A Pox On All Your Vending Machines

by DavalosMcCormack on September 8, 2009

Schools are supposed to be institutions that feed children’s minds, filling them up with thoughts and reasoning. Instead too many schools seem to be places where children fill up their up bodies with junk and candy and “crap” from vending machines. And that investment in vending machines is undermining the investment in kids brains.

We need to ban vending machines from schools. I know they make money for schools, helping them pay for supplies and even some classes, but they undermine the school’s basic mission, namely to educate the next generation.

Think about it. Vending machines are a form of attractively packed, well-designed drug delivery system. They’re helping kids pump crap into their bodies, junk that undermines children’s  ability to get the stuff they really need, knowledge, into their brain.

Candy, sodas, chips, all the stuff you find in vending machines have an impact on the brain, impairing its ability to think clearly. A study by researchers at the University Laboratory of Physiology in Oxford, England found that transfats, a common ingredient in a lot of junk food, push out the essential fats that children’s brains need, and interfere with the way the brain sends and receives signals. In short, it clogs up the machinery of the mind.

All that fat and sugar and salt is having a direct impact on children’s performance in the classroom. A study by the New School Food Trust in the UK, found that children who eat a healthy diet do better in school, are more focused in the classroom and better able to learn, and they achieve better exam results compared to children who eat a poor diet, one heavy in sodas, chocolate and chips.

If a school’s primary purpose is to improve the minds of its charges then what possible justification can there be for having machines around that directly undermine that goal. It seems ridiculous to have something in the school corridor that makes it hard for the teacher to do their job properly in the classroom.

It doesn’t have to be that way. California has already banned soda vending machines in elementary and junior high schools and two schools in Orange County, California (Heritage Oak Private School and Whittier Christian High School) have replaced their junky vending machines with ones containing healthier snacks, without seeing a drop in income.

It can be done. You just have to put your mind to it. Of course, if that mind is addled by fat and salt and sugar courtesy of a vending machine, it may not be able to think fast enough or clearly enough to do what it should have done a long time ago.

Schools need money, but not at the expense of undermining their basic mission. If it comes to a choice between school supplies and children’s brain, it’s an easy one to make.

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