Hands off my chocolate milk!

You join the board to make a difference in education. You wind up fighting over chocolate milk.

An article in the Orlando Sentinel describes a scene a lot of school board members would probably be familiar with. The Florida Board of Education tabled a proposal to drastically limit sugary drinks in schools, presumably because of lack of support. The sticking point? According to the article, it was chocolate milk.

If the board had approved the idea, schools would have been limited to offering bottled water, flavored water, pure juice and white, low-fat milk. The article reports that school districts objected most to losing chocolate milk. If chocolate milk was eliminated, they said, they would have a hard time getting kids to drink milk at all.

The article includes many different perspectives and some lively quotes, including this one from Boulder Valley, Colo. nutrition services director Ann Cooper: “Everybody says [getting rid of chocolate milk is] going to be a big deal,” she said. “But if the kids wanted to drink scotch, would we let them? When do the kids get to decide?”

But here’s my question: when you’re faced with a situation like this, how do your school boards decide? Do you go with expert advice? Opinions from those in the schools? How does public opinion affect the debate? What about when money’s involved?

And here’s the real question: how should a school board make the decision? –Rebecca St. Andrie

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