Tuesday, April 15, 2008


TONY NEWMAN, ALTERNET Sugar has long been a popular drug consumed and even sold in schools nationwide. But concerns over health, obesity and the risk of diabetes have led some schools in California to institute a ban on sugary snacks. In response to these candy sales bans, some students are starting to deal candy bars on the "underground market" at a marked up price. . .

Despite their schools' junk-food ban, Jim Nason, principal of Victorville High School, says he sees as much soda and candy as ever. The ineffectiveness of Victorville High's ban on chocolate is not surprising when we consider the much more intense effort by all levels of government to prohibit other potentially harmful substances like illicit drugs.

After 40 years of "Just Say No" and fantasies of a "Drug-Free America," we are a country swimming in drugs. Our government spends tens of billions of dollars a year locking up hundreds of thousands of its citizens for simple drug law violations and drugs are still as plentiful as ever. Despite harsh "drug-free school zone laws" half of all high-school seniors will have tried marijuana before graduation. In fact teenagers say it is easier to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol as drug dealers don't check for IDs. By prohibiting candy, we may be contributing to its allure by creating a certain taboo around it. . .

.So how should the school punish the rule breakers who are dealing the candy? Victorville High confiscates candy and issues punishment for sales, usually detention. And what happens if this punishment doesn't work? Should repeat offenders be suspended? Should they be kicked out of school? How far are we willing to go to enforce this ban? And whose job is it to enforce these rules? Are overwhelmed teachers who are dealing with 30-plus students per class now going to spend class time searching students' bags for candy?


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