Classroom Birthday Parties and Foods in Schools

  • The following guidelines will provide consistent direction for school holiday parties across the district. These guidelines apply to all early childhood, elementary, middle and high school programs. The guidelines may be changed annually, or as needed.

    I. Timing & Frequency

    Holiday parties that occur during the school day, where treats are provided to students, are limited to no more than three (3) per year.

    Campus administrators will complete a form designating their three (3) holiday party days. Completed forms will be submitted to appropriate division directors, signed, and then returned to principals.

    Treats (foods and/or beverages) which are provided to students at no charge as part of a holiday party may not be distributed prior to the last 30 minutes of the regular school day.

    II. Non-Food Items Encouraged

    Alternatives to foods and beverages are encouraged as ways to celebrate holidays. Parents who wish to celebrate holidays are strongly encouraged to bring/provide non-food items, such as pencils, party hats, etc.

    III.  Home-Made Foods - PROHIBITED

    Given concerns regarding food allergies and food safety, home-made foods are not allowed in Irving ISD schools for consumption by students during the school day.

    IV. Food Allergens & Ingredients

    Food served to students at school may not include peanuts or tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts). Purchased foods to be served to students must include a general list of ingredients or a checklist that indicates whether any of the following ingredients are included.

    NOTE: along with peanuts and tree nuts, the following ingredients are responsible for 90% of all food allergy reactions in children:







    V. Allowable Foods

    Federal nutrition guidelines do not apply to foods/treats that are donated or otherwise provided at zero cost (i.e. free) to students. Thus, store-bought cupcakes, donated by a parent to a classroom/school, are allowable (under federal policy) treats for holiday parties. However, campus administrators are reminded that childhood obesity is a key public health issue affecting children, and that sweets should be limited to the greatest extent possible. Note that an abundance of sweet, calorie-dense treats may be perceived negatively by members of our community. Reasonable discretion is strongly encouraged.

    Foods that would compete with, or replace, school lunches (pizza, etc.) are not allowable, unless provided through the Food & Nutrition Services department as a special modified school lunch.

    VI. Student Projects Involving Foods

    Student projects completed at school shall be peanut- and tree nut-free. Edible seeds and nuts shall not be used in classroom projects.

    Supervised high school culinary arts class projects are an acceptable exception to this requirement.

    VII. Carbonated Beverages

    Carbonated beverages - whether full-calorie, reduced-calorie, or calorie-free – shall not be provided or made available (at cost or for free) to Irving ISD students during the school day. 

    These guidelines were created by district administrators.

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  • USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

    To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

    (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

    (2) fax: 202-690-7442; or

    (3) email:

    This institution is an equal opportunity provider.