The topic of open lunch sends underclassmen into a raging fit whenever it’s brought up. The real question is, who should be able to take advantage of it?
Previously, all classes were eligible to leave campus for lunch, but then the policy was limited to Juniors, Seniors, and Sophomores (but only for the second semester). This year, the policy was restricted even further to only Juniors and Seniors, and Sophomores were condemned to a closed lunch for the entire year with no warning. Needless to say, when the students of 10th grade came back to school for the 2014-2015 school year they were enraged to find out they were forced to eat school lunch for another year.
With the over-compensating rules applied it is questionable whether or not having the closed lunches actually benefit the sophomores. The fact that sophomores are not allowed to go out only further inclines them to simply take their cars in groups and go out anyways. More than a few sophomores show up in advisory periods with their lunches from various places close by, and start eating their McDonald’s french fries or Za’s sandwiches during the rest of the hour. It really isn’t that hard to tell who leaves or stays for lunch because there are two types of people you see in the lunch period – those who walk in to the cafeteria happily holding their bags of fast food, or those who sit in the lunch room angrily staring at the mystery meal sitting on their trays.
As you can see, whether or not the off campus lunch is available, there is no stopping the students who believe that they rightfully deserve that privilege. So why not simply allow it so the students do not have to sneak around?
Centennial sophomore Anthony Kunkel talked to us about his experience with open lunch. “Well, Centennial lunch stinks,” said Kunkel. “Pizza and breadsticks? Come on.” On Kunkel’s birthday, he and his friends decided to go to Za’s for lunch and they encountered none other than Principal Johnson himself. “He acknowledged us, so we thought he was cool,” he explained, “but as soon as we sat down to wait for our food, he took our names.” In terms of repercussions, Johnson let the students off with a warning, unbeknownst to Anthony’s birthday. They simply were marked absent, which would have happened anyway. “I think we should have open lunch because we are going to do it anyway.” Although this doesn’t make it acceptable to break the rules, it would be more effective to know that your students have left rather than be unaware and have something bad happen.
We stopped Mr. Johnson without notice in the hallways and inquired about the mysterious closing of second semester open lunch for the sophomores. “It was supposed to be used as an incentive,” he said, “but it wasn’t working.” The previous allowance for open lunch required students to keep their grades up, good behavior, and maintain a good attendance. However, when this did not change the intentions of the students as a whole, the entirety of the situation caused a negative response from the sophomore student body, not to mention, said Johnson, “it can be dangerous.”
After seeing all of the problems that have arisen from closed lunch, we have concluded that there is a more effective way to handle the situation. The plan of allowing sophomores to have open lunch during their second semester should be reinforced. There should, of course, be requirements that students have to follow to get this incentive like previously. Although we cannot say that this will actually happen with the students, there is no harm in providing them with this push. The sophomores in the year they took sophomore lunch away weren’t affected any by the restrictions because they got 6th hour open lunch anyway. Administration did not give the Class of 2017 Sophomores the chance to prove themselves and their ability to handle this situation before simply taking it away. By the time sophomores are in their second semester, a lot of them have already received their licenses, and are wanting to go out to eat with their friends anyways. If they have earned open lunch, then this policy will help to prevent people from skipping anyways and from being unproductive in their study halls. It is too late to change policies now, and this years sophomores will just have to suffer through the rest of the year forced in the cafeteria, however, for future generations and this years current freshmen, the Centinal encourages administration to reconsider their policies, and maybe even take a glance at the grease filled foods that many are subjected to.
Co-written by Ginny Martinez, Gina Huss, and Kelly Braghini