EDITORIAL: Off-campus lunch policy needs revisiting

Mary Miller, Opinion writer

Since the high school opened, many students have been frustrated with the policy that prohibits off-campus lunch. While the lower enrollment numbers last year made off-campus lunch a luxury instead of a necessity, changing the policy this year would do wonders to alleviate overcrowding in the Commons.

Currently, there are about 440 students in each of the four lunches. Often, there aren’t enough tables and chairs available to comfortably accommodate students, particularly in A and D lunches, which the majority of teachers request. By  D lunch, most of the food choices are already gone, and many students spend half their lunch in line trying to get food.

In addition to solving the problem of overcrowding, a change in the off-campus lunch policy would be financially beneficial to the community and the school. Not only are there multiple fast food restaurants close to the school, but there is also a gas station within walking distance. Allowing students to go off campus for lunch would help the food-related businesses near the school. This, in turn, would help the school form future sponsorship and fundraising partnerships with those businesses.

Obviously, the main concern with allowing off-campus lunch is the possibility that students could be injured on foot or while driving (although students frequently travel to local convenience stores as pedestrians both before and after school with no incident). While allowing all students to leave campus for lunch is not the best idea, it would be beneficial to implement a similar policy to that of Denton and Ryan High Schools: use off-campus lunch as a reward.

Using off-campus lunch as a reward would instill better behavior and academic focus in students. Administration could do this in a number of ways such as: only allowing students who maintain passing grades in their classes, students with no major behavioral infractions and students with no tardies to have off-campus lunch. This reward system would benefit the overall learning environment by instilling better behavior and study skills.

While safety concerns are understandable, the potential benefits of off-campus lunch — including relieving overcrowding and improving student performance — far outweigh the negatives.