Could More Beverage Restrictions Be Coming for Alabama Schools?

Alabama public school students could be finding fewer drink choices when they return to school this fall.  The state board of education is expected to vote this week on restricting unhealthy beverages in vending machines.

If the board approves new guidelines for healthy beverages, full-calorie soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi won't be sold in any Alabama public school. Instead, students will be drinking the diet versions. Many educators say it's good to offer healthier choices.

"Any time we can take out of the hands of the kids something that hypes them up, something with caffeine,"said Phenix City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Larry DiChiara.

But, many students aren't happy with the idea of having their favorite drinks taken away.

"They can't stop us from drinking it, either way we're going to go home and drink it," argued high school student Brian Adams. "And they get money out of it anyway because we buy the drinks."

Dr. DiChiara confirms that the school system does rely on vending machine sales for a portion of its general fund.

"The vending machine companies give us a percentage, so much profit off each soft drink sold, and it really does help pay a lot of bills," he said.

DiChiara says sports drinks such as Powerade would still be allowed in schools under the proposed restrictions. He believes those are pretty popular with students, and vending revenues won't suffer.

However even some parents say this time, the state may be taking things too far.

"Healthy is great, but taking away someone's personal choice, and if they're gonna have a Coke in the middle of the day--well, I personally need one," Tiffany Moyerman said.

"I think they're limiting too much of what the kids can and cannot do. I think that my job as a parent is to make sure that my kids eat healthy. If my son wants a soda, I don't have a problem with it," Jennifer Pearson added.

The Alabama State Board of Education will take that vote later this week.