The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

    School enforces ban on homemade goods

    Birthdays and game days have become synonymous with gluttonous amounts of home-baked cookies, brownies, cupcakes and even full-sized cakes from friends and teammates at school. However, balloons and cards may be all students have to look forward to this year on these special days.

    The CHS administration has decided to take a stronger stand on enforcing the pre-existing MCPS baking policy, which states that students are only allowed to bring in foods that have been cooked in a sterile, commercial kitchen, meaning that all the food must be store bought.

    “My understanding is that unless [food] comes from a place like Giant, for example, you cannot have it,” assistant principal Leo McDonald said. “Nothing [else] can be brought in.”

    Baking for friends has always been a school tradition, but it also leaves room for food to be cooked in kitchens that are not sterile and to be handled by people who are sick.  With this in mind, the administration hopes that the restriction will be beneficial to students’ health.

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    “I am more concerned with the handling of the food after it is baked,” school nurse Deborah Stapleton said. “[The policy] is probably a good safeguard for now, it is a containment of the unknown.”  According to Stapleton, salmonella, ecoli, hepatitis A and norovirus are food borne diseases that transfer to people when they eat the tainted food.

    Exchanging home-baked food brings in more risks than spreading germs. Store-bought goods include a label with a list of the product’s ingredients, whereas when food is homemade, students are at many times unaware of what can get into food and can unknowingly give someone an ingredient that may cause an allergic reaction.

    “People want to be sure that everyone will be healthy, and sometimes we do not know the conditions under which something is baked,” Principal Joan Benz said. “[The policy] puts more control on what is brought in.”

    At the end of each quarter, the counseling office has a cupcake day. The counselors bake their own cupcakes to give to students as a reward for outstanding grades or improvement. Now, the cupcakes can no longer be homemade.

    “We will still have cupcake day, but the school is going to purchase them,” Benz said.

    Sports teams that have “secret buddies” who bake for each other on game days, will be especially affected by the stricter stand on baking. Some students are skeptical about the effect these demands will have on the baking buddy system.

    “I think [buying food] will be a hassle and it will get expensive,” sophmore junior varsity soccer player Colby Ranck said.

    Other students worry that “secret buddies” will stop baking for each other altogether. Team members have always enjoyed exchanging treats because it was an easy way to become closer to a teammate.

    “[Baking] is fun and it is something to bond the team,” varsity field hockey captain senior Alex Maio said. “It gets you to talk outside of practice.”

    While it might take students some time to accept and appreciate the rule, the administration wants to ensure that the health of students is not jeopardized while at school.

    “It is not a punishment, it is a protection,” McDonald said.

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    School enforces ban on homemade goods