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Give me candy, or give me ... erasers?

Posted: February 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.

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Parents, take note: A sweet gesture could turn into a sticky situation if you send your child to school with candy today.

Some elementary school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley bar students from swapping candy on Valentine’s Day to comply with district, state and federal student wellness policies.

The Saugus Union School District, for instance, has policies that ban children from exchanging candy on Valentine’s Day, as well as other sugar sharing like bringing in cupcakes on a child’s birthday.

But the Saugus district is not alone in its anti-carbohydrate crusade.

The California School Boards Agency provides districts with a model wellness policy combining state and federal guidelines for nutrition.

Districts have the option of customizing the policy to fit their needs, said Jane Crawford, director of food services at the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Service Agency.

“Schools and districts have to comply with state and federal wellness guidelines,” Crawford said. “But if they want, they can even be stricter.”

Schools have been working to make sure parents get the memo that food sharing in classes is discouraged.

Officials from Rosedell Elementary School, for instance, sent a message to parents in the school’s weekly bulletin and posted a reminder on its website.

Pattie Foster, the president of the Rosedell Parent Teacher Association, said teachers have also been telling their classes about the policy.

“I’ve seen notes come home from the teachers discouraging any candy this year,” Foster said.

To fill the place of sugary snacks, the Rosedell PTA has been working to sell Valentine’s grams, personalized cards with erasers that children can give to each other, Foster said.

And though districts are encouraging healthier eating habits for students, it doesn’t mean parents will send their kids to school bearing cards decked with carrots or broccoli.

“Those types of things are hard to attach to a Valentine card,” Foster said.

The Newhall School District’s wellness plan similarly discourages treats, according to Superintendent Marc Winger.

The district’s policy has been in place for a number of years, Winger said, and is there to dissuade parents from stocking their children with sugary sweets to take to school.

“Childhood health is an issue, so let’s use some common sense,” Winger said. “Everything shouldn’t be cookies, cupcakes and candy.”

Officials at the Sulphur Springs district, however, don’t have to worry about Valentine’s Day candy sharing this year. Each of the district’s schools is closed today due to state budget cuts.

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