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May 24, 1985

I've always been particularly interested in the many ways that American society rebels against harmful substances and situations. One community's concern for their teen-age population was evident in a article (May 14), "Board Puts the Fizz Back in High School Beverage Sales."

In 1980, soft drinks were banned from Los Angeles schools in an attempt to promote the harmfulness of "junk food." Students defeated the program by shopping for the banned foods and drinks from nearby convenience stores. The reaction by the students in this situation was similar to the early 20th Century American prohibition on alcohol. The prohibition on alcohol earlier in this century generated bootlegging and many forms of organized crime.

I believe that the Los Angeles school board approached the problem of "junk food" incorrectly. Students naturally rebelled against the newly enforced law in the school and bought the "junk food" in another place.

As expected, the prohibition on "junk foods" was repealed on May 13. Student leaders made obvious, yet effective attacks on the prohibition's intentions.

Perhaps the schools could have taken an educational standpoint on the issue and let students decide for themselves. Attempts to do away with anything in such a way usually motivates young people to do just the opposite of the intended reaction.

Good try, Los Angeles, but no cigar.


West Covina

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