Upon hearing the news that High School West had replaced all of the previous flavors in the Snapple machine with new juices or diet versions of the old flavors, sophomore Angelica Stallone sprung out of her seat in the school cafeteria and rushed over to the machine to check for herself. When the evidence proved the truth undeniable, Angelica then stormed back over and confirmed her findings to her friends. After two weeks of the machine being unavailable for use during any time before 2:30 after school, this was not the reopening that students had anticipated.
“I hate diet Snapple,” stated Angelica, who then announced that she would no longer be purchasing drinks from the machine. When asked why, the sophomore responded that the difference in taste between the two is very noticeable, and that one could not be substituted for the other. But the reason for the adjustment had nothing to do with taste, or even the money that the machine earns for the school, only High School West’s head cook Irene knew the real reason.
When placed on the spot, Irene put the motive behind the replacement of the drinks simply: “We’re not allowed to sell anything sugary during the school day,” she said. But new sugar restrictions have caused the kitchen to make more changes than just switching the beverages in the Snapple machine. Josie, a lunch monitor, used school breakfasts as an example. While the French toast had originally been served with a cinnamon-sugar blend sprinkled on top, this version of the dish has been removed from the breakfast options for now-obvious reasons.
What if the Snapple machine and French toast are only the beginning, though? No one says that students have to buy either option, but most people agree that the decision should be theirs to make. The idea that the school can control what students purchase and put into their bodies was one that Angelica found particularly disturbing.
What would High School West change next? The snacks in the other vending machines? The rules on what students can bring in as snacks? And how far would the school go to enforce this new healthy mentality? After all, when most drinks are switched from regular to diet, isn’t the sugar just being replaced by chemicals instead? This may not be the case with Snapple but by replacing the Snapple, the school could be setting a new and rather unhealthy precedent that diet drinks are always healthier than regular ones.
So, the question is: did this change do anything other than cost students an opportunity to make their own decisions?