What's Valentine's Day without candy?
Some kids are finding out, as schools extend bans on classroom sweets to holiday celebrations out of concern for students' health.
Parents in Minneapolis, where a policy to promote better student health started last year, see messages like:
"Students can bring valentines, but as you are shopping for valentines, please DO NOT purchase valentines with candy or send candy to school for the party."
Our 11-year-old broke the news to me a few days ago: The general ban on sugary snacks at her school applies to Valentine's Day. "It's ridiculous," she said. "Fruit snacks are about as close as you can get."
That sent her brother, 17, into a reverie about what used to be—candy hearts, pixie sticks, Hershey's bars. Sweets, he remembered, were "the whole point. It's small candy but it adds up. We had pretty big class sizes."
Our daughter explained that from a kid's perspective, Valentine's Day is the one holiday celebrated more at school than it is at home. "It's really fun," she said, lapsing into the present tense. "It's just 45 minutes of walking around and eating candy."
She'll still get a list of kids in her class and spend the weekend cutting out hearts or shopping for paper cards. And my wife gets the kids small boxes of chocolates—a tradition firmly instituted one year when they wondered why only we parents were exchanging heart-shaped presents at home.
So Valentine's Day will survive. But it won't be the same.
In fact, said my daughter, "It's absolutely horrible."