“Third-grader gets week’s detention for possessing a Jolly Rancher”

by Walter Olson on May 10, 2010

We told you crackdowns by the School Food Police were on the way. [KHOU via Obscure Store, Free-Range Kids]

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Alright, so Texas needs work too « For What It’s Worth
05.10.10 at 11:00 pm

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1 Bob Lipton 05.10.10 at 6:41 pm

They must have mistaken it for a peanut. That would make it a weapon.

Bob

2 Bumper 05.10.10 at 7:45 pm

This is the same candy that led to the discovery of the school district using the laptop cameras to spy on the students. Quite a legacy in such a short time for a candy that’s been around for decades. There is a lesson here kids, don’t get between the old folks and their candy, just let’em have it and walk away.

3 SmartGuy 05.10.10 at 7:49 pm

The little kids are getting quite an education all right, albeit in the lack of personal freedom in the modern United States.

America 2010 would be unrecognizable to the authors of The Bill of Rights.

4 Jim Finkel 05.10.10 at 9:36 pm

Bumper, please learn your candies. My SIL lives in Lower Merion (not far from us) and the candy was Mike & Ike.

5 Jim Finkel 05.10.10 at 9:37 pm

I forgot the caveats, mea culpa, allegedly Mike & Ike.

6 Doug 05.10.10 at 11:10 pm

What do you say about a school district that punishes a child for possessing a jolly rancher? I have no printable words to write about those school administrators that would punish a young child for having candy. But this is 21st Century America, where the educational system seems to set up to suck the fun out of learning. This is just one symptom.

7 wfjag 05.11.10 at 8:10 am

“America 2010 would be unrecognizable to the authors of The Bill of Rights.”

Not true. The authors of the Bill of Rights well remembered what it was like to be colonists who had no representation in the central government that governed them. That’s why they drafted a Constitution for a government of limited powers.

8 Richard Nieporent 05.11.10 at 8:16 am

“Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,” he said.

It was bad enough when the school system had a zero tolerance policy on weapons. Now they have a zero tolerance policy on candy! How do they find such blithering idiots to be school administrators? I’m beginning to think the job description for school superintendent reads as follows: Wanted someone who is incapable of thinking or using a minimal amount of common sense. Must follow the rules without questioning whether or not they apply.

9 panthan 05.11.10 at 9:15 am

Richard –

The problem is that the rules do apply. And can you imagine the furies that would have been visited on these same administrators had the child’s parents been fervent anti-sugar activists, and the school permitted this crime against good nutrition to proceed?

School teachers and administrators are between a rock and a hard place. This is a stupid rule, but the principal has no authority to change or challenge it.

10 Todd Rogers 05.11.10 at 9:22 am

There has to be more to this story than what’s been reported. The news has proven itself unreliable, time and time again. Whenever I feel that knee-jerk outrage that comes from a story like this I have to remind myself that news editors can be highly selective about what they print, what they don’t print, and how they present a story. There’s a missing piece to this.

11 Richard Nieporent 05.11.10 at 11:57 am

Panthan you are incorrect. If you follow the links in the article you will see that the state does not consider this incident to be a violation of their rules. This was an overreaction by school administrators who are incapable of being able to use common sense.

In a letter to the school system Friday, the Texas Department of Agriculture wrote, “This particular incidence of candy possession as it has been reported by KHOU-TV would not be considered a violation of the state or federal nutrition program and therefore would not have jeopardized your district’s food service funding.”

http://www.khou.com/home/State-responds-to-Jolly-Rancher-incident-93171189.html

12 panthan 05.11.10 at 2:30 pm

Richard,

I followed the link that gave me this:

“The Texas Public School Nutrition Policy (TPSNP) explicitly states that it does not restrict what foods or beverages parents may provide for their own children’s consumption. ” (emphasis mine). The formal policy allows for schools to adopt more restrictive rules, but not less.

I’m sure you’re correct, and it’s nice that the Texas Dept of Agriculture promptly came out with their statement. This should lead to a relaxation of the rules. But I didn’t see anything in the policy as stated that would have allowed for “this particular incidence of candy possession” being allowed.

13 George Lund 05.11.10 at 3:25 pm

This article claims that the school district bans candy because it creates messes that they don’t want to clean up: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/6995782.html. Of course they muddy the waters by also saying that candy does not meet the required nutritional guidelines, so it not clear if one or both reasons are why they don’t allow candy at school.

The article in the Huston Chronicle has a dateline of a day after the KHOU article, so it might be spin after the school district started looking bad. Could also be that KHOU and the mother spun it to make the school district look at bad as possible for their own reasons (ratings and moral high ground respectively).

The level of punishment seems mind-boggling though. Unless these two girls are repeat offenders, this is a major overreaction regardless of the reason for the policy.

14 ABE21 05.11.10 at 6:52 pm

For richard i have one comment, not so much related to the jolly rancher topic but, why would u say that its bad enough when a school has a zero tolerance policy on weapons? Do u even know what that means?

15 Aidan Cole 05.11.10 at 9:08 pm

I’m sure FOX will continue to provide us with Fair And Balanced coverage of the events, and maybe even what flavor Jolly Rancher it was.

16 Bill Alexander 05.11.10 at 9:21 pm

I believe Richard means that a zero tolerance policy on weapons has been interpreted to mean butter knives and holding your hand like a pistol.

17 Richard Nieporent 05.12.10 at 6:55 am

Bill Alexander, you are correct. That is exactly what I meant. If a school administrator is incapable of exercising reasonable judgment and using some common sense he/she should not be in charge of a school.

18 Jim Collins 05.12.10 at 11:26 am

Richard,
While I agree 100% with your statement, if we tested for reasonable judgement, we would soon be out of teachers and administrators. Remember. Those who can do. Those who can’t teach. No insult intended to Ted and Walter. There are a few exceptions.

19 Bob Lipton 05.12.10 at 6:58 pm

And those who can’t teach administer.

Bob

20 Bumper 05.12.10 at 11:30 pm

ABE21,

Maybe Richard does or does not know, but I do.

Zero tolerance had it’s origin in race. It had been determined that the same idiots that gave us the Jolly Rancher debacle that minority students were being punished more harshly than their white, yellow and brown bothers-in-arms. Of course little consideration was given to the fact that some misbehaving is tad more onerous than others or that the punishment should fit the crime. So to level the playing field ZT was invented and all common sense was stripped from the process. Some administrators loved it, no thinking, all crimes are equal, go do your time. Other administrators chafed at loss of common sense and were often replaced by those less inclined to question the higher and reputedly fairer authority. Some states realized what a failure ZT was and changed/relaxed the laws back to include common sense. Texas, the home of the Jolly Rancher scandal, is one of those states, but old habits die hard. The damage done may never be undone. To some, what has been seen cannot be unseen, let’s hope ZT is not one of those.

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