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Stop trying to take all the fun out of school

First, we banned dodgeball, a game that Neil Williams, a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University refers to as " 'Lord of the Flies,' with adult encouragement."

Just a few weeks ago, a principal in Spokane, Wash., banned tag from the school playground with the explanation that "too often kids turn a friendly game into a pushing-and-shoving war."

And now a recent contributor to this column offers the suggestion that candy should be banned from our schools. On behalf of Mr. Goodbar, the Three Musketeers, my dentist and a nation of students who manage to eat candy bars without becoming morbidly obese, I demand that we stop this madness.

Go ahead and place a ban on dodgeball and tag. While you're at it, replace the pizza in the cafeteria with tofu dogs and grilled soy sandwiches. Heck, if you're intent on squeezing every last ounce of fun out of attending school, you can outlaw flirting in the library, snow days and making fun of the gym teacher's hairpiece.

But if you think you're going to be able to ban candy from our classrooms, think again. A line must be drawn in the sand, and we choose to draw that line with a pile of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Candy is the cornerstone of every school in America, and I'm not just talking about how candy bar sales help to fund student activities. Candy is essential to learning. Without refined sugar coursing through their veins, how will a student stay awake during biology class? Without heaping spoonfuls of sugar in his or her morning coffee, how will a biology teacher stay awake during biology class?

One of the biggest misconceptions about K-12 education is that children go to school to learn. In fact, our kids have no interest in education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Imaginary Statistics, the top two reasons why children attend school are: "because my stupid parents make me," and "Snickers bars." Take the free flow of chocolate out of our classrooms and watch the dropout rate skyrocket.

If we're bent on banning stuff from school, I suggest we start with trigonometry. While it's true that a select group of students can distinguish the difference between sine and cosine, the majority have their self-esteem trampled by this mystical science.

And as long as we're talking about trampled self-esteem, I think we should give some consideration to banning Laura Loddico. She broke my heart when I was 14 and it took me years to get back on my feet.

Truth is, I might never have recovered from that heartbreak without the help of M&M's and Kit Kat bars. Eventually, I met a beautiful woman and married her. But what of the 14-year-old boy who gets his heart stomped on today? Do we really think a lovesick kid can find consolation in rice cakes and spring water?

All kidding aside, children have been consuming candy for more than 60 years, yet the spike in diabetes and obesity among children has increased only over the past two decades. My sense is that this spike has more to do with the elimination of daily physical education from our schools and less to do with Nestle Crunch bars.

If we truly want our children to grow up healthy and strong, perhaps we should stop taking things out of their school and start putting things back in. Daily doses of dodgeball and tag might be a nice place to start.

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