Reaction to a Canadian student’s suspension for selling bootleg soda pop out of his high school locker called into question on Tuesday efforts by activists to get kids eating better.
Keenan Shaw, 17, was suspended for two days last week for breaking his Lethbridge, Alberta school’s nutrition and marketing policies.
Under the rules, sugary drinks are not permitted on school premises. Also, food and drink distributors must sign contracts with the school board to sell on campuses.
Despite broad support for a campaign by anti-soda activists in Canada and the United States to curb heavy consumption of drinks with added sugar like sodas, energy drinks, and sugary fruit juices, the suspension has been met with bemusement and ridicule.
“Student pinched over Pop!” and “Student suspended from high school for dealing Pepsi out of his locker (? at least it wasn’t coke),” shouted newspaper headlines.
Shaw’s mother, who is a teacher, called her son’s punishment extreme.
Shaw, meanwhile, defended his actions by saying they pale in comparison to clandestine sales of marijuana and other narcotics by his peers.
School administrators, however, said Shaw was suspended after he ignored a principal’s warning.
Elsewhere, New York City is asking a state appeals court to reinstate its ban on sales of sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces in restaurants and movie theaters.
And the US state of California has proposed requiring warning labels on soft drinks — similar to labels on cigarette packs — that spell out the risk of obesity, diabetes and other maladies.