Lunches and Late Bells

Matt Wood, Staff Writer

      The openness of the campus and the freedom during lunch is a new experience for juniors. Although this may lead to some issues, concerning tardiness and skipping, administrators feel that this is a necessary learning curve for developing students.

      “We’re not talking about fifth graders, ninth graders, or tenth graders,” assistant principal Bryan Spiritus said. “We’re talking about the students who set foot on this campus, who are only two years away from being adults.”

     Although these privileges are enjoyed by the students, school administrators believe it is necessary, as well. Spiritus believes it is part of the learning process.

     “You get an hour for lunch at a job, so it teaches you to be back on time,” Spiritus said.  “Here, it results in a detention, but in the real world, you could lose your job.”

     “I like the whole idea,” Spiritus said.  “Instead of throwing kids from a very structured environment to the freedom of college and the workplace, I think we’re teaching kids a very valuable life skill and job skill of time management.

     For students who do have the privilege to leave, they still have the choice to stay on campus for lunch, or go elsewhere.

     “We’re here all day, why stay?” Senior Andre Rosario said. “It’s the only time we get a break.”

     The openness of the campus has its upsides, but junior Jared Fletcher’s parents have reasonable concerns about tardies, and the dangers of the freedom of the campus.

     “My parents are just really worried about the whole off campus idea,” Fletcher said.  “Having to get out of the parking lot, or getting back and being late.”

     Although there are dangers to the freedom of the campus, Spiritus believes the consequences are part of the process, as well.

     “Kids might go to a restaurant, and sit around and think ‘You know what? Forget fifth period,” Spiritus said.  “But when you get back, there will be real consequences, and in the real world, it’s not as simple as a detention.    

     Parents may decide on the amount of freedom and choose to limit it, as well.

     “When a parent enrolls a student, and they go to schedule pick up, they have the right to take away their students right to leave campus.” Spirtus said. “A parent can take away that privilege, and if they do leave, then there will be other consequences to deal with.”

     Students who are new to the freedom of the campus have to balance responsibility with the privileges given to them on campus.

     “As you grow older, you have to learn to balance new privileges with responsibility,” Fletcher said. “Having an open campus helps us practice this.”