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Snack Attack


In 2007, an Oregon law was enacted preventing the sale of high-calorie snacks on school campuses, according to The Oregonian. Intending to curb the growing problem of child obesity, schools did away with vending machines that sold Cokes and candy. However, as an additional consequence of the law, teachers have also lost access to junk-food vending machines. And they’re not happy about it.

On Friday, a group of teachers appealed to the House Education Committee to ask that the vending machines be returned to employee-only areas. "We are adults," said 4th grade teacher Dorothy Powers from Hillsboro. "We have rights." Laurie Wimmer Whelan, a lobbyist for the Oregon Education Association, agreed that teachers should be able to satisfy their snack cravings. "Whether a teacher wants to buy a bag of peanuts or a cookie shouldn't be a legislative issue," she stated.

Those in favor of upholding the law say that teachers have an obligation to set a positive example for students. Nancy Becker, head of the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance, pleaded with legislators to uphold the pervasive food restrictions for other health-related reasons. "Sixty-six percent of Oregonian adults are overweight or obese," she said. "Does this committee really want to pass a law that makes it easier for people to have access to junk?"

The committee voted 7-2 in favor of sending the measure on for a full House vote.


Does anybody else see the workings of Big Brother here? I don't even think students should have these limits. If anything, we should educate them to make better choices, not just put off the bad choices until after school.

Legislators have no business meddling in what teachers eat. In fact, they don't have any business regulating what students eat either. What kids eat is the business of the parents. Teachers can teach ABOUT the importance of good nutrition just like they can teach ABOUT religion. But they should not be allowed to push a particular viewpoint.

If teachers cannot get snacks at school they are just going to bring them in their pocketbooks and the kids are more likely to see them eating something satisfying instead of a piece of fruit.
School lunches are already nasty and getting worse every year, so the teachers have to have something to eat just to make it through a work day and only special education has a microwave and a frig.

It is time and past time to tell the nutrition police to get their Size 2 selves with the bone strength of a 70 year old out of the schools. I suspect some of them own stock in companies that sell medication for osteoporosis because that is what they are causing.

Children are victims of whatever politicians decide to do to them next from scripted curricula to those tomato- sauce-on-whole-wheat-cardboard monstrosities they call "pizza". But we should be past the day of regulating adult food consumption just like we are past teachers not being allowed to marry.

It is not Big Brother, but Big Business that school teachers complaining about not getting their soft drinks on campus should be alert about. Vending machines are a huge business and there can be no argument that soda pop consumption has contributed vastly to obesity and is often an addiction.

We've taxed tobacco at remarkably high rates, banned its advertising on broadcast media and still seem ready to extend its prohibition even more pervasively. Why should soft drink companies take no hit? Probably due the same lobbying power tobacco companies held over Congress in years past. A tax of five cents on every 12 ounces of soda pop would reap huge revenue in a starving economy whether, as with tobacco products, the sugar water is sold on campus or off. The ban on campus should stand, and an intelligent further step should be taken. Yes, Coke and Pepsi, like the tobacco companies, will fight tooth and nail against this while obesity continues to grow at alarming rates. Big Brother? Baloney. This is called intelligent government by the people, not Big Business.

Wow, Rhonda honey, what have you been eating? You sound pretty bitter. As a parent, I would prefer that my kids school not be in the business of supporting their programs by selling junk food to my kids to eat instead of their lunch.

Does that mean that they are obligated to bring in the sugar, fat and carb wagon for teachers in their own lunch room? Well, I don't know. Seems to me like the simpler solution is that you bring in your own poison and eat it on your own time.

BTW--I do agree that the school meals can get pretty horrendous. Not because the are "healthy," but generally because they are turned out in some factory place and then trucked all over town in aluminum trays in boxes. Not the world's best way to serve food. Can healthy be tasty? Sure it can, and it frequently is. Just not the way we usually do it.

I am always appalled at the American Public who consistently allow "BIG BROTHER" to be in control. We teachers, who are professional, are quite capable of making decisions on what to eat. Students need to be educated. We had better actively protest the people who "meddle" ,and have no other motive than to make money,or the next legislation will be what goes on in your household and what kind of car you can drive!!!We need to become history astute, WE CONTINUE TO ALLOW ALL THE BS TO CONTINUE. IT IS TIME IT STOPPED. YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE MORALITY, HEREDITY, or PUBERTY!!!!!!

The power to tax is the power to destroy. Are we going to tax everyone's "bad" habits (until they're our own). I'll stand by my original position: this IS Big Brother and we had best be on our guard ....

to Rhonda: GO GIRL!

I will agree to vending machines being banned in faculty lounges when they are also banned from all government offices at the state and local level.

The interesting thing is that nobody has prohibited teachers from anything. What has been prohibited is school involvement in selling stuff (to kids) that's not good for kids. I cannot see that "the state" has any obligation to provide teachers with food of any kind--or to ensure access to the vended items of their choice.

Hey Margo/Mom,
I have no idea if you go to work each day, but I would love to know how you would feel if one day you went to work only to find all coffee, soda, and snack machines taken out of your employee lounge.
Not to mention the fact that nothing in the way of food or drink is PROVIDED to teachers... we are actually charged more than the students for the exact same lunch.
I cannot stop the egomaniacal politicians from legislating what should be a parental responsibilty. However, I have one mother and one father and certainly do not need anyone, especially a gov't. agency, telling me what I should or should not have the availabity to eat.


Very few of the places I have ever worked provided vending areas to employees. The majority only have coffee because employees organize to buy it. Some (but not all) have had refrigerators or microwaves--sometimes purchased or donated by employees.

I reiterate--telling you what to eat (or not) is a very different scenario from not providing it (even if it is only providing you the opportunity to buy it). BTW--I currently work for a govt agency. It is very clear to all of us that "lunch" (or dinner) is on our own dime.

Should lawmakers be allowed to buy sugary snacks at WalMart in the presence of a child?

I work in one school where teachers are not allowed to be seen drinking a soda! We might contaminate the poor little kids thinking that soda is ok to drink. BEING AROUND SOME OF THEM, PLUS CERTAIN UNNAMED ADULTS , forces you to want to drink something to get away from it all. Drinking soda is a form of Self-soothing that we learn from infancy. I hate the rule about being seen with a soda. I don't drink, smoke, or take drugs. This is a privacy invasion that some administrators use to play "god".

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