Manchester Declares War On Bagels and Cupcakes – by Hamza Shahzad

Last week, class officers talked about how they were worthy of being elected to a position. One common theme that kept popping up is how they couldn’t promise their class anything material, only their hard work. But one not-promise was interesting. It came from Morgan Blais who stated, “I can’t promise to bring bagel sandwiches back.” Those sitting near the senior class president gasped as if their own children had been attacked. For those unfamiliar, Mr. Eric Langley promised in his speech that he would “petition” the administration to bring back bagel sandwiches. The exact moment he said “bagel,” the crowd roared. He couldn’t continue his speech because of the clapping and ecstatic cheering. But here we are, one year later with no bagel sandwiches and longer lunch lines. What is Eric Langley doing?

The issue is a lot larger than the senior class president. Eric Langley is one of the hardest working Presidents I’ve ever seen, but after giving his speech, Mr. Adamakos explained to him how the decision to rescind bagel sandwiches was a district-wide decision that couldn’t be controlled by this president-elect of Memorial. And when you walk around Memorial asking seniors about that day, most say they voted Eric Langley because they felt as if there was hope for a new direction. Many felt inspired by him.

The real antagonist, The Manchester School District, appears to be doubling down on their war on food. Clubs and sports organizations have historically had trouble raising funds to keep them afloat and to support new events. Newspaper for instance, needs to raise funds to help print a senior edition; the Class Officers need to fundraise to hold a memorable prom night; and sports teams like Cheerleading need the fundraisers for uniforms and equipment. All of these clubs and teams around the school are facing the burden of the district debating whether or not high schoolers should have the ability to sell baked goods and sweets.

The issue stems from the elementary system, according to the school district. Parents would bring in sweets and cupcakes to celebrate children’s birthdays. The problem with this is that it goes against the USDA standards against childhood obesity. But let’s be fair. Are cupcakes every other week really contributing to childhood obesity? Another issue to be raised is does the district have the right to regulate the food that students voluntary bring in and share, if it has no effect on their immediate health (peanut allergies, etc.)? Parents are celebrating milestones in their children’s lives and the district is stepping in and preventing a class from voluntarily having fun. The action from the district creates a dangerous precedent of the removal of anything enjoyable and social for these kids. Will Valentine’s Day celebrations begin to be banned in elementary schools? Will students be forbidden from dressing up and giving out candies? This district is debating a non-issue.

The most abhorrent fact about this issue is how something happening at the elementary level is affecting the high school students. High school students are individuals ready to be thrown out into the world to be treated as adults. Our students will face the choices between a granola bar and cupcake in the future, and it is up to them personally to build their mind to make a decision that makes sense to them personally. The district does not have the authority to regulate the minds of the students, they may only advise the best course of action.

This messy issue of food has ended up removing choices from the district and has left many clubs and teams uncertain about how they’ll make money to support all the activities they hold in the future. Our clubs should be able to support the school’s environment, but can’t do so without the lucrative bake sales.

Below is a list of school board members. Email them. Tell them about our frustrations, and how silly this is. We can change policies in this city by letting these officials know just how important these bake sales are to us:

Chairman: Ted Gatsas mayor@manchesternh.gov

Ward 1: Sarah Ambrogi boscward1@mansd.org

Ward 2: Debra Gagnon Langton boscward2@mansd.org

Ward 3: Mary Ngwanda Georges boscward3@mansd.org

Ward 4: Leslie Want boscward4@mansd.org

Ward 5: Lisa M. Freeman boscward5@mansd.org

Ward 6: Dan Bergeron boscward6@mansd.org

Ward 7: Ross Terrio boscward7@mansd.org

Ward 8: Erikka Connors boscward8@mansd.org

Ward 9: Arthur Beaudry

Ward 10: John Avard boscward10@mansd.org

Ward 11: Katie Desrochers boscward11@mansd.org

Ward 12: Connie Van Houten boscward12@mansd.org

 

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