by Tanner Hamilton
Consumable items not approved by the ASB are prohibited to be sold or distributed on campus for the sake of the students’ welfare. The educational system is a place of safe learning, so allowing students to sell their own food would be counterproductive to the system’s purpose.
It may seem like a nice way to give kids a new taste of responsibility and to introduce them into an entrepreneurial environment, but the truth is that only a small percentage of these kids are actually selling. The reason why people believe students should be allowed to sell items is because it gives them a chance to learn about capitalism on a small scale. However, even if the few students selling food are being educated through the process, it is outweighed by the potential health hazards it causes for the rest of the students.
A student’s lunch is either brought from home or purchased from the school-approved vendors. Parents and guardians control the food brought to school, and the vendors are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. According to their standards, lunches must provide appropriate nutritional value and make sure that students have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-wheat bread. The California Education Code also structures the food sold at school. All food must have a limited amount of fat and sugar, while providing the appropriate amount of calories. Therefore, all of the students’ diets can be properly monitored and regulated.
However, when students introduce a new source of unregulated food, health issues may arise. Foods brought by students are not limited by these standards. Serious problems arise when a large portion of a student’s’ intake is unknown to their guardians. Those with access to unreliable sources of food sold by other students may be susceptible to the effects of unhealthy food intake, such as obesity and malnourishment.
The main reason why schools have enacted this rule against students selling snacks is because it is a safety hazard. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education Organization, one in every 13 children have a life-threatening allergy. Food sold by students might not be responsibly labeled or advertised that is has potentially dangerous ingredients such as peanuts, shellfish, or eggs. Therefore, an unregulated introduction and circulation of new foods is likely to come into contact with allergens. For example, a student with a nut allergy may purchase a homemade cookie. Because it is not authorized by a legitimate vendor, the student is not fully aware that the cookie contains nuts. The student would then have an allergic reaction, putting his or her life at risk.
Unlike food authorized by the government, student goods do not have the proper regulations to make sure people are aware of its ingredients. In fact, they become more dangerous for students with allergies because they do not know what is in any of the homemade or unfamiliar goods sold by other students. Because of this, schools can not take the chances of allowing any kind of unregulated food to be distributed to students.
Overall, consumable items pose as a threat to the safety of students, especially those with dangerous allergies. If food was continued to be sold by students without regulatory approval, students’ lives may be put at risk. In order to create the safe environments that students need in schools, there cannot be any distribution of unauthorized goods. Even though it may seem like a liberating notion to give students the freedom to sell food, safety must be upheld at all costs. Without this rule, the school system would run the risk of life-threatening foods being handed out on campus and injuring the students that it is supposed to protect.