Should Students Be Allowed an Open-Campus Lunch Policy?

Noel Mikkelsen, Layout Artist

Lunchtime is a moment when we can take a break from class to socialize with friends and obtain that extra energy we need to stay productive through the rest of the day. When the lunch bell rings, everybody races out of their classrooms to be the first person in line.
As the student population continues to grow at FCHS, the space becomes more and more crowded. The cafeteria is becoming more congested during all three lunches, and classes are becoming so full that some students have had to switch their schedule in order to accommodate for it. Should FCHS alleviate the problem of overcrowding in the cafeteria and school by allowing students to leave school property during lunch to get food?
In 2005, the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) found that about 25 percent of high schools had an open campus policy. A survey of California high schools in 2003 found that 46 percent were able to leave school to acquire lunch. Some schools today have open campus lunch such as Mamaroneck High School in New York and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School right outside Washington D.C. Other countries, such as France, are well known for permitting students to go to their local businesses or homes to grab a bite to eat.
Students at FCHS support the idea of an open campus lunch policy. Sam Klopfer (12) says, “I think students should be allowed to leave because after being in this school for more than three years I’ve gotten bored of being served the same thing every day. I want to be able to choose from a variety of different foods.” An open campus policy provides students with many different food options nearby. There is an array of foods with different cultures and backgrounds in the immediate area that will allow students to taste something they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Of course with open campus lunch, there would have to be some regulations to make sure students come back on time. Jason Mueller (11) says, “If we were to have open campus lunch there should be some rules that students have to follow to make sure people are leaving and coming back to school.” Some ideas mentioned are to only allow juniors and seniors who have a high enough GPA like 3.0 or 3.5 to leave for lunch because they have proven their capabilities to be responsible students.
A way of keeping track of students going in and out of the campus has also been mentioned. There could be a sign-in and sign-out sheet that students have to use to make sure the school knows exactly who has left the campus and when they returned. Passes, like those used by students in Academy classes, could also be allocated to the students who meet the requirements to be able to leave. If these students are caught without their passes, their privilege could be revoked.
Allowing students to leave and grab something to eat could significantly reduce the amount of congestion. It would also motivate students to achieve higher grades because they want to hang out with their friends and eat food that they want to consume. If you believe that FCHS should consider an open campus lunch policy, speak out and voice your opinion.

Jacob Gushue (11), Aldana Garcia (12), Naomi Antezana (12), and Taylor Mountjoy (12) all enjoy
eating outside in the courtyard—it seems this privilege could be extended to include off-campus lunch.
(Photo by Noel Mikkelsen)