A school in Pennsylvania sent permission slips home to parents that required a signature to allow children to eat a single Oreo cookie.
Science teacher Darlene Porter at Welsh Valley Middle School in Lower Merion sent the note home prior to carrying out a lesson plan pertaining to the Earth’s tectonic plates, which she chose to represent using Double Stuf Oreos, writes Christopher Brennan for The Daily Mail. The note said the lesson would use the cookies “to simulate the 3 types of plate boundaries and the geographical features that are created.”
Twitter user Mainline Housewife posted a photo of the form, calling it “insanity.” Meanwhile, a commenter on the parenting blog Free-Range Kids wrote, “Oh dear Lord. Some poor tree had to give its life for this idiocy.”
‘The students may eat the Oreo after the investigation if this is okay with you,’ the note, sent home on Monday, reads. ‘The students do NOT have to eat the Oreo if they do not wish to do so.’
The form continued to say that express written permission by a parent needed to be given by Wednesday in order to participate in the consumption of their cookie after the lesson on Friday. In addition, the backside of the note contained a full ingredients list for Double Stuf Oreos, a listing of the nutritional facts, and a photo of the package.
‘It’s one teacher who was really trying to do her due diligence, quite honestly,” Lower Merion School District spokesman Doug Young told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Because a student in the class has a food allergy, notifications pertaining to food in the classroom are required. However, there is nothing that asks permission slips to be sent to all parents in the class. Allergies were not mentioned in the permission slip sent out in this case.
The school does not currently have a policy that requires students to have parental permission to have a snack during class.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association spokesman Steve Robinson noted that schools in the state should already have a plan in place concerning which foods children in their class are allowed to eat.
Lenore Skenazy, a recognized leader of the “free-range kids” movement, called the permission slip “proof that we can never underestimate … how far our obsession over child safety can go.”
Others have defended the teacher. One commenter on Skenazy’s blog wrote, “As a food allergy parent I appreciate this. I want to know what food if any is in my child’s classroom.”
It is unknown how many children completed their permission slips and ate their Oreos that Friday, although the student who is unable to eat gluten arrived at school that day with a gluten-free Oreo in hand.