A health teacher at Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School in New Mexico is moving to ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, claiming the trendy snack food represents a health hazard and is just too messy, WTVR reports.
In a letter sent home to parents, the teacher outlines four reasons Cheetos should be kept at home, the first being poor nutritional value. The teacher notes that some students treat Cheetos as a replacement lunch — one that is far less healthy. Additionally, the students share their Cheetos, facilitating the spread of germs. And the final reason: school janitors have to clean up red fingerprints everywhere as a result of the dye used in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
“My daughter brings snack packs to school,” parent Chante Coleman told KTLA. “I don’t have her bringing a family size pack of Cheetos to school. Just because I know my child and I know she would eat the whole bag in one day.”
One bag of Cheetos contains four servings, but administrators worry students will devour the entire bag’s contents, consuming 44 grams of fat and nearly 700 calories. By comparison, new USDA school lunch guidelines set calorie maximums of up to 650 for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, 700 for sixth through eighth graders and 850 for high schoolers.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Noble Street Charter School Network and Rockford Public Schools have already banned Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, citing nutritional concerns. Renita Weiskircher, Rockford’s director of nutrition services, says students complained following the 2010 ban but “have learned to adjust.” Whereas the district used to sell about 150,000 bags of the popular Cheetos flavor annually, it now just sells baked regular Cheetos, with cheese sauce on the side. Jackson Elementary School in Pasadena, Calif. confiscates Hot Cheetos that appear at school.
In Skokie, Ill.’s Niles West High School, "junk food" sales are banned, so a sighting in the cafeteria “means someone brought Flamin' Hots from home or the store," senior Morgan Gstalter told the Tribune. "They are rare, so you become the coolest kid in class if you have them that day."
"Eight out of 10 kids bring them to school," Lake View High School senior Abigail Hernandez told the paper. "And I used to be one of them in middle school. I ate them every day, even for breakfast, and I got really big. There were days when, if my mother didn't buy them for me, I would get so mad. … It took me three months to quit."