Many schools have eliminated junk food from vending machines on campuses, and some have even gone so far to ban it entirely. When schools have outlawed junk food, some students have responded by “dealing” fatty snacks to their peers. Recently, a 12-year-old boy from Liverpool was suspended for ‘‘crisp dealing”.
Junk food is largely responsible for the growing childhood obesity problem in developed countries. Concerned schools and governments have responded by establishing policies that eliminate unhealthy foods. Cardinal Heenan High School, a prominent UK school, has such a policy. Meals are “home cooked”.
Cardinal Heenan Catholic Sports College is a larger than average high school set in the West Derby suburb of Liverpool. It has expanded over the years and now caters for around 1450 students. We have a long tradition of upholding gospel values and also setting high academic standards, as can be seen from the consistently improving public examination results.
Cardinal Heenan High School states that a “great emphasis is placed on maintaining firm, but fair discipline.” As part of this “fair discipline”, Joel Bradley was given a one day suspension for “allegedly selling a packet of Discos at a marked-up price of 50 pence.” This was not his first offense; however, his father feels he has been “victimised”. Ironically, his father has also been busted selling junk food! The Telegraph reports:
His father, Joe, told the Liverpool Echo the youngster was being ”victimised” for the enterprise, which could earn him as much as £15 a day.
Mr Bradley, from Norris Green, admitted he too had once been caught selling canned drinks, chocolate bars and crisps from a van outside the school.
He said: ”I think the school has made a beeline for him because of what I’ve done.”
The head teacher of the school Dave Forshaw reports that there are six or seven junk food dealers in the school and busts occur about three to four times a week.
Is suspension an appropriate response to selling junk food? I can tell you from my experience in American public schools, it’s not so easy to suspend a student, and often the parents bear some responsibility for their children’s action.