Students Deserve More Freedoms During Their Lunch Period

Colin Moriarty, Reporter

Lunch is a time in a student’s day where they can relax, pause and take a break.  It wouldn’t be outrageous to make the claim that many students value their time at lunch more than any other time during the school day.  At West Springfield High School, we as students are currently only permitted to eat lunch in three different locations. As expected- the cafeteria, the gym and due to the infamous Covid-19 pandemic, and the courtyard outside of the school. While all three are viable options- they sometimes force students into an odd social setting. Restricting students to these areas alone leads to overcrowding which is especially dangerous considering the Coronavirus pandemic.  As flu season draws closer, Covid- 19 is still very prominent in our area and the seating options outside will no longer be available with the incoming cold temperatures. 

In a survey sent out by the Terrier Times this September, many students mentioned that they felt restricted during their lunch period, agreeing that older students should be offered other options- many of which point towards an open campus lunch. Some students argue that even their cars are a safe space where they can remain socially distanced. With Covid and the flu in mind, allowing students to eat in their cars could prevent crowding in indoor seating and in turn will decrease the severity of both viruses within our school district.

Others mentioned the need to have more food options. Lunch is available at a variety of different restaurants within a three-mile radius of the school and should not be limited to what is offered in the cafeteria. Many students agree that upperclassmen should be responsible for themselves during their lunch time.

 “We should be able to leave during lunch (at least the seniors). I understand the fear of some students not coming back after lunch but I feel like if they don’t want to be at school it’s very easy for those people to leave anyway. Also, many other high schools have allowed this and succeeded in having students return for their after school classes so I believe it is absolutely doable. Not to mention if a senior decides to be late for or not attend a class it is their responsibility,” 12th grader, Kira Sharma said. If permitted, and students showed their appreciation by following the guidelines established by the school’s administration, allowing students to find lunches in other locations would only improve the relationship between the school and its students. As long as students are able to arrive back to school on time- their academic standing would not be affected. 

WSHS principal, Mr. Danby explained that our school does not have an open campus at lunch for a variety of reasons.

 “We can’t keep track of every car that comes through here. We don’t know what people are coming to the school without our knowledge,” said Mr. Danby.  He expanded on this by detailing the “reasonable supervision” policy. The school is legally obligated to know where each of its students are at all times during school hours. 

 A solution to the mentioned problem could be something as simple as a sign out sheet. Parents can sign a waiver, bring in a note, or some other form of evidence that they gave their kids permission to sign themselves out. This way administrators will be aware of who leaves the building at what time. Other nearby schools- such as Longmeadow High School during the 2020-2021 school year found ways to permit their students to leave the building during lunch. If students were given some options to have an enjoyable and less restricted lunch period it would greatly improve student morale.