Nutritional (And Personal) Values of Open Campus Lunch

Alexandra Belevan, Writer

Imagine you are standing in the lunch line once again, thinking to yourself “I’ll just get the same food I get every day.” It is finally your turn to order, but your favorite food is not there. Not only that, but there is no other food you like and you end up getting stuck eating something you do not enjoy. You wish you could just go out to Chipotle and order a chicken burrito with extra cheese. This is a huge problem for many underclass high school students in Emerson who are stuck eating bagels or chicken fingers and fries every day. 

All high school students should have an opportunity to leave school during lunchtime and activity period. Many students do not enjoy school lunches or do not have time to make their own lunch at home. At Emerson, only seniors are allowed to leave every day for lunch while all other students are required to stay. There are not many places to sit, so students end up eating on the hallway floors. Students want to be able to leave school for an hour because it will give them more freedom and opportunities to eat what they want every day. 

Many high schools in New Jersey allow students to leave for lunch and there are almost no concerns or issues with it. Allowing students to leave gives them a break from a long eight hour day at school. Some students would like to leave school for just an hour and get some fresh air away from school. By fourteen years old, students are usually able to walk home by themselves, so they should also be able to go out for lunch.

Allowing an open campus lunch prevents the problem of students sitting around in the hallways. Additionally, letting students go out during the lunch period allows them to go and do any errands they may need to do during the day. Students could go to food places with their friends and eat the food that they enjoy. 

A major concern about an open campus lunch is safety. If students do not have an adult with them, there is a possibility of getting hurt or getting into trouble. It is hard for the school to trust students (especially younger) to be out on their own without any supervision. However, allowing students to be on their own teaches them independence and responsibility. Students eventually need to learn how to take care of themselves and not have an adult with them at all times. It also teaches them time management, budgeting, and how to use money wisely. 

As long as there is a good system in place, all high school students should be allowed to leave during lunch. Emerson can put in a system that would allow students to leave and ensure they come back safely. Parents should approve whether or not their child can leave during lunchtime. Also, the student would have to sign out and sign back in to ensure that they came back safe. If the parent disapproves of them going out, they would not be able to sign out and would have to stay in school. 

Who knows? Maybe the next time you’re standing in line, you will be deciding between a beef burrito and a chicken burrito.