APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin school district's decision to ban shared snacks in the classroom has received mixed responses from parents and students.

Appleton Area School District's new rule puts an end to shared birthday treats and classroom potlucks, the Post Crescent reported . Parents and students are instead encouraged to share non-food items or plan an activity for class to celebrate events.

District officials cited nutrition, equity and safety issues with food as the main reasons for the policy change.

The new rule will teach about healthy eating early, said Mikki Duran, who leads the district's health and human performance program.

"This is a long-standing thing that Appleton has really worked hard to create a health culture in all of our schools and wellness, nutritional, social and emotional (health), the whole thing. I think it fits with Appleton's mission," Duran said.

Parent Erin Rogers wrote on the district's Facebook page that she was disappointed in the decision.

"This bums me out," she said. "Maybe crack down on what's brought for treats, but eliminating them all together makes me sad."

But parent Michelle Anderson posted that she supports the change.

"I just hope parents can stay open about the changes and help their kids be open-minded because in another year or two, it'll be the norm and no one will even remember what it was like to bring in cupcakes for their birthday," she said.

Stephanie Kuchenberg said the rule is a relief. Kuchenberg's son is allergic to shellfish and her daughter has celiac disease and Type I diabetes.

"Having treats at school, I'd say probably almost weekly she'd be going to the office and she'd be calling me saying, 'Mom, we're having this, what is my dose for it? Can I have it?'" Kuchenberg said. "She got excluded a lot because it was cookies or something with gluten that she just couldn't have."

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Information from: Post-Crescent Media, http://www.postcrescent.com

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