Sugar highs brought low

District bans soda and candy sales—as well as cheerleaders’ stunts

Reg Govan

Reg Govan

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

As concerned as they may become about extra testing, students in the Chico Unified School District are already unhappy about their lack of sweets and stunts.

Starting this year, under a federal mandate August 17, schools are not permitted to sell candy and sodas on campus. Meanwhile, CUSD has decided to prohibit cheerleaders from performing acrobatic maneuvers.

The ban on sugary snacks and sodas stems from the Child Nutrition and WIC Re-Authorization Act of 2004, which requires all schools with federally funded meal programs to implement nutrition and physical-activity policies by the start of the 2006-07 school year.

Vending machines in CUSD now carry water and juice; snack machines feature items such as Sun Chips and oatmeal cookies.

It’s not clear how much the new rules will affect students’ eating habits. Chico High, for instance, is an open campus where students are free to come and go; therefore, they can purchase candy and soda at the convenience stores and restaurants near campus during lunch breaks.

One thing seems certain: The ban will hurt the business of Chico High’s Panther Post, a brick hut in the center of the school that sells school paraphernalia and snacks, said Miranda Strisower, a student employee. The Associated Student Body built the hut to earn money for the student government.

Melissa Strisower stocks shelves at Chico High’s Panther Post.

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Also upsetting students is a restriction on acrobatic stunts imposed on the cheerleading squad. CUSD’s insurance policy won’t cover that activity, said Reg Govan, assistant principal at Chico High.

“They’re throwing these little girls seven feet in the air, and the other little girls are catching them,” Govan said. “And it’s over hard ground.”

Strisower, a former cheerleader, questions the policy. “They go to big competitions,” she said. “How are they supposed to win without being allowed to stunt?”