De-caffeinated: school removes coffee from cafeteria

By Derek Hanke

The cafeteria coffee machine sits naked after not being used for morning coffee since the beginning of school.

For regular coffee drinkers, the removal of coffee from the school cafeteria in the mornings is a real inconvenience.

“The coffee removal is a bad thing. A lot of students I know rely on coffee in the mornings, including myself,” said junior Tasman Payne.

Payne used to drink school coffee just about every morning last year.

“Many times I didn’t have time to wake up before before school, and coffee helped me wake up and stay concentrated for the day,” she said.

Payne said the removal has not had an impact on helping the school become healthier and is probably hurting  students’ grades more than helping them.

“I miss being able to concentrate. Now I’m a lot more likely to fall asleep in class,” said Payne.

Senior Oscar Anderson agreed.

“After swimming practice I would get coffee so I wouldn’t fall asleep in class,” said Anderson.

Anderson, who used to drink coffee school coffee four to five times a week, now gets his coffee from Hob Knobb.

“It’s a little more expensive, but it’s still good,” he said.

Anderson said the removal has not made schools any healthier either.

“Caffeine isn’t necessarily all bad for you; it has some positive aspects. It lowers your chance for type two diabetes and can help reduce your chance for heart disease,” said Anderson.

Food and nutrition manager Jody Kramer said First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to fight obesity is the cause of the removal of caffeinated beverages from the school cafeteria.

The initiative has resulted in mandates passed down from the federal government that have made lunchroom guidelines stricter on what they can and can’t serve.

“Michelle Obama’s initiative has made us pay more attention to what we serve,” said Kramer.

Payne can sympathize with the initiative, but thinks things should be handled a little differently.

“I agree with Michelle’s initiative but she should start somewhere else, like with the fries or pizza,” said Payne.

Kramer sympathizes with the students who used to drink coffee in the mornings.

“What matters to me is that I know my students like coffee. I would like to bring back anything my students like, but I have guidelines to follow,” she said.

Kramer also said other matters are to blame for the removal as well.

“An issue has been brought up with kids coming in late in the mornings and saving coffee for first period,” she said.

Sociology teacher Suzanne Moss remembers the issue.

“Having coffee was a problem in the hallways last year. It was a daily spill kind of thing, which was problematic because people could trip on it,” said Moss.

Moss also recalled the repercussions.

“A lot of freshmen would put it in their lockers and spill it and it would attract insects like cockroaches,” she said.

She saw no positive reason for letting students have morning coffee.

“Students may like coffee, but as a teacher I see no benefit for them. Coffee can actually act as a depressant for teens whereas for adults it is a stimulant,” said Moss.

Assistant principal of student development Joe Voelker did not take sides on the issue.

“I’m neutral on the removal. It has made morning hall supervision easier. I’m okay if they were to go and sell it again should the government allow it,” said Voelker.

Voelker has not received any complaints.

“If complaints were to arise I would listen, but we’re not going to break the law,” he said.

Kramer said the coffee removal is not necessarily permanent.

There’s a possibility that the cafeteria might sell coffee again. It all depends on what we can do within our guidelines.”

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