Citrus HS students press for coffee in school cafeterias

Inverness, Florida- A coup of caffeine-loving students is working to convince school board members in Citrus County to allow school cafeterias to serve coffee before morning classes.

“I think they’ve been pretty enthusiastic about it,” said Roy Pistone, the Director of Food and Nutrition for Citrus County Schools. “That was the overwhelming question that came up at every student advisory council.”

“They are customers just like anyone else,” said Pistone of the district’s nearly 5,000 students.

He says when students spoke up during recent advisory council meetings, school administrators listened.

“They’ve gone through the proper channels to try and make this work. So, that- I’m excited about. It’s nice to see kids thinking the process through.”

The school district won’t be serving up extra-large Caramel Coffee Coolatta’s or Venti Mocha Frappuccinos high in fat and caffeine. If approved, only a single 10 ounce cup of coffee would be available to students who arrive bright and early at 7:00 a.m.

“If students want creamer or they want sugar- that we have to regulate,” said Pistone of the U.S. Agriculture regulations and the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. Those regulations do allow for caffeinated beverages in public schools, but limit the amount of sugar and cream.

And with Coke and other soft drinks already available, many students wonder– what’s the big deal?

“Well people already drink coffee in the morning,” said sophomore Mark Pricher. His sister Megan also supportive of the idea. “It would save time. They would get to school faster and they wouldn’t be late.”

The district plans to survey parents before making any decision. If all goes well, supporters say they could see coffee in the cafeteria as early as March of this year.