Sugary treats ruled out for primary school pupils

Student council members hatch dariy plan

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
lollies, dairy
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

STOP THE SUGAR: Rhode Street School is striking a deal with local dairies to stop selling lollies to kids in school uniform. Student council members Alexandria Blair and Te Arahau Reihana, both 12, are pictured in front of Rhode Street School principal Shane Ngatai and Jagdish Patel, owner of K Road Dairy and Flowers.

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An early-morning sugar fix and a Rhode Street School uniform don't go together any more, thanks to an agreement between the student council and several Dinsdale dairies.

When student council members realised how much some pupils were buying, they started asking local dairies not to sell sugary drinks and lollies to students in uniform either before or after school.

So far two have signed up - Irvine Street Dairy and K Road Dairy and Flowers, and the Blackburn Street Superette has agreed for mornings.

Some pupils support the idea and others are mourning the loss of their chance to get lollies on the way to or from school, student council member Alexandria Blair said.

"When they grow up they're probably going to thank us because they won't get diabetes."

The idea was born after she and fellow council member Te Arahau Reihana noticed their class "was getting a bit crazy in the mornings".

Last week they realised why - a bag check revealed more than $150 worth of lollies from about 50 students.

So they hatched the dairy plan and she's happy with the support they've received so far.

"I think this might actually trigger some people's thoughts. They might actually say, ‘Oh yeah, this is a good idea. It'll make our children healthier and boost their learning'."

But they're planning to keep the dairy signatories honest with a kind of sting in a few weeks' time, she said.

Te Arahau said he felt a bit nervous when they went into the dairies with their proposition.

"We weren't entirely sure whether they'd agree with us or whether they'd think it's a bad idea," he said.

But he'd been shocked by Ministry of Health statistics showing one-in-five children were overweight and teachers at school were having to take learning time to settle students who were high on sugar.

There were seven dairies around the school and principal Shane Ngatai said they were hoping to get them all on board as a way of helping kids make better choices.

"We are going to see some resistance but I think we've got some really brave dairy owners here to say they're prepared to support this. It just makes it easier for us as a school," he said.

"When you get a community on board with supporting what your vision is then it's not a rule. It's an agreement. And we're all agreeing to support each other by living up to this agreement that we've got in place."

For Jagdish Patel, owner of K Road Dairy and Flowers, signing the agreement was an obvious choice.

"It's good because, morning time, lollies is no good," he said.

"It's good for the kids . . . better for their health."

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