Students may think that the vending machines in the gym hallway are broken, but in fact, they have been disabled during the school hours of 8:00 am to 3:00 pm for due to the unhealthy drinks they vend, such as highly caffeinated Kickstart and sugary Gatorade.
The school’s administration decided to disable them because USDA guidelines urged them to stop selling the drinks during school hours and they were an academic distraction, causing tardies and students leaving class to go get a drink.
“The state keeps pushing [health] regulations that we have to follow,” vice principal Jeremy Holloway said.
According to USDA guidelines, “Junk food” is coming to include more and more items, such as Gatorade, flavored water, and carbonation.
“We have to follow the rules of the federal government, so we can’t sell stuff outside of class,” principal Dr. Tammy Thomasson said.
Health regulations aren’t the only reason to disable the machines; they were also a distraction from academics.
“We had people leaving class to go get pop, so it was a distraction,” Holloway said.
The vending machines are also to be disabled during school events such as games and concerts because people went to the machines instead of concessions during school events.
“We were losing money to the vending machines when we had concession stands for games, and all the money from the vending machine goes to Pepsi, not us,” Dr. Thomasson said.
Whether it be government regulations, a need to eliminate distractions, or a loss of revenue, the loss of the vending machines has created aggravation among students.
“We should have kept them, and people will buy those drinks anyways, so why not sell them in school?” Madison Burgess said.
Other students resounded the same sentiment.
“The point is to sell during school and events, so what’s the point? Dylan Rizzo said.
Despite expected student adversity, regulations must be followed and during events the need to maintain school revenue rather than Pepsi’s revenue win out.