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Arlington schools may ban energy drinks

An advisory committee wants the Arlington school district to ban energy drinks on all campuses.

The committee -- made up of faculty, staff, parents students -- made the suggestions Thursday night as part of recommendations to update the district's student code of conduct.

A campus administrator brought up concerns about energy drinks to his committee, said Malcolm Turner, executive director of student services.

"We're seeing students that are consuming multiple energy drinks in one day, two or three, and then they get sick and end up in the nursing clinics," he said. "Some of the symptoms are palpitations, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea and chest pains."

Board president Jim Ash said he was not inclined to support a broad ban on energy drinks from campuses because they are not defined by the district.

"I thought we were talking about Gatorade," he said, referring to a popular sports drink. "I'm not willing to ban anything we think an energy drink is. It's too broad and highly unenforceable."

He said it could be possible to ban the drinks during the school day but difficult to enforce if they were banned from campus at after-school events.

Other trustees wondered how different energy drinks were from other caffeinated drinks, such as those sold at Starbucks, that students may bring back from campus.

Trustee Sheri Wade said she didn't think students should be allowed to bring any drinks onto campuses because officials have no way of knowing for sure what is in them and because it will mean students have to use the restroom more often.

Turner said the committee will work on wording to differentiate the energy drinks, which have high amounts of sugar and caffeine, from an athletic drink that replenishes electrolytes in a person.