Recently elected Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman vowed to repeal the sugary drink ban, the rule that prohibits the sale of soda and other sugary, salty snacks from all Howard County Public Schools and public property.
This will be Kittleman’s first move as the new executive. The repeal is still pending approval with the Howard County Public School System Board of Education.
“The county executive can’t do it. The board of education has to do it, and they don’t do anything quickly,” commented Principal Scott Ruehl.
The ban has been in place since former County Executive Ken Ulman’s executive order in 2012.
“I remember in sophomore year they had Mountain Dew and and other sodas and snacks, but then one day it was all gone,” said nostalgic senior Paul Riggins.
Most other students expressed anger over the ban but are happy now that it will be repealed. Riggins and his fellow seniors, however, will not be around to see the changes enacted. “I remember all the athletes were really mad because after a game there were no good snacks. But the Board of Education will not let sodas enter our school machines,” added Riggins.
Board of Education Chairwoman Janet Siddiqui helped clarify the impending changes recently. “The County Executive’s repeal on the soda ban is for county offices and sponsored events. This will not impact schools or the school wellness policy,” she stated, confirming that sodas will be for sale at Howard County sports games and in school offices.
Freshman Cody Paul, however, finds the ban on sodas to be constructive. “Soda is just unhealthy, and it’s not good for our bodies. We’re unhealthy enough already as young people,” he added.
And Paul might have a point. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years classified as obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% from 1980 to 2012.
Vending machines were part of the changes administered in Wellness Policy 9090, which was adopted on May 9, 2013. Some teachers seemed supportive of the soon-to-be former ban. “It’s more about control. We want healthy options for students. We don’t need another thing controlling their bodies,” suggested Health teacher Ms. Melissa McCarthy.
Kittleman was officially sworn in as County Executive on Dec. 1 and repealed the ban the following day. Kittleman’s action occurred almost two years since the Horizon Foundation’s protest, dumping 9.6 tons of white sand to represent the sugar students consume in one year.
The repeal comes on the heels of the New York state judge’s invalidation of the ban towards soft drinks over 16 ounces. In the end, it appears the battle of tasty versus healthy will rage on.
Categories: Hebron News