New, local food developments reignite open lunch debate

Common Sense Editorial

Truth is, I have not eaten a school lunch since sixth grade. Those early experiences scarred me for life. It is not fair that some students have to suffer through school lunch because they can’t get any other food. As of right now, leaving school for lunch has severe consequences. Students who leave school property during lunch can have their parking permits revoked, be given detentions, in school suspensions or referrals. Many students don’t agree with this because they want to go out for lunch. “We will never have open lunch because there aren’t any places to get food within walking distance,” Assistant Principal Joseph Mamana said. “Driving to nearby restaurants does not give students enough time to go and return to school before lunch ends. Especially with the heavy traffic during lunch time.”

Leaving school is currently not allowed even though many restaurants are nearby the school. The Chick-Fil-A located at 1401 Research Blvd is a mere five-minute drive, straight down Hurley Ave. Fallsgrove Village Center, which has restaurants such as Chipotle, Panera and Wingstop, is just up Wotton Parkway. With all the different places nearby that are available for students to get food, we should have an open lunch. “We should have open lunch here because there are so many places nearby that we could go to for food yet we’re not allowed to go out,” senior Hope Rosner said.

Other high schools in Montgomery County such as Churchill and Walter Johnson offer open lunch as an option. At these schools, one must first sign a waiver letting the school know that they are liable for themselves once off campus. There are rules such as students who do not return from open lunch on time will have the privilege removed. “I go to Churchill and every day I leave at lunch and have fun with my friends and get food,” Churchill senior Carter Andrews said.

Another option to help solve this problem and not eat unappetizing school lunches would be for food trucks to be at school. This could work except for the fact that the MCPS policy states that no business on school property can be in competition with the school cafeteria so the food trucks would have to be off campus and, therefore, students would get in trouble if they walked over to them. “I would love to have some food trucks or restaurants close by that I could go to and eat at during lunch,” senior Anne Clampitt said.

Open lunch could easily be an option as students could sign waivers and follow the rules of open lunch. Also, it could be kept to just seniors or students who have parking spaces to keep kids from running around everywhere.

8 of 9 editorial board members agreed.

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