Flat White

This one takes the cake, but you can’t eat it

19 February 2020

5:00 AM

19 February 2020

5:00 AM

A Perth primary school principal’s inspired idea to ban birthday cakes at his school in case they offended students from different cultures sadly illustrates just how common sense in Australia has now been completely trumped by strange ideological agendas. 

With a cherry on top and sprinkles, Arbor Grove Primary School principal Glen Purdy sent an email to parents banning kids from bringing birthday cupcakes or other sweet treats to class citing, amongst other reasons, the ‘cultural diversity of the school and the beliefs and traditions of these cultures.’ 

Any concerns about ‘unhealthy food’ or ‘allergies’ played second fiddle. 

Purdy was forced to backflip the day it hit the front page of the West’s main newspaper, but only after outrage flooded talkback and social media. 

Even the Premier, Education Minister and Opposition Leader weighed in, calling the move a step too far and asking the school to reconsider the policy. 

“Banning cupcakes for cultural reasons is a bit beyond me. I’ve asked the Department to ask the school to reconsider the policy,” said Education Minister Sue Ellery. 

But everyone seems to be missing the point here. We are constantly told how stressed out school principals and teachers are in trying to get through the Australian Curriculum. 

Arbor Grove Primary School is certainly not top of the state in results. And I am sure the school community, like all school communities, would rather see an emphasis on improving their numeracy and literacy.  

Yet, here we have a school principal who within the first couple of weeks of school had time to consult with the school executivereview the school’s position on cupcakes and send out this email to parents and caregivers. 

Even when writing themail didn’t seem to raise alarm bells! 

[H]appy to celebrate birthdays in the classroom but we must do so in the most inclusive, practical and appropriate way.

Following concerns raised by members of our community the School Executive have reviewed the school’s position. During our deliberations, we have been mindful of the increasing number of students with food allergies and intolerances, the cultural diversity of the school and the beliefs and traditions of these cultures, and the Departments Healthy Food and Drink in Public Schools Policy.

Note to self: this email sent out by a school principal was missing the apostrophe for Department’s and the comma after community. 

But hey, it’s 2020. Who cares about grammar anymore? It’s all about how you feel, not how you spell. Aargh.  

Interviewed on talkback radio stations, Purdy seemed very surprised that there was any opposition to his new policy. 

He even said many members of his school community had an aversion to animal by-products. 

Who are these people and what group do they belong to?  

Australians of many different religions abstain from animal products either for some parts of the year or abstain from certain foods more permanently, but they don’t try and convert anyone. They just get on and do it quietly and have done so for decades with no fuss or bother. 

Any chance that the group we are talking might not be a religious group as such but a bunch of militant vegans trying another conversion tactic? 

Surprise, surprise, that a few hours later Principal Purdy released a statement saying the school will put the new birthday policy on hold. 

Given the response from the broader school community to my letter regarding cakes being brought to school to celebrate birthdays, I have decided to put the new policy on birthday treats on hold while I undertake further consultation with parents.

Translation: Broader school community is everyone from talkback radio, social media and the politicians. Undertaking further consultation with parents? I thought he had done that already before putting his email out. 

Takeaway message: Use your common sense and get on with your real purpose as a principal in prioritising your school teaching the reading, writing and arithmetic that is so vital in primary schools. 

You know full well that if students do not grasp those basics now, they will be condemned to a life of struggling. 

The craziness of this politically correct world in 2020 is fostering a new generation of madness. 

Make the difference in your students’ lives to ensure their futures are bright. Save appearances on the front page of newspapers for when a student or teacher does something amazing to inspire others. 

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