Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 5/31/05

Be healthy and focus on the real problems
Why we shouldnít care about vending machines in schools.
By, Paul Mann (Editor and Weirdo)

Grab your pitch forks folks, storm the capitol buildings, and raise your voices because our kids canít gain unnecessary weight in school anymore! I tell ya if my kids donít weigh 400 pounds by the time they are in college weíve failed! Hell no, Doritos, youíve still got mouths to stuff. Screw getting our legislators to improve the important things, like education itself. If we canít have access to coca cola 24-7, nothing else matters.
Itís amazing how riled we can get when something as pathetic as vending machine access comes to the forefront, yet when the actual learning process sits on stage, the voices suddenly lose the energy. A nutrition bill recently passed in Connecticut that will ban many soft drinks and junk foods from schools within the state. I understand the feeling that parents need to decide what their children should eat, but once they leave home, mom and dad arenít guiding their lives.
A majority of kids would actually benefit, because they attend to learn, not gorge. Besides, I doubt George Lucas will be looking for several million Jabba the Hutt stunt doubles any time soon. Iím more concerned about being prepared for the real world. Why fret about lack of vending opportunities when activities inside of the classroom mold future citizens?
One benefit deals with the fact that kids in these schools will finally be in a place separated from the garbage foods. In our hefty society we can gain access to any number of calories anywhere. With fast food restaurants, gas stations, super markets and the household children gain exposure more often than not. Will we really be harming our children by removing the unhealthy alternatives?
Iím not advocating a world wide ban on junk foods, better to attempt moderation instead of extreme. I enjoy occasional treats myself, one soda a day and maybe dessert. Sure, parents should be able to teach their kids proper eating habits, yet with all the things they could do for a Klondike bar the odds seem slightly uneven.
I believe the Lawmakers of Connecticut mean well and care more about proper health even if it means cutting off a few greedy companies. Dr. Pepper may make the world taste better, but it can take care of flavor outside knowledge avenues. If the school boards wonít act, someone needs to take a stand.
Many people may question the right to control what a young person eats while undergoing primary education. Last time I checked, schools werenít a form of democracy. Of course students will not be closed off and they will be able to express themselves, but order will prevail.
Certain rules and regulations exist to make sure the learning process proceeds uninhibited. Growing up, if I didnít like one of the present rules it was tough nuggets. Students can learn a dayís lesson just as well with or without coin operated machines.
Furthermore, there are a lot more pressing issues parents need to worry about when young minds enter a learning institution. Schools around the country constantly battle with curriculum choices, standardized testing and teacher highering practices. I hate to think that snack and soda privileges hold more weight than students passing or who teaches them.
Will we only care about what students fail to learn during election years? Letís pay a little attention to bringing strength to subjects that often lose support. Whether little Billy had enough M&Ms will not play a factor when he becomes an adult. Fight to enforce foreign language, music, art and history. Push for the mind, not the gut.
When children attend school parents reserve the right to be concerned about many things, but junk food access should not be one of them. Children can prosper without vending machines because there is ample opportunity elsewhere and there are more important issues at hand. Instead of griping about who should tell who to eat what, be healthy and focus on the real problems.




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