School sour on 7-Eleven sweets

Easy ac­cess to lol­lies a con­cern

Eastern Reporter - - News - Kristie Lim

STU­DENTS hav­ing easy ac­cess to slushies, donuts and cof­fees at the re­cent­ly­opened 7-Eleven in Mor­ley has raised a red flag at John For­rest Sec­ondary Col­lege.

Par­ents re­ceived a let­ter from prin­ci­pal Melissa Gil­lett on Au­gust 13 ex­press­ing con­cerns that stu­dents were buy­ing sug­ared and caf­feinated drinks at the 7Eleven be­fore and dur­ing school.

Other points raised were stu­dents walk­ing across the un­su­per­vised area near Broun Av­enue at peak times, un­healthy food af­fect­ing stu­dents’ con­cen­tra­tion and en­gage­ment lev­els and the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact cre­ated by sin­gle use cups and straws.

The con­ve­nience store and petrol sta­tion on Rus­sell Street, which opened ear­lier this month across from the Col­lege, is work­ing with the school to ad­dress the mat­ter.

Ms Gil­lett said the store had agreed not to serve un­ac­com­pa­nied stu­dents dur­ing the school day.

She said the Col­lege had no con­cerns about the store it­self but was con­cerned about the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of low-cost, highly sug­ared and caf­feinated drinks which might have a neg­a­tive im­pact on stu­dent learn­ing.

“The Col­lege has a long­stand­ing healthy eat­ing pol­icy that ex­cludes these prod­ucts,” she said.

“When the store first opened, some stu­dents elected not to cross the road where traf­fic war­dens are lo­cated, caus­ing safety con­cerns. We have there­fore re­minded stu­dents of the healthy food pol­icy, the im­por­tance of cross­ing roads where traf­fic war­dens are lo­cated and that stu­dents may not leave Col­lege grounds dur­ing school hours with­out per­mis­sion.

“Stu­dents have re­sponded ex­cep­tion­ally well to the re­minder and there have been very few oc­ca­sions where staff have needed to con­fis­cate items.”

Ms Gil­lett said the Col­lege ap­pre­ci­ated the sup­port of the store man­age­ment.

7-Eleven cor­po­rate af­fairs gen­eral man­ager Clay­ton Ford said 7-Eleven would con­tinue work­ing with the Col­lege and com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers to en­sure the store was a pos­i­tive part of the neigh­bour­hood.

“We are well aware of the Col­lege’s con­cerns and our lo­cal team has en­gaged with the prin­ci­pal of John For­rest Sec­ondary Col­lege as to how we can ad­dress any con­cerns to­gether,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously 7-Eleven can’t dis­crim­i­nate as to who we serve, but we wel­come the prin­ci­pal’s let­ter to par­ents en­cour­ag­ing them to play a strong guid­ing role in their chil­dren’s choices.

“We know from past ex­pe­ri­ence that there may be a flurry of in­ter­est when a new store opens which may not be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of reg­u­lar trade.

“7-Eleven is also well aware of the pub­lic’s con­cerns re­gard­ing sin­gle use cups and straws and has im­ple­mented a pi­o­neer­ing pro­gram fa­cil­i­tat­ing the re­cy­cling of these items.”

Mr Ford wel­comed the Col­lege’s sup­port for health­ier choices, which the store also pro­moted with fruit, sal­ads, sand­wiches and low­sugar Slurpees.

He said they shared the con­cerns over road safety and en­cour­aged cus­tomers to take proper pre­cau­tions and use safe cross­ings.

Pic­ture: Kristie Lim

7-Eleven in Mor­ley.

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