Closed Campus Closed Minded

Kyle Flett & Aleksandra Markovic, Staff Writer

Why are we confined to the high school campus during the lunch period?

Imagine having a choice between a delicious Nations’ Giant Hamburger or a small, discolored school cafeteria burger. By the way, the Nations burger is about half the price of its anemic public school peer.

If our school and community pride themselves on offering the best opportunities for students, then why are we sequestered and limited in our lunch options?

An open campus, which would allow students to engage with the community during the lunch period, would also offer students the opportunity to make healthier choices for themselves, just as they are expected to do as adults.

With a closed campus, students are are too limited and miss an opportunity to develop important skills necessary for navigating America’s diverse nutritional landscape. For example,  the cafeteria currently does not publish nutritional facts on its lunches.  Students are apparently expected to consume them without the knowledge of what’s actually in them.  Isn’t that poor practice for a safe and healthy lifetime of eating?

Moreover, the line at the cafeteria is always monstrous. Despite PE teacher Chris Walsh’s best efforts, line-cutting remains rampant, and many students spend more than half of their lunch waiting in line to get food. Even with recent renovations, the cafeteria does not provide students with prompt lunch service.  Having an off campus option would certainly alleviate the congestion, and it might also provide motivation for the lunch service to provide more enticing food choices.  A competitive market is a win for everyone.

While one could argue that students who don’t find the cafeteria is meeting their needs should “brown bag it,” the reality is that our student body operates under a mountain of stress, where time taken to pack a lunch, as trivial as it might seem to one unfamiliar with the Campolindo culture, is actually quite detrimental. Students are pressed for time with a combination of academics and extracurriculars.  If we are truly committed to reducing student stress, a frequent claim in recent years, then opening the campus and allowing students to pay for professionals in places like the Rheem shopping center to prepare healthy lunches for them makes sense.

Security is often cited when justifying a closed campus. Fortunately, Campolindo resides in one of the safest communities in America.  It’s the reason many families move into the area.  The idea that students need to be kept on campus in order to protect them from the dangers of the surrounding area just doesn’t fly.

An open campus also creates the opportunity for incentivizing the privilege of leaving for lunch. Some open-campus schools require a minimum grade point average in order to take advantage of the policy. The effectiveness of this approach has been proven by a study of 460 California schools by The Association for Education, Finance and Policy: It boosts student grades.

Furthermore, having a minimum GPA requirement to leave campus for lunch ensures that students who mingle in the community during the school day are intelligent and equipped to deal with the variety of potential experiences such forays may afford.

Campolindo needs to revise its policy and allow students to leave campus during the lunch period.