Parents Now Need To Sign Permission Slips Before Their Kids Can Eat An Oreo In Class

oreo cookiesPermission slips are a staple of parenting school-age children. There are permission slips for field trips, permission slips to watch a R-rated movie like Schindler’s List in history class … and if you happen to be a parent in the Main Line region of Pennsylvania, you may also need to sign a permission slip to let your middle schooler eat a single Oreo cookie in science class.

A photograph of the permission slip was posted by a startled mother to her Twitter account, MainLineHousewife, and picked up by free-range parenting activist Lenore Skenazy:

Teachers are generally provided with lists of students with medical issues, including diabetes and allergies–a list I used to consult before bringing in treats to school after the AP Biology test or for an early-morning study session, so I could bring an appropriate substitution as needed. So unless parents are keeping their kids’ food allergies a secret, which is unwise to say the least, the probable reason to give a permission slip before feeding kids one lonely little Double Stuf Oreo is because you’re worried a parent is going to be mad at you for offering their sixth-grader a 70-calorie cookie.

Fox News is still wrong about schools not needing basic dietary guidelines. But the idea that an occasional treat like one Double Stuf Oreo is something that needs to be locked away, only to be released by the magic of a signed permission slip, sounds a lot like the kind of thinking that leads kids to obsess over food; as if the one-time application of two wafers and some stuffing (excuse me, some stuf) is going to destroy a kid’s health and well-being. As a wise Cookie Monster once said, “Cookies are a sometimes food.” Not, “Cookies are a never food, oh god, this is going straight to your thighs.”

Kids need a little breathing room to make decisions, and extremely low-consequence decisions like “Hmm, do I want to eat this cookie?” do not require parental intervention. Requiring a permission slip for something like this tells a kid that not only are cookies some risky business, but also that they’re not capable of making even minor choices without parental oversight. Everyone wants a parental safety net in place as their kids navigate that oh-so-angsty middle school tightrope, having a parental helicopter constantly hovering nearby and calling out “Everything going okay? Do you need my help?” for every nerve-wracking step doesn’t do anyone any favors.

A cookie does not need a permission slip. A child does not require constant parental oversight. I, however, do very much require some Double Stuf Oreos. Just one question: do I need my mom to sign my permission slip before I go to the grocery store, or is it okay if my husband signs it instead?

(Image: Stacey Newman / Getty)

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