AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - The Avon Lake City School System is one of the latest school systems to modify their Birthday Treat policy.
Beginning this school year, parents are being asked to bring in only non-edible items to celebrate their child's birthday. Parents are encouraged to replace foods like cupcakes with items like pencils, fun erasers, tattoos, stickers or even a special book.
Superintendent Bob Scott said there are too many kids that have allergies to risk it, and he adds, there have been some close calls with kids who can't have certain foods.
"In the past, we have given guidelines to our teachers in the classroom and said 'let's go ahead and let you set up how your classroom is going to work,' and we just got to the point where we felt like we needed to take the next step," said Scott.
Avon Lake City Schools' Head Nurse, Becky Busch said she's seeing more and more kids with life threatening allergies than ever before.
"I've been here nine years, and each year we see more and more. One in 13 kids has a food allergy, which is two per classroom," said Busch.
Helping to combat childhood obesity was also a factor in the school's decision to eliminate food treats for birthdays.
Other area schools have varying policies.
In the Cleveland City School System,there is no district wide policy. Some buildings allow edible treats. Some individual schools insist that those treats are healthy because of the school's wellness initiative.
In the Medina City School System, birthday treats are arranged between parents and teachers and are encouraged to be healthy.
In the Elyria City School System, students are required to bring only prepackaged treats.
In Akron City Schools, birthday treats are handled on a classroom by classroom basis
In Avon Lake, Scott said birthday celebrations will remain special, but safe for everyone.
"There's lots of ways to celebrate birthdays. You don't have to have food in order to celebrate your child's birthday, and we really feel like it's best for all of our kids," added Scott.
Food treats will still be allowed for holiday parties at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day. In those situations, teachers will have more time to plan out what foods everyone will bring.