The Snack Ban Debacle
By RANI CHOR
We all see it at least once in our high school careers: a duffel bag or unzipped backpack filled to the brim with chips or candies. Evidence that illicit profit is being collected in the open.
Although there is a strict rule prohibiting the sale of outside food during school hours, most staff members and students turn a blind eye due to the tasty awards reaped for only a few dollars. Usually, student sellers will raid low-cost snack stores, such as Walmart and Costco, to stock up on snacks that could be sold for a profit of hundreds of dollars per day. This under-the-table practice raises a very valuable question: Should students be allowed to sell their own snacks and keep their profit during school?
In the eyes of a fellow student, selling snacks during school hours breeds a sense of entrepreneurship and independence. However, this should ultimately be considered a privilege, not a right.
As teenagers, there are not many opportunities to legally make a quick buck. Though snack selling is against school rules, it is in no way illegal in the state of California. Due to colleges, cars and other big finances, bills will quickly overshadow a teens allowance or side job. In fact, data collected by Bank Rate found that Generation Z and millennials spend the most money, despite earning the least average amount of income.
Students who sell snacks might not end the day with a sizable pile of cash, but they are inevitably breeding entrepreneurship and financial independence. When students discuss bargains for a bar of candy or Tostitos, they are learning how to navigate through the capitalist market. Not only does this experience create a valuable long-term advantage for a student’s future, but also better prepares students to compete in the American economy. Many entrepreneurs discovered ways to create a business at a young age, whether that be Warren Buffet who sold gum, soda and magazines door to door during his childhood or a student at Wilson high school. Entrepreneurs take the opportunity to make a profit when they see it, and allowing students to sell snacks during school would be nurturing this entrepreneurial spirit.
Additionally, allowing snacks to be sold in the open would curve the number of students skipping meals because they find school food untempting. A study by Megan Bomba and Elizabeth Medrano from the Choose Health LA Kids program found that in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 30% of the students who do not eat school food get food from the student store, 18.29% bring lunch from home and 37% skip lunch entirely.
Despite the law created by the California Department of Education that states that the last student to receive food must have at least 20 minutes left to eat, this is not always the case. Therefore, it makes sense that affordable and easily accessible snacks offer the student body a variety of food options that can be accessed at any point of the school day.
On the other hand, removing the snack ban could potentially compromise student safety. In the eyes of administrators, allowing students to explore the realms of marketing does not outweigh the possible $10,000 lawsuit due to the unregulated food. Although drugs have not been brought to campus in years, a high school could potentially become a marketplace for harmful products sold by student dealers. Of course, if the snack ban is lifted, regulations would need to be placed.
Nonetheless, that is for another day and ten more board meetings where students like you can speak up for our snacks.
Moreover, at the end of the day, goodwill is more important than a few dollars. Selling snacks during school should be regarded as a privilege, not a right. Keeping snack sales from disrupting class is a student’s responsibility. As students, we have the freedom and fundamental right to individually decide what we consume. As potential sellers, snacks should be sealed and sold with the well-being of the consumer in mind. If this code of conduct is held, there is no valid reason to continue this ban on selling snacks in Glen A. Wilson H.S or other high schools in the nation.
We all remember that lemonade stand from our childhood. The prices may have gone up, but the lessons learned from selling our own products will remain throughout our lives.