No vending machines for students, but more for teachersMonday, March 12, 2007 By Eric Dunn//Staff Writer
This year the state mandated that all soda machines be removed from middle schools and replaced with a “healthy alternative” due to high childhood obesity rates in North Carolina. While Pepsi replaced most of the machines with bottled water dispensers, some machines remain that students normally do not have access to, such as the ones in the teachers’ lounge. “North Carolina state law states that public schools can’t give middle school students [a certain] amount of fats or sugars, so the companies that owned the machines had to replace them,” said Assistant Principal Josh Bishop. Many parents and teachers approve. “I think it’s a sign of national improvement when public schools start taking greater initiative to reduce childhood obesity,” said Northwest parent Jan Snead. “Parents can’t always monitor their children, so it’s great that schools now have nutrition programs.” Although parents may like the new policy, many students disagree. “We came back from summer break and all the soda machines were gone,” said eighth grader Charity Brigham. “They weren’t even on a timer, they were gone. What gives the state the right to choose what goes in my body anyway?” High school students, who have been known to express frustration with their middle school counterparts, are enraged by the situation. “It isn’t fair,” said freshman Khrystina Newman. “We shouldn’t have to deal with a policy directed at the middle school. After all high school is about independence, but I guess that’s now one of the prices for going to Northwest.” The purchase of new vending machines for the teacher’s lounge has only aggravated the situation. Over winter break the school acquired two new machines that require key cards for use, making it harder for students to acquire the contraband drinks.