Who would have imagined a “Third Grade Approved Snack List for 2013-14,” could gain national attention and draw outrage from so many people? The snack list was sent to parents by the Sunset Elementary School third-grade teachers, in Brentwood, Tenn., and those parents were quick to respond.

One parent wrote on www.greatschools.org:  I have just received my son's 3rd grade approved snack list from Sunset Elementary. Pretzels-Rold Gold brand only, Popcorn Bachman brand only, Fruit snacks- Betty Crocker brand only, all other brands are prohibited. Sunset Elementary is in violation of the definition of freedom, "the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action." We are in the 21st century and living in the USA, let's stop this nonsense.” 

Other parents quickly expressed their opinions on Facebook and local radio talk shows.

The ban lasted one day. After news of the snack list reached Williamson County School officials, a message was posted on the school district's Facebook page telling parents to ignore the pork ban.

“Schools should only be offering suggested snack choices, and that information will be sent home only if your child is in a classroom where there is a food allergy,” the Facebook post said. “Any reference to not allowing pork products in school is incorrect. Please disregard.”

Eric Owens, education editor for The Daily Caller reports some citizens wondered if the ban on pork products was religion-based: “The withdrawal of the pork ban did not keep parents and other locals from speculating that the prohibition on pork had been an attempt to defer to the sensibilities of unidentified Muslim students.”

Indeed, an online search of those specific snacks showed that many were indeed Halal, Kosher and/or gluten-free, like Rold Gold pretzels, Betty Crocker-brand fruit roll-ups. However a few others, like Ritz brand original crackers, were not.

“It’s not clear if there are any Muslims students in the third grade at Sunset Elementary School, or if pork offends them,” writes Owens. “At the same time, it’s also not clear if any third-graders at Sunset Elementary have an exotic pork allergy.”

Regardless, the original memo was disturbing, on several levels, including content and grammar: “Sunset School’s staff is attempting to make school parties and snack [sic] are [sic] as safe as possible for all our students, including our student’s [sic], that [sic] have a Severe Food Allergy [sic]. Therefore, please ONLY choose a food from the following list bring into school for snack. No OTHER FOOD ITEMS ARE PERMITTED!!

“…Starting Monday, August 12, your child must provide their [sic] own snack from the above approved snack list.

It would be interesting to know the full intent of the third-grade teachers who put together the original snack list, and whether or not they were chastised, for both content and writing ability. Regardless, sensible people responded, and reason ruled the day.