A Utah high school has been fined $15,000 by the federal government for inadvertently leaving a soda vending machine running during its lunch period.
Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah, uses the money it makes from sales of soda and snacks in vending machines to help fund arts programs. Knowing that federal law prohibits the sale of soda and certain other sugary foods to students during the lunch period, the school had always shut down its machines at that time.
Unfortunately, school officials overlooked the soda machine in the school bookstore. When the feds caught the school in the dastardly act of making carbonated beverages available to students at midday, they forced the school to pay back its entire federal school lunch subsidy of $15,000.
It will take all of this year’s revenue from the vending machines — and then some — to pay that fine. That money will, therefore, no longer be available for music, school plays, and other programs. But the folks inside the Beltway will be able to pat themselves on the back for having “done something” to prevent childhood obesity.
The only problem is that the students are unlikely to do without their sweets just because they can’t get them at school. As Davis High principal Dee Burton told Salt Lake City’s KUTV, “The misconception is if we don’t let kids buy candy and pop, we drive them to the cafeteria. It doesn’t drive them to the cafeteria; it drives them off campus” to the corner gas station or nearby grocery store, where they can get what they want at lower prices and at no benefit to the school.
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