Step away from the Skittles

We are choosing the hard right not the easy wrong, we understand that just because we can doesn’t mean we should and that character not circumstance makes the person, but this has gone too far. This is the Pixie Stick that broke the camel’s back. We want our candy.

A ban on soda and candy in both campuses’ cafeterias has been adopted for the students to learn the “self discipline necessary for a healthy lifestyle,” according to a letter sent out to parents by Head of Middle School Ronnie Cazeau, Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra and Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas.

At Harvard-Westlake, Cazeau and Salamandra strive to “empower” and “enable” their students—or, that’s how the mission statement reads. Yes, overall, the school does do an excellent job developing self-reliance in its students. We are trusted to be able to manage our time from seventh grade on during free periods and we are repeatedly told that, every year at Harvard-Westlake, our responsibilities and our academic maturity increase.

We are deemed old enough for free condoms at school, but not old enough to make decisions about our lunches. This new campaign against all that is sweet tosses out the idea of building self-reliance.

Apparently, we are so incapable of making the right dietary choices that all temptation must be removed.

In the real world, temptation is lurking all around. Working under the premise that this policy is to instill “self-discipline for a healthy lifestyle as we become citizens of the world,” should we assume the world is without candy and soda, and if so, how are we supposed to learn self-discipline when there is nothing for us to discipline against?

It is undeniable that upping the healthy options in the cafeteria is a good idea; however, eliminating all other choices implies that we cannot be trusted to make the right decisions. The new restrictions on our food choices are equivalent to putting restrictions on free periods; a student cannot be trusted to do his or her homework, so he or she must forcibly be placed in the library. It would be a rousing success to be sure.

We understand the administration’s goal to promote a healthier lifestyle. However, in a school with such a rigorous curriculum, we deserve some candy and soda. Balancing an in-class essay, math quiz and an AP Biology test in one day warrants a Snickers bar and a Diet Coke.

We propose a compromise. If the school wants to help us be healthier, there should be an increase in healthy choices in the cafeterias, alongside the unhealthy choices.

Limiting our lunch choices does not breed a student ready to take on the dietary traps of the world with discipline, but will only result in sugar-starved teenagers.

As the old proverb goes, you can lead a horse to water, but if it really wants soda, you can’t make it drink.