Junk Food for Thought

Senate Bill 19, introduced by Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier, would limit the fat and sugar content in food served at schools. Student journalist Samantha MacLaren spoke to JOEL WARD, activities director at Lakewood High School in Long Beach.

SB 19 is a good idea; it just has bad parts to it. And one of the bad parts is that it takes away authority that student associations have to sell food and beverage items. Selling food and drinks is the most profitable way for students to hold fund-raisers.

I would be OK with the bill if it was changed in a few ways.

It should allow control of fund-raisers to be with the associated student body, not a cafeteria committee. It also should remove the restrictions on carbonated beverages. Right now, the bill says high schools can't sell carbonated beverages during certain times of day--one-half hour before or after school, which is the best time to fund-raise.

Many studies have shown that strong extracurriculum programs are an effective, proactive way to combat teen violence through involvement in wholesome activities. Fund-raising money pays for the awards, banquets, plaques, trophies, athletic equipment and uniforms, tournament entry fees, transportation costs and scholarships.

Sure, we could sell healthier food. Actually, we do sell apples and fruit in our student stores. But the kids don't want to buy apples; they want candy. I'm just trying to use common sense. What do you think the kids are going to buy: apples or candy? Milk or soda?

If they eliminate candy and soda from schools, I don't think it's going to improve the health of our students, who can still go off campus for lunch and buy the stuff. The only thing this bill is going to do is make it hard to fund-raise.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World