Large Valentine's Day gifts prohibited at some Orange County schools

Automated messages about procedure sent to parents

ORLANDO, Fla. - Some Orange County high schools prohibited students from bringing large gifts to school on Valentine's Day.

Lake Nona High School announced Wednesday morning that gifts, such as balloons, oversized stuffed animals and large bouquets of flowers, will need to be checked into the office.

Parents were sent an automated message alerting them about the ban. In the message, Principal Margaret Nampon told parents the reason gifts aren't allowed is to maintain instructional focus and to prevent unnecessary distraction.

Orange County Public Schools says students can still exchange cards, small gifts, candy and other small items.

Trisha Barriga told Local 6 that the ban is just silly.

"It's ridiculous, we've been doing it," said Barriga. "We've always had Valentine's."

Brianna Campbell, an 11th grader at the school, said all of her friends were talking about it.

"A lot of people are upset about it because they were going to get things from their friends and we just found out today," said Campbell.

Campbell said she usually bakes cupcakes for her friends on Valentine's Day, but not this year.

"That's part of the high school experience. When Valentine's Day comes, that's what people do," said Campbell. "They bring their friends stuff and we're being deprived of our experience."

Due to continuous disruption in the front office, the school said no deliveries will be accepted either.

Brian Randoph has a daughter at the school. He said he has mixed feelings about the ban.

"I personally like to bring her things myself," said Randoph. "I think that's something I should do as her dad, but I don't want to get her in trouble for having something she shouldn't have."

Vicki Foley said she has no problem with her kids following the rule.

"I don't think it would be harmful for them to do that, but this is where they come to learn, not to do that," said Foley.

Orange County Public School officials say most schools are banning large gifts Thursday, but said decisions are made at the discretion of each school principal.

Some student said they weren't bothered by the ban. "I don't think it's like the worst thing and we were still able to celebrate Valentine's Day. It didn't impact us that much," Lake Nona junior Karli Normand said.

Local 6 found similar procedures were practiced at Colonial, Cypress Creek and Olympia High School.

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