Saturday, April 01, 2006

California students lead push to weaken school soda law: "Some students at Shasta High School want to return soda pop to their campus vending machines -- and they're preparing a statewide ballot measure to do it. Even though California high schools have until July 2007 to start replacing soda with water, juice and sports drinks, many -- including Shasta and high schools in Oakland and San Francisco -- have already switched over. Rocky Slaughter, 18, who is president of the Shasta High Student Union, thinks it's better to have a choice -- but be encouraged to choose wisely. 'Now it's like the Prohibition movement, and we all saw what happened with that,' Slaughter said on a tour of his school's vending machines and cafeteria. 'You take away certain things, and they become more desirable.' Under Slaughter's proposed initiative, half of school vending machine space would be devoted to sodas, the other half to drinks that would be labeled "healthy choices." Nutritional information about the different beverages would be posted on vending machines so students could make an informed choice. "We're allowed to drive a car. We're allowed to shoot guns. These are dangerous activities. So why can't we make decisions about nutrition?" asked Slaughter, who is now collecting money to turn his idea into an initiative and place it on the ballot."

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