Open for business?

As new businesses open on Blue Mound, should students be allowed to leave campus for lunch?

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Open for business?

Artwork by Kayla Smith

Artwork by Kayla Smith

Artwork by Kayla Smith

Shelby Hansen

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Since the school opened, students have not been able to leave campus for lunch. This is for a variety of reasons such as student safety and security, lack of student responsibility and possibility of skipping classes. Closed campus is a district policy, and it has always been part of the district’s rules and regulations. However, the closed campus policy is restrictive. Students should have more choices with how they spend their lunch period.  It is the students’ responsibility if they do not go to class. Allowing open campus would teach students how to be responsible. In college, students are expected to show up to class on time and live on their own. If they do not show up to class and figure out proper time management in their day, they will fail and not get a degree. This standard can begin to be learned in high school. Giving older students the ability to leave campus and come back can teach them the responsibility and time management needed for a college lifestyle early. On the other hand, if students don’t go to college, these traits are still useful and required in everyday adult life and in a working environment. Students must learn to be on time and prepared to work after a break.

There are also plenty of restaurants opening across the street from the school. It would not take long for students to pick up food to eat from there and bring it back, so this reduces the possibility of being late to class. The food at restaurants can also be more filling than the cafeteria food, so it would help students to stay focused and last longer during the day without needing a snack. A tray lunch in the cafeteria is $2.80. Bistro prices begin at $3. However, if students wanted to go off campus, a Whopper meal at Burger King would be $6.49, and a Whopper Jr. costs $2.19. They could also order off of the value menu. Although the price may be steeper, the food would fill students more than cafeteria or bistro food and tastes better to some. With the rise of many new restaurants across the street, there are many choices offered to students with how they want to spend their money. What is the point of these restaurants if students aren’t able to eat there very often?

Finally, many students may need or want to go home during their lunch period. They could be forgetful and forget items they needed for their classes or their lunches, so they should be able to drive home and get it. Also, it can be greatly beneficial to mental health if a student can leave the school and come back during the day. Many times, it is mentally and emotionally draining to stay at school all day, and the option of open campus would help solve that problem and improve productivity. Taking a break from work and certain surroundings has been proven to increase brain power and productivity. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) of your brain is worked while at school and doing important concentration tasks. According to psychologytoday.com, the PFC needs a break every few hours in order to recharge. These breaks can prevent “decision fatigue.” Author S.J. Scott says that needing to make frequent decisions throughout the day can wear down willpower and reasoning. Not taking breaks increases this fatigue and can lead to simplistic decision-making, lack of motivation, and procrastination. Having the ability to leave campus would give students a chance to have new surroundings and fully give their PFC a break.

A way to resolve this situation would be to make students sign out and sign back in at the guard shack when they leave. The only students allowed to leave campus would be juniors and seniors that can drive, and they could have the ability to take a friend. This would make students accountable and make sure administrators know who is leaving and when they come back. Punishment would occur if students failed to return on time too many times, similar tardies in class. Open campus would be a privilege, not a right, and it could easily be taken away if behavioral issues were to occur. Overall, implementing open campus would help students gain responsibility, spend their money in a way that is beneficial to them and makes them more independent and give a much-needed break during the day. The transition would require some work and cooperation from administrators, but after the initial implementation, it would become apart of the normal school day. This change would make a positive impact on students’ day and help them to gain independence at school, a feat that would help them grow as people and care for themselves.