Teachers fear energy drinks cause bad behaviour
A GROWING number of teachers fear energy drinks are increasingly contributing to bad behaviour in the classroom, a leading union has claimed.
Avril Hall Callaghan, General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union, said parents were struggling to keep packed lunches appetising at the start of the new term.
She warned of the dangers of drinks that can contain as much caffeine as three espressos.
Teachers say many brands combine sugar and caffeine in such high quantities that children become hyperactive and are difficult to control.
There are no legal restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to children. Supermarket Morrison's was the first to trial a ban on the sale to children under the age of 16, but this ended earlier this year.
"What we are hearing from members is that many believe these drinks are contributing to behavioural problems in class," Ms Hall Callaghan said.
"The problem arises when young people are using the drinks to enable them to stay up until the early hours of the morning and then drink two or three cans filled with sugar and caffeine on the way to school to make up for their lack of sleep.
"Students arrive in class hyperactive and unable to concentrate and then experience the sugar crash later in the school day when the impact of the drinks wears off. Pupils' behaviour, concentration and energy all suffer."
A lot of people did not realise how harmful caffeine could be, she added.
"However, parents can play their part in correcting this trend by encouraging their children to eat and drink healthy lunches, if the children take packed lunches, and by under-pinning the work of schools in promoting healthy lifestyles at home," she said.