2015-05-30 / The Rock

To leave or not to leave

by Audrey Carter and Mikayla Bryant

Many high school students wish administrators would consider allowing students to leave campus during their assigned lunch periods at Person High School (PHS).

PHS currently has four 25-minute lunch periods. Assistant Principal Paul Rodio does not believe the 25-minute lunch period is long enough for students to leave campus, eat, and return to campus by the time the lunch period ends and students must report to class. So how can PHS make leaving campus for lunch a real option?

In order to grant high school students the option of leaving campus for lunch, an extended lunch period is necessary. Serving students in three lunch periods rather than four is one way to add time to each lunch period. The PHS cafeteria seats 533 students, which currently computes to 467 students per lunch period.

Cafeteria lines are often crowded and long during the four lunch periods. Those in the back of the line have few minutes to eat by the time they sit down with their food. If students are allowed to leave campus for lunch, it should help alleviate some of that problem and allow students more time to eat.

Off-campus lunch passes can be used as an incentive program for students to perform well in classes and behave at school. For instance, students who have permission to leave but do not pass all of their classes during a semester will have the privilege suspended until their grades improve. Students who engage in unruly behaviors will have the privilege suspended for a time determined by administration based on the offense.

The only downside to offering the off-campus lunch pass incentive program is the monitoring. Students would first need parent permission, which creates more student information for PHS staff to track. The staff would also be required to implement an effective way of issuing passes and a way to monitor a large number of students coming and going during the lunch periods. If it is to operate as an incentive program, students’ grades and discipline referrals would also have to be tracked for the program.

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