On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

29th March 2013 at 00:00

This week: flapjack health and safety

Pythagoras would be turning in his grave. Geometry fans were left weeping into their puddings this week after a school banned triangular flapjacks from its canteen.

Healthy and safety zealots apparently ordered the ban after a boy was hit in the eye by one of the offending snacks during a food fight. Square or rectangular flapjacks are less dangerous, it was declared.

But how can a school be so discriminatory towards the triangle, a maths teacher might ask? We're not exactly talking about ninja stars here. Surely the triangle, with its wonderful opportunities for tessellation, is something students should be exposed to as much as possible? Surely triangles, whether they are equilateral or isosceles, should not be discriminated against by schools?

In this day and age, schools should be celebrating diversity. The delightful crescent of a browning banana, the pleasing triangle-in-a-square that is the Fruit Corner, the elegant sphere of a Granny Smith - all provide wonderful learning opportunities. Finding the volume of a cone of chips is possibly one of the happiest puzzles a GCSE student can tackle in our health-crazed society.

So rather than outlawing foods, perhaps schools experiencing problems with flying food in their canteens should attempt to outlaw food fights. Or perhaps students could be ordered to stick to hurling buns or sponge puddings to avoid unnecessary injury.

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