Last year my son's school laid down the law about Power or Energy Drinks. They made a policy and included it in the student handbook. It is as follows:
"Caffeinated, sugared energy drinks (eg. Monster, Rock
Star) are prohibited …due to their unhealthful nature and will be
confiscated and discarded."
Unhealthful? Perhaps, though I find that an odd pronouncement from an institution that serves pizza and burgers for lunch on a daily basis and serves vegetables only from a salad bar... but don’t get me started. It seems that such things pass for good nutrition these days.
In another school publication I read that energy drinks, such as Monster and Rock Star, have "twice as much caffeine as a typical caffeinated soda drink." Are you concerned yet?
What’s more the article warned that they include nutritional supplements like taurine and guarana to boost the effect of the caffeine. This is considered "unhealthful" by the school though the same article admits to caffeine's ability to elevate mood, improve memory and make the student more alert.
Personally I don’t care for energy drinks and I discourage them in my home. Still, I do see that it is difficult in a world so enamored with Coca Cola and other sugary caffeinated drinks to convince children that drinking them is a bad idea. I seldom drink them myself but with my teenagers, well, I believe you have to pick your battles. Though from time to time they buy a carton of Vault or bring home a four pack of Monsters generally they don’t seem to overindulge so I don’t worry much about it.
And, is it just me or do you think it is a bit ironic that, at roughly the same time the school saw the need to draft rules forbidding the consumption of energy drinks on campus, because of the unhealthful nature of caffeinated drinks, the PTO sought contributions for an espresso machine in the teacher’s lounge to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week?
Hypocritical? Well I don’t really take it that seriously but I did find it amusing. Still the kids don’t worry about it much. They are learning the art of persistence (and perhaps a few less desirable arts as well.) They know that if you can’t get in the front door, try the backdoor or a window.
One morning, following the ban, my son put an energy drink in his backpack before school. I pointed out the new rule at school, but he shrugged. No problem. He said he didn’t plan to open it at school and I let it go. As I said, I have enough fish to fry as it is.
Notes Over Minneapolis
Sometime later my family was flying to Minneapolis -St. Paul, on our way to visit family. I sat beside my son on the airplane. I noticed he was drinking some fruity smelling canned beverage and I looked up from my writing to see what it was. It was Full Throttle Original Energy Drink, Citrus flavor, but the can didn’t look open and I was sure that I could smell it. So I asked him about it.
He tipped it up to his mouth as if taking a drink and slurped on the can. Then he explained that while it didn’t look open, it was open, slightly. He showed me the little opening and I tried to get a documentary photo of it. This was how they drank these drinks at school, he explained. Technically they weren’t open so technically there was no infraction of the rules and the teachers were not compelled to “confiscate and discard” them as the rules described. It seems that for the most part the teachers felt they had bigger fish to fry too and didn’t want to worry about energy drinks on campus.
I’m sorry, but I had to laugh! The implications are mind boggling really. I mean when is a caffeinated beverage too caffeinated? Is one Coke okay, but two are too many? What about sugary caffeine laced chocolate candy bars? And when is open really open anyway? After all is the rule about having the beverage, opening the beverage or drinking the beverage? Are the children forbidden to have the beverage or just warned that they will be confiscated? Details, details.
Well it's now a new year and a new school. Cost and other factors seem to have decreased the number of energy drinks rolling through my house lately. The kids seem to have better things to spend their money on these days and of course there are no rules against them now so what’s the point. They seem to have lost their edge. Still, I am on the edge of my seat wondering what’s next. Kids are really an education in themselves, don’t you think? They certainly make me think and keep me on my toes.