It is lunchtime at Grover Cleveland High School in Portland, Ore. A steady stream of thirsty teenagers poke dollars into the three Coca-Cola machines in the hallway. By the end of lunch period, the Coke With Lime, Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke are sold out.Yeah, I know: blah, blah, blah, too much litigation, blah, blah. But the point I want to make is: Since when is juice not a sugary beverage?
Elsa Peterson, a senior at Grover Cleveland and the student body president, said she knew she could bring healthier juices from home. "But it's easy to walk up with a dollar and just get a pop."
That, says Stephen Gardner, staff lawyer for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is exactly the problem. In an age of soaring obesity rates among children, he argues that soda and other sugary beverages are harmful to students' health and that selling those drinks in schools sends a message that their regular consumption is perfectly fine.
In a lawsuit they plan to file in the next few months, Mr. Gardner and half a dozen other lawyers, several of them veterans of successful tobacco litigation, will seek to ban sales of sugary beverages in schools.
Parents and schools should teach kids one simple rule: If you are thirsty, drink water.