Schools' Sugary Drink Bans

Portland, Maine bans soda and Colorado schools switch to sports drinks

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Soda bans, sugary drink taxes and sports drinks debates have been hot topics for Summer 2012 and show no signs of abating in fall. Schools across America are joining the anti-soda bandwagon. Portland, Maine just announced a pan-public school proscription on the sale of soda and schools in Grand Junction, Colorado are trading their soda for sports drinks.

Prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks on school property isn’t a new trend, but in a country where the majority of public schools still receive subsidies from soda conglomerates, it’s a bold move. Students, staff, and visitors won’t be able to buy sugary drinks or food on school grounds or at school sponsored events or field trips. That means no cans of coke at the football game and no cookies sold at PTA bake sales. Chandra Turner, the public health coordinator for Portland’s schools, told The Portland Press Herald that, “the policy doesn't prevent a student or teacher from bringing a soda to school. They just won't be able to buy one from a machine.”

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Schools in Colorado’s 51st district are taking a different approach to reduce the amount of fizzy drinks sold on school property; they’re removing all soda and replacing them with sports drinks. Parents and kids appeared, on the whole, supportive of the removal. One parent told the local news channel, “Anything is better than soda, so I would say having the sports drinks is better than soda.” That doesn’t mean that sports drinks will be available to all students. Elementary schools will only provide milk and water, middle schoolers will have access to juice, and high schoolers can purchase either V8, vitamin water, or Powerade. Although the state established a mandate a few years ago that removed high calorie drinks from state schools, many schools have yet to implement changes.