A handful of parents are questioning a plan by Toronto’s public board to put a vending machine in an elementary school, charging students 50 cents for water refills and $1 for flavoured water.
Kids can still refill reusable water bottles at the drinking fountain; the vending machine will provide the same municipal water, but filtered and chilled. The flavoured water is essentially watered-down juice.
“I’m very upset that they’re charging kids for (water),” as well as introducing a beverage with sugar — even if it’s all-natural — when the school doesn’t currently have any vending machines, said Lisa Dooher, who has a son at Fern Avenue Public School.
The $10,000 machine, which is part of a pilot program, was scheduled to be installed at Fern Avenue yesterday, but since parents raised concerns and started a petition, the matter has been slated for Thursday’s school council meeting. Area trustee Irene Atkinson said the issue has already been discussed at several council meetings, and she has only heard complaints from two parents.