BOSTON, May 7 (UPI) -- Massachusetts lawmakers voted to ban bake sales at public schools in an effort to combat an obesity epidemic affecting about a third of the state's students.
Effective Aug. 1, no food other than school-provided meals will be allowed to be sold at schools, the Boston Herald reported Monday.
State officials are further looking to ban the sale of treats at after-school events, including banquets, door-to-door candy sales and football games.
The state Departments of Public Health and Education says the move is to battle obesity in children but parents say it will hurt fundraising for athletic equipment, band trips and other features of school life.
"If you want to make a quick $250, you hold a bake sale," said Sandy Malec, vice president of the Horace Mann Elementary School parent-teacher organization.
Middleborough School Committeeman Brian Giovanoni said his school board will discuss the mandate Thursday.
"My concern is we're regulating what people can eat, and I have a problem with that. I respect the state for what they're trying to do, but I think they've gone off the deep end. I don't want someone telling me how to do my job as a parent. ... Is the commonwealth of Massachusetts saying our parents are bad parents?" he said.
"We're not trying to get into anyone's lunch box," Dr. Lauren Smith, the DPH's medical director, told the Herald. "We know that schools need those clubs and resources. We want them to be sure and have them, but to do them a different way. We have some incredibly innovative, talented folks in schools who are already doing some impressive things, who serve as incontrovertible evidence that, yes, you can do this, and be successful at it."