Schools abandon soft approach to sugary drinks
By EMMA CORNFORD
AT THE Grafton High School canteen, the only remnant of sugary soft drinks is a large Coca Cola fridge. But these days, the fridge holds bottles of water instead.
It seems Grafton High, along with a number of other schools in the Clarence Valley, is ahead of its time.
The Iemma Government has announced a ban on the sale of soft drinks in all school canteens across NSW, but some schools in the Valley have not sold the drinks for some time.
Grafton High School canteen manager Penne Davis said Grafton High canteen has been without soft drinks for the past two years.
"When I heard last night that they were banning all those drinks I was quite surprised because we haven't had them for about two years," she said.
"At Grafton it hasn't made a lot of difference because we have substitutes. The kids can get juices, milk, flavoured milk, water. We took the soft drinks away gradually and we only ever really had the flavoured mineral waters anyway."
Ms Davis, who has been the Grafton High canteen manager for the past 20 years, said most students did not miss having soft drinks.
"But we recently had a call from a school in Bundaberg, and their Coke bill is $5000 a month ? that's huge. We've phased out all chocolate bars and big bags of chips as well. They're just not good for the kids."
But she said that some parents needed to keep a closer eye on their children's diets.
"It has to start from home because quite a few kids come to school with two litre bottles of Coke in their bags which they've brought from home or bought at the corner store and there's nothing we can do to stop them doing that."