Culture at WCHS is dying. The flame of Pirate pride is slowly withering away. This could be due to lack of student involvement in school activities or regressive administrative policies such as the backpack ban. It could even be a combination of both. Through this age of decline, there has been one thing that held West Carrollton above schools such as Miamisburg or Fairmont: Open Lunch, a staple of WCHS student life. A time to go out and have a brief break from the monotony of the school day with one’s friends. However the higher ups in the West Carrollton School District (WCSD) have taken it upon themselves to dismantle the best part of the school day by attempting to close school lunch. Closing school lunch is not only an attack on student enjoyment of school, but also school culture at WCHS.
Safety has been a major concern of the staff this year and many policies have been implemented to create a safer school, including putting walls on the breezeway, a new system to ring into the building and the backpack ban. The last major thing for the school to tackle is open lunch. WCHS principal Mrs. Candice Haffner said, “It doesn’t make sense to have to buzz into the Main Office (for security reasons) and the doors by the cafeteria are wide open for 1.5 hours EACH DAY for anyone to come and go.” This point was backed up by school resource officer Tiffany Osburn, who added students smoking and driving recklessly during school hours to the reasons for closing lunch.
Closing school lunch is an attack on tradition and culture at WCHS and has angered many students. Junior Joe Schaffer said “Very disappointed about closed lunch because I really don’t like going to the cafeteria and I enjoy having a choice about lunch instead of the school picking for me.”
School lunches have been notoriously mediocre. This is no fault of the hard-working kitchen staff, but of the mediocre food provided to them to prepare. A diet of frozen soy-based chicken sandwiches and hamburgers is not what a growing teen or student athlete needs to eat every day. Open lunch allows kids to go out and get what they want and what feels best for them, not what the school believes is best. A senior who wish to remain anonymous went as far to say, “WCSD has to close lunch because they need the added revenue to support the failing district.” To that point Mrs. Haffner explained, “We are closing lunch for one reason only – for the safety of our students and staff.”
In addition to limiting student freedoms by closing lunch many students don’t understand the safety concerns. With an armed police officer standing in the cafeteria watching all the happenings of lunch and who walks in and out of the cafeteria, why is it unsafe? If Officer Osburn is concerned about students recklessly driving using illegal substances during school hours, why not have students drug tested to get their parking pass? There are solutions to this problem, so it brings up the question: is Officer Osburn being lazy or overly cautious? When asked about these accusations, Officer Osburn responded that she can’t be at two places at once. If she gets called out of the cafeteria, she can’t watch the door. If the threat to student safety is that serious, then the vice principals should deal with problems outside the cafeteria while the armed police officer stays by the cafeteria.
Furthermore, the reckless driving complaints Officer Osburn cited seem trivial in the real world. It is safe to assume that those complaints also arise around 7:40 am and 3:00 pm. Maybe we should just stop kids from driving to school if they are ‘reckless’ drivers.
The fight for open lunches isn’t lost yet however, if enough of an outcry is made about it closing, it might be stopped. We as a student body can’t take another blatant attack like this again. We were all talk but no action with the backpacks and now it is time to stand and tell the School Board they are going too far. The next board meeting is May 8 at 7:00 pm in the Community Room. Underclassmen: this is your chance to rally against this referendum. The choice is yours.