A Utah high school is learning the hard way that the government is serious about nudging students away from food it doesn’t want them to consume. Davis High School in the Salt Lake City area is having to fork over a whopping $15,000 in fines to the Feds because it accidentally sold soda through a vending machine during lunch.
Federal law requires the school to turn off its soda machines during the lunch period, which is 47 minutes a day. And Davis High school did turn off the machines in the lunch room. However, the school didn’t realize that there was another machine in the school bookstore that wasn’t being turned off. And when the food police realized it, the school was hit with a $0.75 fine per student for the duration of the offense.
Now the school is going to have to cut money to fine arts programs to make up the cost.
KTVX-TV has the report:
But here’s where things really get nutty, so to speak. Davis High School Principal Dee Burton said that the law is disingenuous. For example, while students can’t buy soda, they can buy sugar-loaded sports drinks and even Snickers bars because they contain, you guessed it, nuts. In addition, students can buy soda earlier in the day before the machines get turned off and drink it during lunch.
And simple economics is at play, too. The ban isn’t forcing students to stop drinking or eating the sugar-laced food and drink. It’s just driving them to places where they can get it.
“The misconception is if we don’t let kids buy candy and pop, we drive them to the cafeteria, it doesn’t drive them to the cafeteria it drives them off campus,” Burton told KUTV.
One commenter on the KUTV website picked up on that.
“The principal is right, the kids will leave campus. What are you going to do? Close Walmart and Quick Trip for 47 minutes every day?” the commenter wrote.
Don’t give them any ideas.