Soda ban irks youth
Seventeen-year-old Jillian Scott will be a senior at Yuba City High School in August and was none too thrilled to hear that her governor may deny her the option of buying soft drinks on campus.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is encouraging further legislation that will make school meals and snacks healthier, and that includes a bill that would take soda machines off high school campuses.
Soft drink sales are banned in elementary schools.
Scott was working Monday evening at the pretzel shop in the Yuba-Sutter Mall and made a face when asked what she thought of the restriction.
"I wouldn't like it at all," she said. "I don't drink much soda at school, but variety is good, and they'd be taking choices away."
Scott said a choice between water and milk is not enough.
"I'm not a milk-drinker, especially from a vending machine," she said.
Schwarzenegger's plan is to convince lawmakers to pass SB395, which would allow high schools to sell soda 30 minutes before and after the school day but eliminate soft drinks during school hours.
While on campus, students could buy only water, milk, drinks that contain are at least half fruit juice with no added sweeteners or sports drinks that specifically replace electrolytes.
Jed Honea will be a freshman this year and said he thinks the ban would be a good idea.
"I think it'd be better, because soda is bad for your health," he said while hanging out at the mall.
Honea, 14, is not in imminent danger of losing soda privileges: He was visiting Yuba City from Texas. However, he said, he would be in favor of a ban should it reach the Lone Star State.
"I think taking it out will help with childhood obesity," he said.
Kaitlin Owen of Yuba City shrieked, "What?" when told of the governor's plan.
"I think that's wrong, we should be able to have soda," the 12-year-old said while waiting her turn at the arcade in the mall.
Owen will be in the seventh grade this year and said that while she doesn't drink a "whole lot" of soda, she does occasionally bring one to school in her lunch.
"If we forgot them in our lunch, then we wouldn't be able to get it," she said.
In 2003, California became the first state to prohibit the sale of soft drinks in middle and elementary schools.
Several companies and associations are against the ban, arguing that students can still bring the soft drinks to school and get them before and after.
Several districts, including Los Angeles Unified School District, already impose the soda ban in high schools.
The bill currently is in the Assembly.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Kymm Mann can be reached at 749-4708. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.