A New Jersey school district has ordered the PTA to stop selling ice cream to students on campus because the longtime fundraising violates state and federal law.
For years the PTA in Parsippany, New Jersey sold ice cream once a week on campuses across the district. The money was used to fund cultural arts programs and field trips for the students.
But earlier this week, the district superintendent sent a letter to the group informing the parents that those tiny cups of ice cream could no longer be sold on campus.
“We don’t know the full extent of the issue, but the PTA cannot sell ice cream during our lunch time hour,” PTA president Liz Kadian told Fox News. “It’s disturbing to many parents.”
Supt. LeRoy Seitz told Fox News that the district has no choice in the matter.
“While we fully understand that our students enjoyed the PTA ice cream fundraisers in the past and that the ice cream sale fundraiser was very successful for our PTAs, we cannot approve activities, including PTA ice cream sales that are in violation of state regulations,” he said in a statement.
The law forbids any food sale fundraising efforts during the “hours when our school nutritional program is in operation.”
“It is unfortunate that we cannot permit the PTA ice cream sales during the hours that lunch is being served and again, we have asked our principales to work with his or her PTA to find other opportunities to fundraise that are in compliance with state regulations,” he said.
“I think it’s ridiculous and a majority of the parents feel the same way,” Kadian told Fox News. “It’s a once-a-week treat.”
Dozens of parents are voicing their extreme displeasure about the new ice cream ban on the Parsippany Patch website.
“I can only imagine what will be next,” one parent wrote. “Will the school board start checking lunch boxes making sure that parents did not pack too many Twinkies or yodels?”
“Whether it is federal, state or local government-mandated, another piece of childhood innocence is being taken away,” another parent wrote. “How sad that an elementary school child can’t look forward to buying something as simple as an ice cream bar once a week.”
Last week more than 1,000 students at Parsippany Hills High School staged a strike against the cafeteria to protest federal guidelines governing portion size. As a result, a number of parents are now packing lunches for their children.
Kadian said she understands the USDA’s concerns over healthy lunches – but she noted that the ice cream they sold met state guidelines. The ice cream cups contained about four bites of – and the ice pops were sugar-free.
Teachers also used the weekly ice cream sale as an incentive – offering students the chance to earn certificates for a free treat.
But Kadian said the bigger issue is fundraising. Without the ice cream sales, many student activities could be jeopardized.
She said the PTA will be meeting soon to discuss their options.