthday, departure, etc. I think those with willpower to say no do not take into consideration those who have trouble saying no when they make such foods available.

    That being said, a kid does have a right to say, “no thank you,” and cookies are not illegal.

  60. J.T. Wenting December 21, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    “Food allergies are everyone’s problem because if a kid has a reaction at school it will be the school that gets sued and then the tax payers have to pay for it. As long as the country makes attending school mandatory they are going to have to provide a safe school environment for every child including those with food allergies and if they fail at that, they can and will be sued. ”

    Rather “as long as as a country we’re automatically looking for someone to sue in case anything untowards at all happens”.

    You have to problem reversed. The problem is not the people wanting to show kindness by handing out cookies (or whatever) but the “people” trying to get rich quick by suing a school (for example) over their own failure to teach their gluten allergic kid to not eat cookies.

  61. Donna December 21, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    “yet most would agree you should not freely offer those to children without parent permission.”

    Ummm, no. I don’t agree. It is on the PARENTS to teach their children to say “no” if these things are not acceptable to them and to then enforce that rule with their children. I think some need to focus on the Serenity Prayer – “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

    You can’t change other people. Or control their desires. Or their beliefs. Or their happiness. YOU have to take personal responsibility for your life and your desires, beliefs and happiness and not rely on trying to control other people.

    If you have a conviction against soda, coffee, sugar and wheat, then YOU need to refuse it, not try to prevent other people from offering it. If you don’t want your children to partake in these things, pull on your big girl panties and be the bad guy to your children. (Which is my guess that this is all about. One parent didn’t want to be the bad guy and tell her child “no,” so she stopped it for everyone else).

    Ultimately, your children being people separate from you, you can’t totally control them either and the occasional soda, coffee, cookie and wheat is going to come in. You need to accept that too.

    “I think those with willpower to say no do not take into consideration those who have trouble saying no when they make such foods available.”

    Nope. I also have trouble saying “no” to sweets. My problem. Not yours. Not the cookie lady’s. Not the problem of a single one of the 7+ billion people on the planet except me. Nobody else in the world needs to change his action because I lack willpower. I am the only one who needs to change if I don’t like the choices that I am making.

  62. SOA December 21, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    The epipens not being allowed on the bus is how it is in my district. My kids walk to school so its not an issue for us but on field trips I usually end up driving my kids myself because of this. By doctor’s orders my son is never to be somewhere his epipen is not. Ever. So letting a kid ride a bus that can’t carry epipens is scary. Because even if you teach your kid not to eat food that others give them, kids will be kids and they don’t always make the right decisions. The problem with kids with food allergies is one mistake can kill them. The problem is you can’t control other kids. Food allergy bullying is a thing that happens where other kids have been known to wipe peanut butter on other kids or sneak stuff into their food. Look it up, its happened.

    So because of this most buses are supposed to be food free zones now. If they would let the kids carry their own epipens that would help but in our stupid zero tolerance school system kids are not allowed to ever handle their own medications. So it is a bunch of stupid factors going on. It is not always about the food allergy parents being crazy nuts. I would let my son carry his own epipen at this point on a fanny pack but its not allowed. So I have to be a helicopter mom and drive him to field trips. Otherwise I would be fine letting him ride the bus. Sometimes we are pigeon holed in and a victim of stupid rules just as much as everyone else is.

  63. Beth December 21, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    “I think those with willpower to say no do not take into consideration those who have trouble saying no when they make such foods available.”

    You have got to be kidding. Or am I the only one whose workplace has potlucks, food days, etc? Man, those people do NOT take into account my inability to say no, and I didn’t know they were supposed to!!!!

  64. Marni December 21, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Ok…now we’re comparing cookies to cigarette and coffee?


  65. Lee Markosian December 21, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Marni, you’re right. Cigarettes and coffee are not implicated in the world’s number one health problem. Sugary treats are. (See the links I posted above.) Many commenters here are unaware of the science, just like average people in 1962 who were unaware of the health risks associated with smoking. That’s fine, they’ll catch up eventually. (When that happens, I EXPECT AN APOLOGY!! 😉

  66. LaZrtx December 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Anne Tabat, Great mother, great citizen. Thank You Anne Tabat

  67. hineata December 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    @SOA – I am interested in why anyone in your district would obey the rule about medication? For example, how would anyone know a child had an epi pen in their bag anyway? They’re not big, I gather. And asthmatics could easily carry their inhalers concealed. Usually I am a rule follower – teacher, eldest child and all that drivel – but this is definitely one rule I could see breaking, as medication like epi pens and inhalers needs to be right there. Especially as kids are bound to break the no-food rule at some time or other 🙂

    While Midge had a rule at school regarding keeping medication at the school office, she ended up on so much different stuff at different times that the office gave up and just let her keep it in her bag – she was better at remembering what needed to be taken when than they were. As it should be. Sick kids, including allergy kids, need to take responsibility as early as possible for their own meds.

  68. Papilio December 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    “Kids can say ‘no’.”

    A while back I saw a documentary on the obesity epidemic in the UK. To find the cause of it, of course they went to the USA and followed the hamburger crumbs back to… MacDonalds. Some decades ago these restaurant owners found that if they’d just offer bigger portions, people would actually buy more, because even though they paid more, the price per ounce (or whatever unit) was lower. So people felt smart for avoiding what they believed was overpaying for a normal portion. At the cost of their health, MacDonalds started to make a lot of money and laughed their asses off, other fastfood chains copied this devious marketing strategy, and America became fat.

    Now these are *adults* we’re talking about, who actually *paid* for that food.
    Here we’re talking about children, who get cookies offered for free. Oh sure, it’s just one cookie a week, but one hundred cents also makes a dollar.
    Can we expect them to say ‘no’ to that – especially those 40% percent of school-aged children in the USA who are already overweighted? Who, can we assume, get more cookies a week than just this one and get less exercise than they should to loose those calories?

    Can we reasonably expect kids to say ‘no’ to every temptation that is or could be bad for their health?
    Isn’t this why there are age limits on alcohol and tobacco?

    Is it really that odd for me to ask the adult in this situation to take some responsibility herself and offer those kids a bit less?

  69. SOA December 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    To answer the question about the zero tolerance (which I loathe) and the medication rule: Because my son is only 6 so far I go along with it. Because while he could carry his own meds he might also lose them or use them incorrectly. So for now, I allow the nurse to keep an epipen and the cafeteria manager to keep one. They won’t allow classroom teachers to even have them.

    Then I attend all field trips with him and I carry some in my purse. The good news is someone is always there with his meds to give them to him if he needs them as of right now. Now in middle and high school that changes. There is no school nurse. So at that point I will be fighting the school system to allow him to carry them himself. Epipens the kind he uses are long and fat and won’t fit in pockets well. So he would have to wear a fanny pack which looks dorky. They are not allowed to carry backpacks to class. Another part of zero tolerance because they can use them to hide weapons and drugs. They can’t even wear hoodies or jackets in class to put them in those pockets. They are told to carry a blanket if they get cold or dress in layers.

    So it would be very hard to conceal an epipen. If he got caught with it he would be expelled. That is a zero tolerance school for you. So I will take up that fight in a few years when I have to and make sure he is allowed to carry it in a bag like a small backpack he can bring to class with him. I will sue the school system if I have to to make this happen. I heard about a kid the other day in a zero tolerance school who died because of an asthma attack. They made him walk down himself while having the attack to the office to get his inhaler and he died on the way.

    It is absurd. So before you point the finger at the allergy parents I would point it back to the school first. It is their stupid policies against letting kids carry rescue meds that ends up making the no food policies on buses and in classrooms.

  70. SOA December 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Just to clarify if you don’t know: zero tolerance schools look at an epipen as no different than crack. He would be treated the same as if he snuck in crack to school than if he snuck in an epipen. He gets expelled and possibly even criminal charges against him. So I won’t do it without permission. I will however fight the school system to get an IEP or 504 that will let him carry it legally but those take a lot of work to get. I know because I have already been through that with my autistic son. If that does not work, I may have to homeschool him. I don’t trust a middle or high school secretary to handle holding on to his meds when they have zero medical training and they are known to step away from their desks.

  71. Andy December 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I do not have problem to say no to cookies or sweats. My kids are not allergic and are not fat. I would be annoyed by some lady giving them sweats regularly every week anyway. The same way as I’m not too fond of other parents helping my toddler on playground too often. The same way as I do not like structured activities and schools giving away sweats often.

    It is not like sweats like this would be rare in current society. The more crap my kid is getting everywhere the kid turns, the harder it is for me to fit cooking into remaining calories it is reasonable to eat.

    Sweats are not something to be consumed regularly, they are treats to be consumed either on special occasions or when you are doing something hard and physical. School bus is not such place.

    You do not need cookies to build community nor friendship nor to buy good relationship with people. Plus, you are tying cookies to emotional “friendship and community”. Normal half sensitive kid that is not allergic nor fat or does not have other excuse will read you attitude and will not want to disappoint you. It is way harder to refuse the lovely home made cookie in such situation then not to buy chocolate in store – precisely cause you put “relationship” value into something that should not have one.

    Second, you can not build community on the “if your kid is not perfect fck you” attitude toward other parents. The communities worth it are those build on mutual respect anyway.

    Third, it is not fair to blame parents for obesity and then turn around and wave sweats in front of kids everywhere they turn.

    Forth, we had the same thing with alcohol around here. It was go to way of initiating friendship and building community. It was everywhere you went and you simply knew that refusing it would disappointing. And if you refused, you were offered drink again every five minutes.

    Of course, anyone could just say no every five minutes. Not surprisingly, we still had high alcoholism rates.

  72. Donna December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Andy & Papilio –

    You don’t get to dictate how others go about building their community. You don’t get to dictate how others view sweets. You don’t get to dictate how other people interact with you at all. The only thing that you control in this world is how you, and to a lesser extent yours, react to these things.

    That is really the end of the story. You can certainly explain your concerns to the cookie lady, but it is 100% her choice whether to heed them or not and going behind her back to forcibly stop her from deciding herself, within the limits of the law, how she wants to build her community is 100% wrong. Being Scrooge and destroying it for everyone else because your little Snowflake just can’t possibly be expected to say no is helicopter parenting at its worst.

  73. pentamom December 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    “Oh sure, it’s just one cookie a week, but one hundred cents also makes a dollar.”

    Excuse me if I don’t find the analogy that a repeated tiny amount of something else also equals a fairly insignificant amount very convincing as an argument that one cookie a week (a tiny amount in relation to everything a child eats) is a big deal.

    Or do you think a dollar actually IS a lot of money?

    Andy, I generally don’t pick on spelling, but seeing the repeated references to perspiration in your comments is jarring. The word is “sweets.”

  74. SOA December 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I agree with others to a point that I hate how our society has become some obsessed with food and food is thrown at kids every 5 minutes. Back in my day if a kid wanted a snack their own parents made one and gave it to them. Now it is all about group snacks which just makes life harder for people with food allergies because I have to worry about what someone else is trying to feed my kid. I would just rather feed him myself and let other parents feed their kids.

    Then when I was in school at class parties we had cupcakes and punch and maybe chips or pretzels. Now they want to feed kids a full meal even though it is not lunch time. Like I think that is stupid. Kids don’t need a full meal with pizza, yogurt, chips, punch, cupcakes, fruit at 10 in the morning when they had breakfast at 7:30. That is more of a snack time. It just seems to be out of control.

    Same with gift bags. They want to give gift bags for class parties and at dance class and soccer parties and I hate buying all those little cheap things and having to make them and they get lost or tossed the minute we get home. I feel like it is just excess. Like this country is all excess.

  75. Andy December 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    @pentamom Thank you. I will remember that from now :). I have spell check turned on by the way, but it does not always help.

  76. Andy December 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    @Donna Actualy, in fact, we are allowed to criticize community building strategies of whoever we want to criticize. We are kinda allowed to voice our opinions on almost everything we want.

    Even if western democracies would turned into full authoritarian regime one day, it is safe to assume this lady will not be high powered politician. Even if that would happen, I would try to lower my prison sentence by pointing out I criticize her without being insulting and without using formally non-offensive expressions as offenses.

    I used the word “annoying”. I never ever asked for arrest or prison sentence for somebody I personally find “annoying”.

  77. Papilio December 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    @pentamom: Oh, is the dollar THAT low these days? I meant it as a figure of speech (by lack of an existing one – I don’t know that many sayings etc in English) to indicate that small amounts added together can make some difference, for instance buying something that costs a dollar (if that still exists anyway).

    @Donna: Huh – like, me personally? What did I say about building communities?
    I argued that you can’t expect children to (always) say ‘no’ to free cookies (or many other unhealthy temptations), and therefore that adults should take the responsibility for their health. In this case, by not offering them free cookies in the amounts that this lady did.
    And if that makes me a Scrooge, then Scrooge is a lot more generous and a lot less misopedic than I remember.

  78. lollipoplover December 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    How did kids with allergies survive in the past?
    I mean, without “food-free” buses and all of the new restrictions on food given to children?

    “I would just rather feed him myself and let other parents feed their kids.”

    OK. But eventually will need to make food decisions on their own or get invited to share a meal. Control all you want, but it’s not preparing them for the real world.

  79. pentamom December 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Sure, you can buy SOMETHING with a dollar, something of real value, but not something that’s going to make a really noticeable difference in your life over time.

    Just like, sure, having a cookie every week adds SOME unnecessary extra calories to a child’s diet, but not enough to make any sort of difference in an otherwise reasonably good diet. If the child isn’t getting a good diet otherwise, not getting the cookie is not really going to help him. If he is, it’s just not going to matter much. If he’s in some precarious state where for some reason the cookie really matters, his parents can teach him to refuse it. If a single cookie matters once a week matters THAT MUCH to his health but they can’t get him to cooperate, the cookie is the least of their parenting issues.

    So the analogy just goes to show that a tiny bit of something, over time, adds up to a still pretty small, relatively unimportant something else. It’s not a convincing way to show (even metaphorically) that a cookie a week REALLY matters very much.

  80. Warren December 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Whether you like it or not, your food allergic kids are the minority, and you self absorbed parents of these kids are dictating to the majority how things should be done. That is where it is wrong.
    It is wrong that a school full of kids cannot have pb and j for lunch. It is wrong that a school full of kids cannot have alot of things because the minority is allergic.

    Oh wait, it isn’t because they are allergic, it is because idiot parents think it is cruel for the allergic kids to have to eat seperate from the school population.

    This is not a f your not perfect kid attitude. This is an f you, stop making my kid responsible for your kid attitude. Make your own kid responsible for themselves.

    And to answer the question, how did these food allergic people survive way back when? They didn’t. Mother Nature was thinning the herd, as she did with fire, flood, virus, bacteria and all sorts of nasty things. Nature is always trying to keep a balance, but humans keep fighting it.

  81. Donna December 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Andy – I didn’t say that you couldn’t criticize anybody about anything. In fact, I distinctly remember saying that those opposed should take their health concerns to her. You simply can’t expect her to bow down to your wishes and stop handing out cookies.

    I said that you can’t DICTATE someone else’s community building activities. And that is what happened here. A single individual didn’t like the cookies and went to the school and demanded that it stop.

    You, likewise, give the impression that you would want to DICTATE that she stop the cookies if your children were on the bus. That may not be what you meant but it is certainly how your comments have come across.

  82. Donna December 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    “I argued that you can’t expect children to (always) say ‘no’ to free cookies (or many other unhealthy temptations), and therefore that adults should take the responsibility for their health.”

    The question is why do you get to dictate how many cookies are healthy for other people’s children? You certainly get to dictate how many cookies are healthy for your children, but you want to dictate how many cookies are healthy for an entire busload of children.

    That is the problem with asking other people to take responsibility for your children’s health, rather than expecting your child to just say no. We all have different views on what is a healthy cookie consumption. Some people think that it is fine for kids to eat as many cookies as they want. Some people think cookies should never cross children’s lips. Most probably fall somewhere between those two extremes but in many different places. You can’t expect everyone in the world to have the same mentality towards cookies as you so you need to handle your own health choices and not rely on others.

  83. SOA December 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    I knew we would not get far without someone going as far as to say my kid and every other food allergy kid should just die. I will remember that next time anyone in your family has any kind of medical problem. I mean why should your elderly mother get a pacemaker, we should probably just let her croak right?

    You can just turn that whole not having pb and j at lunch train right around. Our school is not a peanut free school and I never asked for it to be. My son sits at the end of the table and that area of the table is peanut free. So only kids with no peanut stuff can sit with him. That is all I ask for and the kids wash their hands after they eat which they do anyway since they get bathroom and hand washing breaks before and after lunch. I also ask to keep the classroom peanut free which is easy since they are pretty much food free classrooms anyway.

    Easy things that don’t require any big deal or infringe on anyone else. But there will always be idiots that think even something as simple as washing their hands (which they should be doing anyway for sanitary purposes) is infringing on their rights. And honestly I wish those were the type of people that would be weeded out of our population.

  84. SOA December 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Warren: Serious question: so if you had a child with a food allergy say your child develops one tomorrow (which can happen, sometimes they appear out of nowhere) are you saying you would go ahead and put a bullet in their brain? To better the population? I doubt it. You would care if it was YOUR kid.

  85. Donna December 22, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    The thing is that you will never make every member of any group containing more than 1 person happy all the time. Andy, Papilio and Dolly are opposed to cookies, but Dolly suggested non-food reward. I’m fine with cookies but could live the rest of my life without another sticker or little plastic thing coming into my house (although I allow my child to take them and appreciate the gesture). A hand shake or fist bump will eventually run afoul of some kid who doesn’t like to touch people. Some extremely shy kid will find a hello intrusive. And so on until we run out of ideas.

    And that is how we end up where we are now – living in communities where nobody interacts because whatever we do will eventually offend someone and fewer and fewer seem to be able to accept a kind gesture for what it is even if it is not what they would do. If people can’t interact in their community in the way that is most natural to them – be that handing out cookies or something else – they will simply disengage from the community. Building a community should be enjoyable not full of stress over trying to read other people’s minds, desires, prerequisites, rules, dietary preferences and so on.

  86. Taradlion December 22, 2013 at 8:23 am #


  87. NicoleK December 22, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Bet it was an allergy.

  88. Papilio December 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Pfffff…… First of all I hope we can stop pretending free cookies from strangers are a normal part of a kids’ diet. It’s not like they’ll be deprived of anything and get depressed if they get 4 extra treats a year instead of 40.

    Now, I am NOT opposed to cookies – I never put it that black & white. I am not opposed to a stranger giving cookies to other people’s children despite the chance of some of them having allergies. I don’t even think a anonymous tip should’ve ended this habit.
    What I am opposed to, is the fact that this woman handed out cookies *every single Friday*. I maintain that’s not very wise in the context of a country where (last I read) 40% of school-aged children already has weight problems – a serious threat to their health, which, given the scale (no pun intended) of this problem, I consider a societal problem that should be dealt with by that society, because obviously the parents & kids themselves could use some help.
    Of course you can say ‘f*** you, it’s my right to give your kids cookies as often as I please (and the consequences are not my problem anyway)’ – that depends on your priorities I guess.

  89. Andy December 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    @Papilio I fully agree with what you wrote. If there is one overweight kid in school, then it is either health or personal habits/parenting problem. If you have 40% of overweight people, then it is general societal problem.

    I suspect that almost every adult thinks that small amount of treats does not harm no matter how often those small amounts of treats are given out has something to do with it.

    After all, parents are supposed to raised their kids to be perfect, so it is ok to put temptation in front of their kids any number of times. If the kids are not perfectly health conscious, strong willed and able to resist all other adults in their lives (while still fully respecting them) from the day they are born, parents have only themselves to blame.

  90. Buffy December 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Did I miss the part where there were allergic kids on this bus and they were all obese too? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. 1 woman, 1 bus.

  91. sue December 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    i’ve been reading the comments for a couple of days. they have run the line from it’s her right, through some interpeting other comment to mean allergic children should die all the way to she evil and taking away the parents right. i think[my opinion only] we all need to step back an d take a breath. no one here wants anything bad to happen.
    yes there are allergic children[was this the callers complaint?] and there are those parents who for whatever reason don’t want their kids to have any cookies.
    what the arguem,ent keeps coming back to is who is responsible for each child. the answer is the parent. the next question if the parent can ask their child not get a cookie. of course, it’s your child. third question.. does that parent get to demand no one gets one if they don’t want theirs to have it. NO they do not get to make that decision for others. if they do they are then taking away the rights of the other parents. oh but it’s a food free bus due to allergies, you can’t expose my child at all. how do you monitor that, what if one has a peanut granola bar or cookie right before boarding[for example] how do you prevent exposure then? do you try to control what others eat at home? or do you educate your child. life is not fair, your child is the center of your universe not other people’s. the world is not going to be safe for your kid, teach them how to deal and cope. and be aware nomatter how closely you monitor, no matter how hard you try to make others responsible for your child in the end they must learn to protect themselves.

  92. Warren December 23, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    You are a world class moron. I never said they SHOULD die, I just stated they did die. And until the medical sceinces became advanced, it was Mother Nature weeding out the herd. I hate to break it to you, although you can work a keyboard you are still an animal, part of the animal kingdom. In which the strong and smart survive. Nature has always fought to maintain balance, it is only humans that cannot accept that and fight it every step of the way.

    As for my kids having food allergies, my attitude would not change. They would be taught to own their condition, that it is their problem, and nobody else’s.

    I get a kick out of people that believe just because we are human, we are not animals governed by the same laws of nature. That is arrogance in the highest form.

  93. Papilio December 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Thank you, Andy. You seem to be the only one who understands (or who’s *willing* to understand) what I mean!
    You too made some good points, from a bit different angle.

    Everyone seems so focussed on preventing one-in-a-million type risks (kidnapping, school shooters) while avoiding or trivializing the elephants in the room (obesity, danger from traffic).
    They seem to be just waiting for the 40% to go up to 45% and for the next 8yo to be killed by the next truck.

  94. Melanie Jones December 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Donna – this is Melanie from a few days ago. I don’t think cookies every Friday is inherently helicoptery – I don’t know this person at all. I am just saying that if the school district got drug in, and took the bait, I bet they really hated that. What kind of nonsense rule had to be invented here? Is it okay to send treats once a month? Or is there a special treat requisitioning form that must be filled out with a list of acceptable treats? Or did they just go out on a limb and tell this one person ‘no’. But I do know plenty of parents who seem to have this excessive need to be the source of happiness for kids. And I do find it overbearing, and I do want to say “my kids would be just as happy to see you if you showed up with nothing but your smile and funny story about what you s

  95. Melanie Jones December 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Donna – this is Melanie from a few days ago. I don’t think cookies every Friday is inherently helicoptery – I don’t know this person at all. I am just saying that if the school district got drug in, and took the bait, I bet they really hated that. What kind of nonsense rule had to be invented here? Is it okay to send treats once a month? Or is there a special treat requisitioning form that must be filled out with a list of acceptable treats? Or did they just go out on a limb and tell this one person ‘no’. And why was it that the parents at the bus stop couldn’t work this out on their own without dragging in the authorities? That is disappointing. But I do know plenty of parents who seem to have this excessive need to be the source of happiness for kids. And I do find it overbearing, and I do want to say “My kids would be just as happy to see you if you showed up with nothing but your smile and funny story about what you saw last week.” An example I am thinking of is when I ran a school pancake supper and stopped assigning a parent to dispense whipped cream. People thought we needed a ‘heavy’ to dispense the cream to keep the kids from going nuts on the stuff. We still had whipped cream, but the kids dispensed their own. And guess what? A few kids made crazy towers of whipped cream, but most put far less on their pancake than was being dispensed to them because they just were taking what they wanted. It was the parent behind the counter that felt the need to show their love through a little larger than usual squirt of whipped cream. And I am not talking about a specific kind of out of control parent, just an average person. I probably would have done the same thing. Point is, food ain’t love. So if the food had become a problem at the bus stop, then why not move on to something else, or have a talk with the other parents about their concerns, or whatever. I also realize some people are exceedingly difficult to talk to and maybe she never got the chance to do so.

  96. Buffy December 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Come on Andy and Papilio, address the question. Please?

    Did I miss the part where there were allergic kids on this bus and they were all obese too? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. 1 woman, 1 bus.

  97. Alicia December 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    One cookie, once a week is not much, but one of the problems is that it’s not just one cookie, because everywhere you turn, people want to give kids treats. The grocery store bakery gives out cookies, the bank gives lollipops, teachers give candy – my son was given a double-sized candy bar the other day, and for what reason – not really much of anything. The number of kids birthdays and the way they are overdone both in activities and treats has only gotten worse over the years. Whatever happened to a simple birthday with cake and ice cream with just a few friends, not the whole class. All this is happening far more often than in previous generations.

    Everyone means well. I’m sure the kids have nothing to fear about this woman. That is not the issue.

    As for allergies, yes, the allergic kids have to learn to say “no thanks”, but every week is kind of a bummer. And some younger kids might still be tempted and there is no adult there to make sure they don’t eat it. I’m sure the school has to be concerned with liability, like it or not. Even if an allergic kid doesn’t eat the cookie, there may issues with contact if a kids gets chocolate on their hands and it ends up on the bus seat. Or the kids who have peanut allergies and can’t even be in the same room with airborne particles. These are serious allergy concerns. Something is causing a greater number of allergies, and we need to find out what that is, but in the meantime, it is not fair to subject allergic kids to these allergens.

  98. pentamom December 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    “The grocery store bakery gives out cookies, the bank gives lollipops, teachers give candy – my son was given a double-sized candy bar the other day, and for what reason – not really much of anything. ”

    With the exception of the teacher, don’t these things happen when you’re there and able to say “no, thank you, I don’t want him to have that”? How many times a week (realistically, not just in possible scenarios you can imagine) is a child offered a treat where you are not able to either give prior (requesting the teacher not do that) or on the spot indication that the child is not allowed to have it?

  99. Papilio December 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    @Buffy: I’m sorry, but since my answers to your questions were right there in my comment already, I didn’t bother. But I’ll quote myself for you:

    About allergies: “…despite the chance of some of them having allergies”
    That was the only thing I said about the amount of kids on that bus having allergies: some of them, maybe. I also said that wasn’t a reason not to hand out cookies as far as I’m concerned.

    About obesity/overweight: “40% of school-aged children already has weight problems”
    The story doesn’t indicate otherwise, so I assume the bus had an average bunch of kids on it. Of course you know 40% is not the same as ‘all kids’, but isn’t 40% bad enough?

  100. SOA December 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Ha we are animals but we are highly intelligent animals. Meaning our brains and intellect can often make up for any physical imperfections or inadequacies. My son may have a peanut allergy, but we also have very intelligent members of our family in math and science so that we make decent to high salaries. Meaning everyone in our family can pay whatever needs to be paid to protect our family. Medications, doctors, specialty allergen free food, lawyers if necessary, etc. We got it covered. So that in a way is survival of the fittest. If my son was born to a lower income family he may not still be alive, but thank God he was born to us and we have enough intellect and money in my family to keep him alive. So he can go on and perhaps procreate and have another genius intellect child who may or may not have a peanut allergy, but will most definitely have a high intellect.

    My son already reads two grade levels above his grade level. So that right there means it would probably benefit society to keep someone that intelligent around.

  101. Andy December 26, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    @pentamom We go to grocery store every other day, meaning we are there at least three times per week – mostly for fresh bread. The sooner I will allow my kids to go alone (for little shopping) the sooner I loose ability to do that on the spot indication.

  102. Andy December 26, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    @pentamom We go to grocery store every other day, meaning we are there at least three times per week – mostly for fresh bread. The sooner I will allow my kids to go alone (for little shopping) the sooner I loose ability to do that on the spot indication.

  103. pentamom December 28, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Andy — if your kids are old enough to go to the grocery store alone, they’re old enough to either understand either that 1) eating XYZ will compromise their health to an acute and dangerous degree or 2) it’s time to begin to learn to make choices about their eating habits and take responsibility for them. And it’s time to learn not to do things they’ve been taught are unwise, even when you’re not looking.

    IOW, it shouldn’t be dependent on whether you stand over them, unless they’re too young to know better. If it won’t kill them, they can begin to learn to make bad choices and learn from them, gradually over time. If it will kill them, they’re either old enough to understand that, or not old enough to do anything involving food on their own.