Lunch time. This is one of the most anticipated times of any school day. Generally, students make their way to the cafeteria to sit with friends and enjoy their lunch in a supervised manner. However, many schools are moving towards allowing an “open campus” lunch hour for students. This means that they would be able to leave the school campus to go have lunch at a local restaurant or eating establishment. This would even allow for students to go home for lunch. While the benefits are certainly there, this is a major area of concern for parents, administrators, and local business owners alike. Let’s take a close look at both sides of the issue by breaking down the pros and cons associated.
The Pros of Open Campus Lunch
1. Offers A Wider Variety Of Choices For Students
School lunches don’t have the best reputation, especially in the United States. The food is pre planned and often not exactly…good. By allowing students to venture off campus to make a food choice, they are able to choose from anything that they’d like. This could also mean a more nutritious option.
2. Shows Trust In Students
In many cases, giving a little trust can get you a big return in attitude and demeanor towards the school. This is especially true with an open campus lunch policy. Students feel as if they are being given a special privilege, and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize this. It can result in better behavior all around, and especially at lunch time.
3. Allows A Break In Structure
Life happens, and sometimes students forget coursework, need to change clothes, or even attend a doctors appointment. Allowing students to leave for their lunch gives them the opportunity to handle things that need their attention, without being forced to miss class to do so.
4. Increased Business For Local Restaurants
The majority of students who decide to leave for lunch will go to eating establishments near by to buy their lunch instead. This would be great for these businesses because it would give them a steady boom in customers each and every week day.
The Cons of Open Campus Lunch
1. Gives Students An Easy Out
A large problem that is faced and feared by school administrators and parents every day is student’s ditching school. By allowing students a time to freely leave campus, it may be difficult to ensure that they actually come back. Using a closed campus lunch ensures that no one leaves class by monitoring the parking lots, with an open campus lunch you would be unable to do this.
2. Students Are Still On School Time
During the day, students are the responsibility of the school. It would be very difficult to suspend the schools responsibility over the student for the time that they leave campus. Students may use this time to perform illegal activities, use drugs, drink alcohol, or have physical altercations with other students.
3. A Dangerous Traffic Boom
If you release an entire school of kids to go wherever they please, they will likely hop in their car and hit the road. This would lead to a large amount of traffic in the area. The danger would be increased because of the fact that these are largely inexperienced, teen drivers. You would also risk the teens who don’t have transportation, and decide to walk somewhere for lunch, being hit or injured by these cars.
4. Not Enough Time For A Sufficient Lunch
Most schools only allow students to have one hour for lunch, and then it’s back to class. This is typically not enough time to drive to a restaurant, order food, eat it, and be back in time for your next class to start. Open campus lunch would likely result in an increased number of late students.