Opinion: We need no-sale transparency

Jason Lee

In the past few weeks, the school administration has issued several reminders through CHTV prohibiting the sale of “food and other items” on campus. Foods such as “girl scout cookies, candy, chips, cookies, and anything else” are not allowed to be sold, according to the CHTV broadcasts.


Immediately, the wording of this prohibition is questionable. On CHTV, this ban was labeled as a “friendly reminder.” However, a quick look through the Cerritos Student Handbook, which lists rules and guidelines which all students must adhere to, mentions nothing about the sale of food. This may be an error of wording on the CHTV broadcasts, or an unmentioned rule that is now only being revealed. Adding on to this, the mention of “other items” is worryingly vague. While it seems that this new policy is mostly concerned about food, this generalized wording may cause a chilling effect as students will be unsure of what will constitute as selling “other items.”


Students have also been left in the dark concerning the reasoning of this new policy. One may speculate (with some stretching) that there may be worries over students selling food as a coverup for drugs. However, there has been no recent incident, to public knowledge, which would justify the implementation of this ban. Further speculation into the prohibition could bring up more possible reasons, but many of them would either be trivial or improbable.

The restrictions mandate that students who wish to sell food must either be a sports team or an authorized club that has turned in paperwork. While this makes the prohibitions somewhat tolerable, it adds an unnecessary load to these groups that already have the common struggle to fundraise for their goals or supplies.


But this is not just about clubs and student organizations, but also for the right of individual students and even teachers to sell food or other items on campus. Some students may know from experience of teachers that sell girl scouts cookies in order to fundraise for their children who participate in the Scouts. 


Another example that I know of personally is a student who often comes to the area my friends and I sit at to sell us chips and candy (I will refer to this student as Nomen Nescio to protect his identity). While my friends and I only see Nomen Nescio at lunch time, we have grown to see how respectful he is, never being pushy with his sales and always thanking us when we have available money to buy a snack if we ever feel hungry.


After the new policy was announced on CHTV, I actually expected to never see Nomen Nescio again, as I assumed he would have been forced to stop. However, he still continues to approach us with his wares, even days after the initial announcement. This genuinely perked my interest. What drove Nomen Nescio to continue this risky operation? What was in it for him? Why spend lunch time selling snacks when you could be enjoying your break?


The next time Nomen Nescio came over to our lunch area, I decided to ask him these questions. He told me that he wanted to start rapping, and was planning to use the money he earned to buy himself equipment. I pressed on, wondering if he knew about the recent prohibitions on what he was doing. He responded that he was unaware, but that even if selling snacks was banned, he wouldn’t stop. “I’m doing business,” he said, in a nonchalant tone. 


While I am in no way sponsoring the breaking of school rules, I cannot help but feel a sense of respect for Nomen Nescio. He has a goal that he is passionate about, and is spending his free time going around to raise money to further his passion. I do not know how many students like Nomen Nescio there are, and I do not know how many more there will be in the future. But determination and a will to work such as this should not be suppressed by prohibitions with no clear reasoning. 


I believe that students should be expected to follow rules, but I also believe that they have the right to know why such rules are being implemented. Many school policies and rules have their fair reasons to ensure our safety and education, however, this recent one simply does not. While I would like to come up with an alternative solution instead of only criticizing this new policy, I am unable to as I am unsure what it is meant to achieve.


A message from the author: This article is not intended to promote disobedience against school rules, rather, it is intended to provoke questions about the recent policy that the administration has made. Additionally, any mentions of CHTV are not meant to criticize their reporters or staff for issuing a message. They are only being cited as the source of the announcement concerning the prohibition.