Local News

Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board Ponders Bold Proposal

Posted June 16, 2004 5:34 a.m. EDT

— Seventeen percent of young people are seriously overweight. The problem is epidemic.

Schools across the state are looking for ways to get kids to eat healthier. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system is talking about sweeping changes to get sugar out of the hallways.

Thursday, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board will consider a proposal to eliminate soft-drink machines, limit class celebrations with cake to one per month and eliminate food as a reward.

It appears to be a pretty bold move. If the proposal is approved, soft drinks and snack food practically would be a thing of the past in Chapel Hill and Carrboro schools.

It also would give the school system a superior rating under the new state nutrition guidelines announced last month.

"I think that's one of the challenges -- to find other ways to reward rather than always relying on cupcakes," school board member Lisa Stuckey said.

East Chapel Hill High School Principal David Thaden said he would not miss the school's $20,000 Pepsi contract.

"We spent that money," Thaden said. "It was part of a one-time upfront long-term commitment we made."

Chapel Hill High School senior Adrian Galeana said he he buys three soft drinks a day at school and does not think students will go for the proposal.

"I think they'd be really upset," Galeana said.

Grandmother Jan Russell, meanwhile, said she could do without the sugar -- and so can her grandkids.

"I didn't have a choice growing up," Russell said. "I ate what my mother fixed, and it wasn't snack food."

The school system will talk about the idea Thursday night. A vote will come later.

According to the

North Carolina Healthy Weight Initiative,

a middle school in Gaston County is the only school in the state to have eliminated soft-drink machines.