State Rep Wants to Ban Soda in Public Schools. For Real This Time.

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

In 2003, the state of Texas took a halfhearted swing at skyrocketing childhood obesity rates when it took steps to ban the sale of soda and candy -- though only in elementary schools and only during breakfast and lunch. Those rules were strengthened in 2009, but middle and high school students can still get sugary beverages.

State Representative Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, is out to change that. She filed a bill on Monday that would outlaw schools from providing or selling sweetened beverages -- including but not limited to soda, sports drinks, Kool-Aid and frozen margaritas -- on Texas' public school campuses. Still allowed would be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, vitamin-enhanced water, non-fortified water and milk, 1percent fat or less.

This will be Alvarado's second go at the measure. She introduced a more or less identical bill last year, which easily passed the House despite opposition from folks like Representative Jodie Laudenberg, a Republican from Parker, who said lawmakers were "telling [students] that we don't trust their judgment on things," apparently forgetting that she was referring to teenagers, whose judgment absolutely should not be trusted.

The bill hit a dead-end in the Senate, where it died in committee.

It's a new day, and perhaps Alvarado's colleagues in the other chamber will move the bill forward this time. Or, perhaps not. There is scant evidence that such bans actually reduce kids' consumption of sugary drinks or make a dent in childhood obesity.

One could still argue that schools are sending the wrong message by selling the stuff, but question remains: What about straight corn syrup? It's basically corn juice, albeit processed into unrecognizable form. Does Alvarado's bill leave the door open for some cash-strapped school district to peddle shots of corn syrup to sugar-deprived pupils? I think it does.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.