Goodbye Vending Machines

Kryctil Gauman

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     The number one thing students always want in class is food. Students will spend a surplus of money every year on snacks. One of the easiest ways to get food at Mountain View High School was the vending machines. However, starting this year the administration has removed food vending machines for good due to diminutive mistakes made in the previous year.

     Mountain View students are not pleased by the absence of vending machines, “I was very used to snacking during the day, but now it’s not available to us, and it’s disappointing,” complained Pennalopie Valentine, Sophomore at MVHS.

     Federal guidelines require each school to get government inspections throughout the year. Each inspection comes randomly– in the 2017-2018 school year Mountain View was caught in violation during two inspections. The violation came from the school store, run by special needs students attending the school. The store was selling Hostess-like foods, which didn’t meet Smart Snacks Regulations. It was a small mistake and immediately the school store fixed it, causing no penalty.

     Specific foods are seen to be unhealthy according to Smart Snacks Regulations. “Smart Snacks” are food items that are seen to fit the nutritional guidelines schools have been provided to School stores, BBQs, fundraisers and other events hosted by the school must make sure all the regulations are met, which can cause quite a hassle for those in charge of the event. Therefore, administrators see it as less time consuming and risky to eliminate the amount of food sold and distributed within the school, which is why there are no longer food vending machines.

     Jane Harmon, the principal at Mountain View, notes “Every month the school only makes about $100 off of the vending machines, so how many people are actually using them?” In past years the income from vending machines has dropped dramatically, almost making it unnecessary to continue to have the machines running.

     According to the Colorado Competitive food regulation, “Foods and beverages may not be sold 30 minutes before, during, or 30 minutes after both the breakfast and lunch programs.” The vending machines had a set timer to turn on and off according to the breakfast and lunch schedule, but because of our block schedule the timer didn’t fulfill the expectation. Each vending machine only had the capability of setting one timer, so when lunch was at a different time on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the vending machines were running, therefore competing with school lunch. It was also concluded that the size of one product which was being sold in the machine exceeded the regulation. For example, a cookie package sold 4.5 ounces of cookies, where the regulations only said the school could sell 4.0 ounces. When the school was inspected a second time it happened to be a Thursday. These violations of the vending machines were one of the reasons the violation was noted upon follow-up inspection.

     Thompson School District gets federal funding to distribute between all of the schools. Mountain View High School was not the only school in violation; multiple schools within the district were also found to be in violation of the regulations. Because of this, the state withheld federal funding of approximately $750,000 until the district could ensure that guidelines and training were in place. The administration decided that it would be less time-consuming and risky to continue to allow competitive foods like vending machines to run in the school to prevent further disruptions to the district’s federal funding. Teenagers definitely want food regularly, but from now on the food will come from Freddy’s and IntaJuice rather than from school vending machines.

Goodbye Vending Machines