New depths of silliness

Published 8:27 pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

No chocolate for you!

That is effectively the message supporters will find when they get to the back cover of a catalog of goodies being sold in a fundraiser by students from Driver Elementary School. Summer sausages, sugar cookies and any other of the potentially fattening treats to be found in the Great American Opportunities catalog are fair game, and the students will gladly accept your check for as large an order as you can afford, a percentage of which ultimately is returned to the school.

But the system’s “wellness policy” prevents those students from enabling your secret chocolate addiction, and a sticker on the back of the catalog warns customers that any of the catalog’s offerings that include chocolate are off limits.

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Apparently the school system considers chocolate to be so dangerous to children that they cannot even risk being associated with it. They must be removed from the cocoa pipeline, it seems, leaving local addicts to find some other low-level dealer to help them get their choco-fix. Maybe in the process, some poor diabetic grandparent will be saved from sugar-shock by the fact that her grandson cannot guilt her into buying a pound of chocolate-covered almonds.

Forget the fact that Grandma should probably avoid the sugar cookies and much of the rest of what’s sold from the catalog, and ignore altogether the issue of having children raise money for their schools by hawking food and other products to people who probably already pay taxes to support those schools. The proper focus, according to the wellness policy of Suffolk schools, is on whether the children have theoretical access to chocolate.

Because it’s so hard for kids to find chocolate on the streets these days that they’d be tempted to short the orders placed by grandparents and aunts and uncles. Because it’s not as if those same children prohibited from selling chocolates from a fundraising catalog can go to Walmart and buy enough chocolate to make Willy Wonka blush. Because it’s easier to take away a child’s right to decide what to eat than it is to teach him to decide to eat the right things. And because the best way to ensure that children have no bad choices to make is to set sweeping policies that remove all choices altogether.

If nothing else, the chocolate ban should prove one thing: There is no limit to the silliness that can be achieved when a government agency seeks to impose its will.