May 21st, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Get real! School fined $15,000 for soda

From Starting Point: A Utah high school might have to make cuts to programs like music and theater after being fined by the government for soda.

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soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    Fining a school like this is silly. If they don't want to sell sodas to kids just take the machine out altogether. I bet they don't because someone signed a contract or because a lobby is buying someone off.
    Our schools are broke; how does fining them make sense?

    For the record I really don't think the fuss over soda is that big a deal. I drank soda like crazy and ate sugary foods all the time as a kid and was always scrawny. Drank soda at home almost exclusively too. I didn't play any sports, but it does seem like the PE programs in schools have become pretty wussy and I either walked or biked to school. I'm inclined to think it has more to do with metabolism than anything. My step-kids had to give up soda when they got braces and they are both still chunky even after taking up football and softball.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  2. hamsta

    @ thetruth you are sadly mistaken. ever since puberty i have had weight problems. my mom still to this day doesnt buy junk food of any sort. no colas, no chips, no sugary cereal, no twinkies etc.... just meat, vegetables, bread, milk and sometimes juice. my mom doesnt fry anything. my mom doesnt buy processed food. the problem is with steroids and chemicals in your food.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  3. Joel

    If the school was told NOT to sell soda under penalty of law, then guess what, it's illegal for them to do so. Like so many other things in this country that should be the CHOICE of the consumer, this is yet another example of the choice being made for us. Although I agree that schools should not support bad eating habits, I also believe that this is an example of going to far. The fines are going to destroy the school, which in turn harms the children the law was designed to protect. It's a lack of forethought by those who wrote the law to begin with.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  4. Skeezix

    I was visiting my kids at school for lunch and saw first hand how the children waste their lunches. More than half the plate was full and being thrown in the trash! These were the kids who received free lunches! The very ones who will go hungry if they have no lunch. I understand the importance of balanced diets but if the kids wont eat it, why not give them pizza slices and corn dogs. They will eat and have less waste. Let kids have better food choices at home.
    I wont be back on to see who rips my post apart, but my kids get fun junk food snacks and are still healthy.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  5. Mike

    Parents don't do their job. They're too busy doing other things than raising their children. Our son is nowhere near being obese or even overweight. That's because we took and take the time to make sure he gets good nutritious foods. We started him out when he was a baby and just kept introducing new foods to him. Also, they have taken P.E. and recess out of the schools all together. Bring them back and we'll see an improvement 10 fold in the obesity rates. It's not that difficult people, but hey, we adult Americans don't even want to go to work ourselves and kids go by example.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Kelli

      Agreed. Friends and family thought I was crazy when I didn't let my daughter have fast food till she was almost four. Today she will go out to a restaurant and order a kids plain burger with broccoli not fries all on her own. I completely agree that if you start introducing the healthy choices to your children when they're young they will learn to make those same healthy choices on thier own later on.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  6. Furious Styles

    Somebody's gotta keep the young ones from eating themselves to death with sugar and salt. Hadn't ya heard 40% of school-aged youth have type 2 diabetes. What's scarier is that the adult form of medication being used to treat them isn't working. Pay now, or pay for their healthcare later!

    May 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • michael

      iIt is called parenting. Dont blame the schools. Fat lazy kids are created by parents that have failed their duties.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
      • The Truth

        What is this thing called "parenting" you speak of? Just kidding you hit the nail on the head.
        This may be a news flash to people but kids do not get fat or develop diseases such as diabetes from 5 unhealthy meals a week. Thats right the school feeds them 5 meals, the parents feed them 16 meals plus snacks each week. Parents even have the option of packing lunches for the kids as well. You may say what if the kid throws out the lunch and buys food at the school? Well guess what the money they are using to buy that cheesburger and soda at school would have been used to buy a cheesburger and soda at the mall later anyway. You can play the what if game all you want but in the end the kids eat only a small fraction of their food at school. Failed parenting is to blame for overweight kids, not a soda machine at the school.

        May 23, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  7. tank

    I dont think the school should be fined like that hell $15,000 thats better than half of a teachers salary. If you have not seen the show that Jamie Oliver has had on tv wanting to teach schools how to better feed our children then shame on you. As a parent of a soon to be graduate and a 6th grader I feel it is my responsibility to teach my children what to eat and not to eat. If the Govt really wants to make a difference they should better educate those making the school lunches. Chicken nuggets, pizza, fries oh let me guess these things are considered healthy. Wake up

    May 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Sandy Carson

      i agree, when are parents going to accept the responsibiltyNS be held accountable for their children's actions and choices instead of school districts, schools and teachers.

      May 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
      • emintey

        Because the parents arent with the kids during school days to babysit them. There is absolutely no need to have access to soda at school, can you name one? These are kids and dont get to make their own choices. For the few hours they are in school this is no burden.

        May 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  8. Vad

    Is soda any worse than Chicken Nuggets and Bosco Cheese bread that schools are offering as lunch these days? I would even argue the vegtables they offer are likely not fresh either. On the other hand we have to start somewhere. I guess I would tell kids to turn off the TV and go get some exercise by (gulp) actually playing with other real life kids that you see in person and not just on a computer or cell phone.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  9. GC1CEO

    So take $15,000 out of the funds for children.. to punish them??

    May 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  10. 1boss1

    My God, the end of civilization as we know it.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  11. emintey

    Good God people, it's keeping junk food and empty calories and 'sugar highs' out of school, these are children and minors and it's entirely appropriate that such items not be sold there and somehow this is turned into 'Orwellian' LOL
    If there were condom machines in the halls you people would be up in arms, why not condom machines after all, there are big bucks to be made by the manufacturers who would be sure to offer incentives to the schools for product access.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Bob

    "they might have to make cuts to programs like music and theater". If $15,000 makes that serious of an impact on any program, then there wasn't much of a program to begin with. If the district has any kind of revenue stream, then $15,000 won't affect any activity. Most districts are probably at the end of their budget year right now and probably have more than $15,000 unspent, which will not have any noticeable impact on next year's budget since they couldn't count on any carryover to justify next year's budget.

    I'll call BS now.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Keith

      take it out of the football progeam

      May 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Kevin Schlomer

      Bob, you might want to check with your local public school district. I am not aware of any in the Midwest that could absorb a $15,000 hit. That money is budgeted and accounted for completely at the beginning of each budget year... there is no way to "absorb" it in most instances. School financing laws vary from state to state but as a general rule are not the same way that financing works in business... again, because of government red tape. But the general public does not understand this. It's why districts can build new facilities while still having to lay off teachers.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • alys

      And you would be wrong. Many districts not only do not have any money left but are iscrambilng to pay for programs that are not finished till June.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  13. Fed Up

    It's part of Michelle Obama's posturing that she's "tough on obesity" and nothing more than a silly stunt. If officials were really concerned, the entire free lunch program (breakfasts too) would be ended. My tax dollars are wasted here.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • pattysboi

      Oh really, "fed up"? So you'd rather children go hungry through no fault of their own, knowing full well that kids do much better in school on a full stomach? How pathetic.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Wondering

        What's pathetic is watching the vast majority of students who are on free lunch programs throw their food in the trash as well as at each other. All this while talking/texting on their expensive cell phones, while wearing their expensive shoes and clothes, yet unable to bring proper learning materials to class. I can remember being a kid and eating meals at my house such as red beans and corn bread. We weren't poor, but we saved so we could have other things. What you don't know is that there are a lot of people in this country who are getting free meals in school, not because they are hungry, but because they applied. The poor today are ten times richer than what poor meant 20 years ago.

        May 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • pacman357

      You and the rest of the Foil Hat Brigade either must be living in a cave or need to go live in a cave if you think the 1st lady has so much pull as to cause something like this to happen, especially on such a small scale, and in a place as far-removed from DC as this school. Frankly, if she had that much power, you and every other mouth breather who posted comments as stupid as yours wouldn't be allowed to vote.

      May 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  14. denim

    Wow, a one-sentence story. C'mon CNN, get real.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  15. curt

    Stupid laws by stupid people that stupid people think are right.

    Welcome to America.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  16. Julnor

    I work with a guy who's son and his friends started selling stuff at high school. Mountain Dew and Slim Jims were the favorites of the students. Then the school told them to cease. So much for letting the kids learn about running a business. What was the lesson for the kids?

    May 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • denim

      I'd say the lesson was about government regulation.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  17. Calidip

    As if none of us ever drank a soda as a kid. It should be in moderation. Depriving kids of soda and junk food will honestly make them want it more, ie. The forbidden Fruit. Teach them responsibility and lead by example. Excersize and diet, and have a soda and candy bar as a reward once in awhile.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Wildfawn

    Schools sell soda because they make a lot of money off it. The administrators knew very well that it is unhealthy, so if they got caught doing it, good. They can replace the money for the fine from the profit they made from selling these poisons to our kids.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  19. Jimbo

    I was able to buy soda, pizza, cookies, nachos whatever I wanted when I was in high school. I was in great shape then and I'm in great shape now in my late 20s. I was smart enough to know not to over indulge and even if I did I was active and it wouldn't have mattered too much. Too bad there are morons out there that would rather sit around all day and night playing video games stuffing their faces with cheetos turning into sacks of lard, it's their own brainless lazy fault. Go pig out fatties, nom, nom , nom.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  20. Randall

    I personally don't think any kind of snacks or sodas should be available in machines at schools. The question is why are the machines there in the first place. They have not always been there. They are there as fund raisers for the local schools. Therefore, it should be an absolutely local issue. No fines, no control outside of the local school decision making process. The local school board and parents are the only persons who have a legitimate "say-so" in this. The state and especially the federal government should stay out of this.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Charlie Brown

      I agree that junk food and sodas should not be available in schools. But who or what is going to correct some moronic school board that decides that the additional revenue is worth the harm done to their students?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  21. JV

    Schools should not serve such snacks to children who can not make informed health decisions. Milk and water are enough. You want something else, bring it from home and from a list of approved snacks. We have to start somewhere ppl!

    May 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • TAJW

      Why do we have to 'start somewhere'? Why is it everyone else's job to control what other kids do regarding snacks. Their parents are the ones that need to be in control, not the rest of us.

      And this is a local issue, not a federal issue. If the parents in the school district don't want this stuff sold in their schools, they can talk to the school board. The federal government has no business being involved at all.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • ddt7300

      A list of approved snacks????? Go to e$$. I'll approved my kids foods as will my daughter in law who is a degree'd nutritionist. Not some dam government agency. 'ppl'

      May 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  22. Robert

    If the government wants to cut budgets they have to allow schools to raise money anyway they can. A soda a day never hurt anyone. Kids can get soda from anywhere.....other then school. You're not sending the right message. Kids are going to hate school more if you keep turning it into a concentration camp.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  23. William

    Never understood why schools don't simply switch to all diet sodas, Coke Zero, Pepsi, 1 etc. No calories, no sugar. You may not like artificial sweeteners but that's not why schools and soda are being blasted...its the sugar.

    Result: Schools are happy, soft drinks companies are happy, kids waistlines are happy.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • FreeReally

      Chemicals and sodium levels in diet sodas are considered by many as much worse for you than the sugar in the regular soda.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Keith

        That is true, aspertain will actually make you fat.

        May 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Keith

      because the chemicals in Diet Drinks are deadly

      May 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Charlie Brown

      In light of recent articles in the news about artificial sweeteners, I'm not sure that the artificial stuff is any better for our kids than sugar.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  24. Heather

    I'm pretty sure soda isn't the sole contributor to making kids (or adults for that matter) fat. I'm pretty sure it's a number of factors. Like bad foods, alcohol, lack of activity. Yeah, if you drink ONLY soda and sit around on your butt all day watching tv or playing video games or even just reading a book, you're going to get fat. Get up and be active. But good grief, you can't say "Oh, yes, those soda machines in the school made me put on these 20 extra pounds. They need to be taken out!" Maybe if you had walked around the block a few times when you got home, instead of zoning in front of the television you could have spared yourself the extra weight.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • tank

      I couldnt agree more let the kids get some exercise, my 12 yr old son has gym class and the teacher actually teaches them YOGA and dance class my son is usually shy however this has helped him stay active and focus better while in class. he is a thin healthy young man

      May 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  25. Bob Zanis

    The person responsible should be the one fined, it shouldn't be cut out of the school budget.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  26. Primal 4 Life

    Sodas have absolutely no place in the public school system, period. In fact, if I had kids, they would never touch the garbage that school districts serve. Almost completely devoid of any nutritional value. They are the biggest contributor the childhood obesity.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Steve

      I think the government should give you a list of exactly what you can eat each day, Primal 4 Life. You should be fined if you don't follow it. After all, it would be in your best interests.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Kevin

        Steve, I wish there was a 'sarcasm' font so everyone would understand. Awesome comment!

        May 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • RN

      Perhaps people who DON'T HAVE KIDS

      May 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • RN

        oops.....perhaps people who DON'T HAVE KIDS are not the best ones to decide what kids should/shouldn't have.

        May 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
      • stateschool

        Because parents are doing such a good job on their own? In case you've somehow missed it, today's American parents have set the all-time WORLD record for fattest kids. Way to go.

        May 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Wondering

      "If I had kids".....priceless.....thank you for the laugh

      May 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  27. Whatever

    Good, I don't want my kid eating or drinking junk food at school and if fines keeps it out of the schools, then so be it.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • TAJW

      Instead of relying on the Fed to control it...why don't you be responsible for teaching your kids what they should and should not eat, according to your standards.

      You have no business telling the other parents what standards they allow their kids to live to, and the Fed does not either.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
      • Bob

        The Fed does have a say so. They provide considerable funding to the school lunch, breakfast, and snack programs that the school districts benefit from. If school districts, meaning the taxpayers that fund that district, don't want the Feds involved, then they can choose another method of providing meals to the students in the schools.

        May 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • Charlie Brown

        That's not a good idea. What if my standards for my kids are low enough to allow junk food and
        sugar-filled sodas? Expecting parents these days to educate their kids about their diets is apparently unrealistic (sigh).

        May 23, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  28. hamsta

    Just what we need – the food police! does anyone feel like we are living inside of an orwell novell? good God let the kid have a coke, it wont kill him anymore than the steroids and chemicals in our food.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:41 am |