There’s no love for candy at Newton's Horace Mann Elementary School this Valentine’s Day.
In an effort to curb the sugar rush on Feb. 14, Principal Mark Nardelli has asked parents to keep the Hershey Kisses and Red Hots at home.
In an e-mail to the elementary school parents Monday, Nardelli asked that children share other gifts with their classmates, such as pencils, stamps, bookmarks or a nice note. The treats run counter to the school’s no-sharing food policy and the every-day emphasis on healthy eating, Nardelli said.
“Last year, classrooms were inundated with chocolates and other treats, and the sheer volume of candy made for a long day at school,” Nardelli wrote in his e-mail.
Valentine’s Day was the biggest treat day at the school last year, surpassing even that traditional candy-coated celebration of Halloween, Nardelli said.
Horace Mann Elementary School parent and local blogger Emily Norton said she is thrilled with Nardelli’s attempt to start a new Valentine’s Day tradition.
Norton said last year her children fought over sharing the candy once they got home and then she had to battle them to stop them from eating the sweets.
“It makes sense,” Norton said about Nardelli’s request.
Nardelli acknowledges that his own children would sour at his request, but that he hasn’t heard any complaints from parents yet. He hopes Horace Mann parents will talk to him about concerns instead of just sending treats to school.
“I’m not going to be the candy police,” he said.
Newton school officials have discovered in recent years that tinkering with traditional holiday celebrations can be tricky. In 2005, the principal of Underwood Elementary School sparked an uproar when he decided to cancel the annual Halloween celebration after a handful of parents complained that it offended their religious beliefs and that they planned to keep their children home from school that day.
Nardelli said he isn’t canceling Valentine’s Day.
“We’re just saying, don’t bring the candy,” he said.
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at email@example.com