School & District Management

Oregon Teachers Scrap for Snacks

By The Associated Press — March 09, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Some teachers call it righting an injustice, but critics are crying hypocrisy. Either way, a bill to allow junk food in teachers’ lounge vending machines has pulses pounding in the Oregon legislature.

The measure, still pending in the state Senate as of late last week, was approved Feb. 26 by the Oregon House—despite objections from some lawmakers opposed to an exemption for teachers from a state law limiting the sale of junk food in public schools.

“If we pass this, we are setting up teachers for accusations of hypocrisy,” said state Rep. Scott Bruun, a Republican. Opponents say teachers should set an example for students by avoiding unhealthy snacks—even in the sanctity of the teachers’ lounge.

But supporters of the bill say teachers, as adults, should have the right to make their own decisions despite the 2007 law, which was aimed at combating childhood obesity by restricting the sale of soda, fruit juices, and high-calorie or high-fat snack foods in schools.

“It unintentionally treats us as children,” said Doreen Powers, a 4th grade teacher in Hillsboro, Ore., and a supporter of changing the law.

About a third of states have restrictions on such sales. A national health-advocacy group says some states with those bans exempted teachers’ lounges from the start, but Oregon is the only state to consider backtracking.

“Quite frankly, I’m surprised to see Oregon trying to weaken that law,” said Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, based in Washington. “It’s not about treating teachers like kids. It’s about teachers being role models and creating a healthy environment for kids.”

During the House debate on the proposal, critics of the bill noted that teachers and students are permitted to bring junk food to school in their lunch boxes.

“There’s nothing in the current law that prevents teachers from sneaking in Twinkies and M&M’s in their lunches,” said Rep. Kim Thatcher, a Republican.

But Rep. Mitch Greenlick, a Democrat and a sponsor of the bill, said the legislature did not intend to limit what foods teachers can purchase during the school day. “It was about the food we offer to children,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of Education Week


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Pandemic-Seasoned Principals Share Hard-Earned Leadership Lessons
The COVID crisis has tested principals’ resolve to an unprecedented degree, but many have gleaned valuable takeaways from the experience.
6 min read
Boat on the water with three people inside. Leader pointing  forward. In the water around them are coronavirus pathogens.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management This Intensive Internship Helps Principals Get Ready For the Job
A two-year program in Columbus City Schools gives aspiring principals the chance to dive deep into the job before actually taking the reins.
10 min read
Sarah Foster, principal of North Linden Elementary School, talks with Katina Perry in Columbus, Ohio on November 30, 2021. Columbus City Schools has a program that lets principal “test out” the principal role, before actually fully taking it on. Through the program, they work in a school for two years under a mentor principal and fill in as principal at different schools during that time.
Katina Perry, right, principal of Fairmoor Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, meets with Sarah Foster, principal of North Linden Elementary School and Perry's mentor in a school leader internship program.
Maddie McGarvey for Education Week
School & District Management Q&A School Libraries and Controversial Books: Tips From the Front Lines
A top school librarian explains how districts can prepare for possible challenges to student reading materials and build trust with parents.
6 min read
Image of library shelves of books.
School & District Management Opinion ‘This Is Not What We Signed Up For’: A Principal’s Plea for More Support
School leaders are playing the role of health-care experts, social workers, mask enforcers, and more. It’s taking a serious toll.
Kristen St. Germain
3 min read
Illustration of a professional woman walking a tightrope.
Laura Baker/Education Week and uzenzen/iStock/Getty