Monday, May 22, 2006

Bottle Banning and Other Craziness

Yes, I apparently spend too much time reading Wasted Blog. Which is how I came across this headline: Arizona High School Bans Bottled Ketchup. The gist is, that the school ran into a janitorial-type issue as students experimented with the fun (?) that is stomping on ketchup packets, thereby creating messes that no one enjoyed cleaning up. So, their solution was to restrict the number of ketchup packets that each student received free with their food. Extra packets were available at the cost of twenty five cents. Now, I like this solution. The idea is that by giving the students a financial stake in the packets, they would be less likely to waste them for stomping fun.

However, some ketchup-addicted students had a better solution. They brought their own ketchup. (Or possibly their parents' ketchup.) The school was okay with this as long as the ketchup they brought in was in packets, apparently their is some sort of health code issue with bottles. Now, I find this a bit hard to believe because restaurants often use ketchup bottles. They often use bottles that they refill themselves. So, if it's okay there (and maybe it's not in Arizona) why wouldn't it be acceptable in a school. And since clearly, ketchup bottles are allowed in Arizona - since I doubt these student or their parents are driving across the border for contraband ketchup - why not here.

So, what I suspect is the case, is once again the school is feeling they have to take the hard line so that some kid doesn't bring in a bottle that's been laying around the house for twelve years, get sick, and end up with the parents suing for letting the kid consume the ketchup on school property. And this stuff just makes me crazy. I understand a school was sued because a five year old kissed a playmate. I understand that lots of people out there think that everyone else is out to do them or their children wrong and they should sue to get what they deserve. But we can't cater to everything. Parents should not have to get a doctor's note to allow their child to bring sunscreen to school. In one Virginia high school, students who need a cough drop are sent home to get it.

In the end, it is the students who lose out here. All the time that gets spent on this kind of stuff, is time that could be spent making sure they learn. Which should be the primary mission.