The Red and Black Editorial: Should we have off-campus lunch?

Photo by: Ainsley Grey

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As Jefferson City High School students come home from school each day, there is usually one thing that is on their mind: food. This is most likely because we do not eat that much during the school day. Students are usually at school for around six or seven hours per day. Some would say we have more than enough time to eat with more than enough options to pick from. But for most of the JCHS population, the lunch food just isn’t that good. Whether it is a piece of pizza that gets all the toppings pulled off when you take your first bite, or the chicken sandwiches we have almost every day as an option, it just isn’t worth the money. But yet, we eat it because we do not have any other options. This being said, we cannot blame the lunch staff, because they feed a whole high school each day, and they simply follow the rules for cooking the food that they have to serve. Students have another option to go to the vending machines and get a snack, but no one is really that eager to eat a low-fat Pop Tart or Special-K chips that cannot compare to a bag of Lay’s or regular Doritos (not the low-fat ones we are given). A question some students might want to ask is why isn’t it an option to go off campus for lunch? We get 25 minutes per lunch period, and our school is located in a pretty good area with many places to eat nearby. This way we could all eat what we wanted, if we choose to leave, and would come back ready to get back to class. Students could have around an hour to eat and come back to class. Instead, we eat lunch and go back to class still hungry. This makes students not focused in class, especially when it gets towards the end of the day. Open campus lunch would allow students to have a variety of meals each day instead of the usual lunch cuisine. They would also have the option to go home and take a little break before your next class. Although having open campus lunch is convenient in several different ways, such as getting a break from school for a little bit, soon this hour will turn into the rest of the day. This is a concern for many schools that do not have off campus lunch. Of course, there will always be the students that are responsible and will come back to class. If you can’t get the motivation to come back to class after lunch, that is no one’s fault but your own. High school students should be responsible enough to handle this freedom. Having open campus lunch would mean having roughly 1,800 students leaving the building to go to lunch. This would be like having two dismissal times each day. When students at JCHS get dismissed at 2:55 it usually takes the average student at most 15 minutes to leave the building. So if we had to do this everyday for lunch, it would be a huge mess and not all that necessary. Not to mention, giving students this option wouldn’t require a cafeteria staff. This would mean several lunch ladies/ gentlemen would lose their job. The cafeteria staff does so much for our school; it wouldn’t be fair to cut them out of the schedule completely. After all, they do feed all JCHS students and staff every single day. As shown, this argument is pretty equal on both sides. Open campus lunch gives students the freedom they should get and an unlimited amount of options to pick from each day, not to mention JCHS is in one of the best locations to go get something to eat. Oncampus lunch would make things less hectic and it keeps all students on campus making things much smoother. We would also get to keep our lunch staff that works so hard for us each day. Either way, there is not a side I could lean more towards even though I believe it would be nice to get my own food each day.