By: Aashika Mehta
Sodexo vending machine located near the gymnasium and lower dining halls now have implemented a time-restriction only allowing drinks to be purchased after 3:00pm. The policy was put into place for many reasons predominantly spearheaded by a complaint lodged by a parent regarding unhealthy snacks and beverages at North to try and cut-down on students roaming the hallways during class.
“We see a lot of students just leaving class. They tell their teachers, ‘I’m going to the bathroom,’ but then end up in the lunchroom. Or they ask, ‘Can I get a drink of water?’ Instead of going to the water fountain, they come down to the vending machine to get their water,” said North’s security guard, Mark Royster. This new policy emphasizes the staff’s priority to keep students where they should be and decrease unnecessary movement that goes on during class time.
However, this rule pertains to one of the few working machine that sells water at North. Water can still be purchased from the dining halls from blocks one through three as well as during lunch, but from blocks four through six, there is no available water being sold. Students may get water from water fountains only.
Reactions to this new policy have been drastic and overwhelmingly negative. “Students need to stay hydrated. Not allowing students to purchase water for the majority of the day, or any beverages for that matter, is unfair and prevents students from staying healthy,” said 2020 Class Vice-President, Rohan Patel. For others, the increasing restrictions at North have sparked anger. “Adding another restrictive policy was not the best call. There have been already so many changes this school year, from the library passes, the gate, to the harsh rules between upper and lower, and now the water.” said sophomore Saniya Mandloi. Although there are significant negative consequences, some positive health benefits are that fewer students consume sugary drinks during the day, and more students bring in reusable water bottles from home– thereby reducing the carbon footprint we leave on the Earth.
Regardless, sodas and the vitamin water will not be sold for much longer. The current stock of the carbonated drinks in the cafeteria are being used up completely, and after that they will no longer be replaced in the machines nor during lunch in the cafeteria. All soda will be replaced with water and vitamin water will be replaced with vitamin water zero. Along with that, many snacks will also be replaced. “The Famous Amos cookies are gone and so are the fudge stripe cookies. I think it definitely could have been handled a little differently. It went all of a sudden from everything to nothing,” said Tony Breese.
Although viewpoints on the policy have been extremely controversial, in order to keep the school safe, it’s necessary in response to the students who linger the hallways during class time and shows how North is taking a step toward a healthier future.