Black Market for Candy at Schools
Students turn a profit from candy sales
RACHEL BYRD Staff Writer
March 20, 2008 - 3:27PM
VICTORVILLE — With candy sales banned on school campuses, sugar pushers
are the latest trend at local schools. Backpacks are filled with
Snickers and Twinkees for all sweet tooths willing to pay the price.
“It’s created a little underground economy, with businessmen selling
everything from a pack of skittles to an energy drink,” said Jim Nason,
principal at Hook Junior High School in Victorville.
This has become a lucrative business, Nason said, and those kids are
walking around campus with upwards of $40 in their pockets and
disrupting class to make a sale.
Schools have been individually banning junk-food sales for years, and
enforcement was increased in 2005 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed
legislation to combat childhood obesity, according to the office of the
Since then, schools have slowly adjusted by offering more healthy
alternatives, such as baked chips and granola bars.
But Nason said that he sees just as much candy and soda as ever, because
students still bring it from home — for lunch, and to turn a profit.
“I think it’s original purpose was pretty good, but it doesn’t seem to
be making that big of a difference,” said teacher Rolayne Allen of the
Teachers are instructed to confiscate candy when kids have it in class,
Nason said, and the punishment for making sales can be detention.
But confiscating candy all the time can be challenging, Allen said,
especially around the holidays when students bring more of it to school.
Daryl Bell, principal at Apple Valley Middle School, said that he also
sees an increase in candy around the holidays, but that for the most
part, students steer clear of sodas and buy juice and water from the
A few candy sellers are caught each year there, Bell said, but he does
not see it as a problem on campus.
Since Hook moved away from junk food years ago, Nason said he has not
seen a change in student health.
“I think they get a good nutritional lunch here, but looking at our kids
and looking at physical education scores, I don’t see how it’s been a
highly effective program,” Nason said.
One way around the problem is the school’s lunch accounts, Nason said.
Parents can monitor what their kids are eating by putting money on their
lunch cards to buy school meals instead of handing them cash.
But as long as kids can get candy, from the store and at home, they will
continue to bring it to school, Nason said.
Rachel Byrd can be reached at 951-6232, or by e-mail at