Monster Threat in Schools

Energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster could soon be banned from school premises after government adviser John Vincent claimed that they could be contributing to poor behaviour in schools. He argues that the short term ‘high’ that is experienced after consuming high levels of sugar and caffeine causes disruption. As with all drugs (even the most dangerous), once the high wears off the consumer can experience a ‘low’ which leads to mood swings, irritability or inattentiveness.

Children and teenagers are the largest consumers of energy drinks despite compulsory warnings on labels stating that they are not recommended for children. For this reason, Waitrose has become the first supermarket in the UK to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16s. This means that if you buy your energy drinks from Waitrose, you may have to start bringing ID with you to prove you’re over 16. The rule only applies to energy drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine which is equivalent to two shots of espresso.

Campaign group Action on Sugar tweeted its approval of Waitrose’s decision:

Even if children are still able to purchase these products, some headteachers are discussing energy drink bans on school premises to avoid disruption and damage to student well being.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, stated, “Some secondary school-age children come into school having not had a proper breakfast and having started the day with one of these energy drinks. They are very hyperactive, they can’t sit still and they can’t concentrate. That can lead to disciplinary problems in the classroom. At the end of the day they are very fractious, very tired and unable to concentrate for that reason.”

In reality there is very little schools can do. Children can easily sneak drinks in or drink them when they’re off school premises at lunchtime or before schools. The solution seems to lie with supermarket regulations.