A recent daily bulletin announced: “Students: please remember that there is a ‘No Birthday Balloon Policy’ on campus. Thank you.” Students shot each other quizzical looks in shock after this announcement echoed through the classrooms.
Surprising friends with balloons on their birthdays has become a part of the student culture. At least twice a week, a colorful arrangement of balloons bobs around the halls. In order to clarify the new policy, Interim Principal Lisa Cooper provided a thorough explanation. “There is currently not a balloon policy in writing as [staff] became aware of the issue after the school year began. But now that we are aware of the safety concerns [and classroom distractions], we are asking students not to bring balloons to school because if [they are] accidentally released in classrooms, they can set off alarms and sensors. Large balloons and balloon bouquets [also serve as] a distraction in the classrooms.”
Similar to all of the school’s policies, its purpose is to ensure student safety and ensure the best environment for all students to learn. Cooper assured that it will be incorporated into the Culver City High School Handbook. “We do make amendments to the handbook policies (add/change/delete) as needed. Due to the increased volume of balloons we are seeing on campus, this is one policy that will be added for future reference.”
Recent birthday girl, freshman Lucia Alcantar, was unaware of the policy. “I just came to school and my friends surprised me with balloons,” she said. Cooper is completely understanding of the kind gesture. “I think that it is great that students are acknowledging and celebrating birthdays with friends, but we ask that balloons not be brought to school and that students explore other tokens of celebration.”
Instead of balloons, consider making your own card for a friend’s birthday. Another alternative could be pins that local stores like Target sell with “Birthday Girl/Boy” printed largely on the front that you can give as a gift. But do not think you are restricted to celebrate your friends’ birthdays. This policy is an opportunity to use your creativity and invent new special ways to express your appreciation and love for your friends on the days they were born.