Should seniors be allowed to leave school at lunch to get food?


Lily Tierney

Senior Brisa Footit leaving the Xavier College Preparatory campus

The question of whether seniors should be allowed to leave campus at lunch is a broad issue that most high schools face. When senior year comes around, many students want the privilege of leaving campus. Although it is an enticing option, this idea is very controversial in the minds of the administration. From car accidents to a new sense of responsibility, leaving campus to get lunch has many positives and negatives surrounding it.

When it comes to teenagers, we will practically do anything to gain independence and responsibility. Senior Christy Tran stated, “I think seniors should be allowed to leave campus at lunch for food because it gives us a higher sense of responsibility.” Since we are living with our parents, most teenagers feel as if they have no independence and freedom. Along with gaining a sense of responsibility, leaving campus for lunch will further develop a Senior’s communication skills. If a student left for lunch, they would have to order their own food and talk to others outside of their familiar social circle. Leaving campus for lunch would also give students an opportunity to show that they are responsible and will be back in time. Academic Counselor Kathleen Gannon states, “Being in our location, there are many restaurants in our area to get lunch in a quick manner.” Before going to college and being employed in the future, students need to learn how to manage their time. Being able to leave school for lunch and get back before the next class starts is an easy way to demonstrate that students have time management skills. When the administration has faith in the students, it empowers students to make good decisions now and in their future.

Another perk of being able to leave campus at lunch is that it provides healthier options. Instead of being limited to the food the school provides, a student can make a choice on whether they want the school food or if they want to eat healthier. Students may not want to eat healthy, but the ability to leave campus gives a variety of food options outside of the school cafeteria. After working hard from hours of school, leaving campus would be a nice opportunity for students to just relax and be themselves. Senior Tessa Tierney states, “I think it would be a nice reward for seniors.”

The downsides of an open campus at lunch range from reasons such as ditching school, since students would already be off campus, to getting hurt in a car accident due to the rush of getting back to campus in time. When I interviewed students and administration, majority said seniors should not be allowed to leave campus for lunch. A major reason as to why students should not be able to leave campus for lunch is because sometimes teenagers are not responsible. Since there would be a certain time frame, seniors would be rushing to get back to campus. As a result of the rush, there could be car accidents. Teacher Bruce Wyman states, “I used to teach at school where there was an open lunch policy. Students would zoom out and car accidents would happen. It is a safety issue. It is an unfortunate reality.”

Allowing teenagers to leave campus during school for lunch gives leeway for students to make bad choices. Bad choices include speeding and driving recklessly. Teacher Olivia Long ’06 states, “Even for myself leaving campus, there is the chance of a car accident.” Instead of having students drive to get lunch off campus, there are alternate ways so there is not the risk of a car accident. Kathleen Gannon gives an alternate solution, “If the girls walked to a restaurant I would be more in favor of that idea.”

The main reasons, in accordance with Xavier, that students should not be allowed to leave campus during lunch is the risk of car accidents and the parking situation. Senior Hannah Shulski states, “I believe that seniors should not leave for lunch because it would make the parking situation in the senior lot very difficult. Even though leaving for lunch would make seniors more independent, there would be a lot of traffic coming to and back from lunch.” Since all the seniors would be leaving campus and coming back at once, it will create parking jams and most students will be late to class. Senior Tessa Tierney believes that parking will not be an issue, “We have parking spots, so parking wouldn’t be a problem.”

Another downside to an open campus lunch is that students will be more tempted to ditch school. Once given the opportunity to leave campus, there are not many reasons that are convincing in the mind of a high schooler as to why they should return to campus. Not only is it temping for students not to return, but it also gives an opportunity to develop unhealthy eating habits and money waste. Senior Talle Donley proclaims, “I think we should be able to leave, but I probably wouldn’t do it often because it waste gas and I normally do homework during lunch.” Some students utilize their lunch period to do homework or get assistance from teachers. Teacher Olivia Long ’06 says, “A lot ot of students who work after school are not available during 8th hour, so I use lunch as a 2nd 8th hour. Students come in at lunch to ask questions and make up work. If a student was off campus for lunch, she would not be coming in during lunch for help. Students use the time during lunch for help, and if students were allowed to leave campus they would be using that time for something else.”

There are many ups and downs to allowing seniors to leave campus for lunch during the school day. Majority of seniors I interviewed expressed that they would enjoy the privilege of getting to leave campus for lunch. Majority of the administration I interviewed believed that it is a bad idea because it increases the chances of students getting hurt. Senior Sasha Krueger brought a new idea into perspective, “I don’t think that we should leave school for lunch without leaving for the rest of the day. Leaving school grounds would be half the lunch period and then with having somewhere to look for food, students wouldn’t be back to school in time for 6th period. Seniors should be able to go out for lunch, but then leave for the rest of the day.”