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FIRST-PERSON: Drop that cupcake!

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–At least one education district in Michigan allows students to bring a certain kind of knife to school. At the same time, however, schools in The Great Lakes State are encouraged to ban cupcakes.

No need to feel foolish if you are bewildered. Someone has said, “Today, if you’re not confused you are not thinking clearly.”

According to a variety of news reports, a Detroit-area school district has made allowances to its zero-tolerance weapons ban and will allow students of the Sikh religion to wear small daggers to school.

Adherents of Sikh, which originated in the 15th century in South Asia and claims to be the fifth largest organized religion in the world, are expected to wear small knives, known as kirpans, from the time they are baptized.

Controversy arose in late December when a fourth grade student in the Canton-Plymouth School District wore a kirpan to school. The knife violated the district’s no-weapon policy. However, after meeting with Sikh leaders, officials made an allowance for the knives.

“It is a religious symbol. It just reminds you of your spirituality,” Sikh leader Tejkiran Singh told the Detroit Fox News affiliate. “It’s a fight against your internal evils.”

In light of school districts all over America banning “weapons” like pea-shooters and toy guns from school, the allowance of a real knife seems rather inconsistent.

What is almost comical is how some have sought to justify the allowing of kirpans at public schools. At least one report described the daggers as 3 to 5 inches in length and “dull.” I wonder which poses more of a threat: a dull knife or an unloaded gun?

Contrast the decision to allow knives at school, dull or not, with Michigan health officials wanting to make mandatory rules that would ban sugary foods, like cupcakes, from school. Currently the rules are voluntary.

The nutritional rules are being pushed in an effort to address the issue of childhood obesity. The Detroit News has reported that Michigan “ranks 41st in the nation for the estimated 12.4 percent of obese children.”

The school district in Alma, Mich., has embraced the nutritional guidelines and students are not allowed to bring cupcakes or other sweet treats to school. The rules are to be extended to vending machines as well.

It seems the food police are now on duty in Michigan. Along with being told to stop running in the hall, Alma students will now hear, “Drop that cupcake! Back away from the doughnut!”

Will banning sugary foods from school really make an impact on a kid’s eating habits? “Taking away a cupcake treat at school isn’t going to make the kids skinny and make them get out and exercise,” one parent told the Detroit News. “They have to have a good base at home.”

According to the actions of some Michigan school districts, a three to five inch knife at school poses no potential threat, but a cupcake does. Bewildering, isn’t it?

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy,” the eminent physicist Albert Einstein once pondered, “am I or the others crazy.” I can relate, Albert, I can relate.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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  • Kelly Boggs