Norwich school bans high-energy drinks

A Norwich high school has banned students from bringing in high-caffeine energy drinks because teachers fear they are making them 'restless and hyperactive'.

The Hewett School on Cecil Road, Lakenham, has ordered its near-1,000 pupils to steer clear of drinks like Red Bull and Red Thunder and has asked parents to stop the youngsters from drinking them on school mornings.

In a newsletter sent out last week, the school said it had also banned aerosol sprays because they could be 'problematic for asthmatics'.

The item said: 'Some things should never be brought into school. Alongside the obvious we have also banned a number of other items as being unacceptable to have in school.

'One is aerosol sprays, as these can be problematic for asthmatics, particularly when sprayed in an enclosed space such as the changing rooms.

'Another is energy drinks which contain high levels of caffeine. These should not be brought into school nor drunk before school as they make students restless and hyperactive.'

Headteacher Tom Samain said: 'Our students are allowed to drink water in school because hydration is important. At the same time we are concerned that sometimes students are tempted to call in at shops on the way to school to pick up energy drinks.

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'They are not illegal but, at the same time, they are not healthy either. They contain the equivalent stimulant of having 15 cappuccino coffees. Our students are lively enough anyway without extra stimulation.

'Our students know that if we see any energy drinks coming in, we will not allow them to be consumed in school.'

The decision does not seem to have caused too much controversy among The Hewett's students or parents.

Daniel Herman, a 17-year-old sixth former, said: 'I don't think it's a bad idea. My brother drinks it and it sends him round the bend. I'm not against banning it. It's bad for people's health as well.'

Parent Fernanda Cruz said: 'I agree with banning it. At school it's not good, outside of school it's OK, but not at school.'

Jack Ringwood, 17, a year 12 student at City of Norwich School and The Hewett, said: 'I don't think they should be stopped from having energy drinks. If they want to drink them it's their choice. Personally I think they taste horrible.'

Phillippa Groome, 17, who is in year 13, said: 'I don't like fizzy drinks and I don't like hot drinks, they're just too strong, and so are energy drinks. I don't really notice kids drinking them around school. Usually they get juices.

'As far I'm concerned it would be beneficial to ban energy drinks, but I don't drink them so banning them wouldn't affect me. There are always alternatives.'

Kim Strickland, teacher of food and nutrition at The Hewett and head of languages, said there was a 'definite connection' between bad behaviour and energy drinks.

She added: 'I think they shouldn't be allowed to have them because they should all have a decent breakfast before they get here. They shouldn't need any extra false energy. It's not just energy drinks, it's coke and all sorts.'

It is not the first time that a school has taken issue with high-energy drinks. In March, Oxted School in Surrey banned them, while in October 2009, Cardinal Newman School in Hove, East Sussex, asked two nearby shops not to sell the products to its students.

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