Liability or trust issues? -Off campus lunch


A brisk six minute walk from our school, or two minute drive, is a shopping center, occupied by three restaurants and a grocery store market place. Just beyond is another restaurant, which again is a three minute drive. Further down Columbus Pike, is a plethora of popular restaurants, accompanied by more grocery stores, averaging a seven minute drive. The food options provided at our school dwindle compared to the variety served at close-by restaurants.

Off campus lunch, an idea proposed for years, is a privilege in which students are granted permission to leave the school property, and venture to nearby restaurants and stores approved by school. Even though Olentangy High School is surrounded by multiple restaurants, students are still bound the school building at all times from 7:20 to 2:35, unless signed out by a guardian, meaning you must remain in school for all lunch periods.

The question still remains: why is this option is not provided? Appalling rumors, and a different story told by every teacher, leaves students wondering why off campus lunch is not an option at Olentangy.

“I’m an advocate for off campus lunch, but when you are at school were your parents and we need to make sure you are safe,” Dean of Students Brad Henry said.

Basically off campus lunch creates room for conflict. Be it a liability issue or untrustworthy students, the school has no space for added issues, especially ones taking place outside the building.

However, preventative measures can be put in place to stop suspicions and dangerous behavior. Behaviors involving illegal activity can easily be performed within the school building. Classrooms, bathrooms and numerous other locations, including the outdoor courtyard are not equipped with cameras. This makes partaking in drug or nicotine use much easier, and virtually consequence free. Taking the extra mile to leave the building and “get high” seems ridiculous compared to the short walk down the hall to the bathroom.

Leaving school also creates issues with safety. New drivers are constantly posed as a threat because they are “inexperienced.” With parent permission a pupil may be easily removed from class, and be allowed to leave the school. All the school needs to do is create a plan in which students may be signed out by parents over lunch (not by a physical visit, but by a form) and not be marked truant or absence. By doing so students are placed back into the liability of their parents, and the school is no longer responsible for the student, and all issues become issues of the parents not the school or district.

“I am an extremely picky eater, and the options in the lunchroom may be suitable for some students but not for me, by leaving the school my lunch can become enjoyable,” Sophomore, Haley P. said.

Some students do not have a break period within their day and by allowing off campus meals, a simple lunch time period can become so much more enjoyable, and ultimately make the school day easier to endure.

With our rapidly growing student body, the schools are becoming extremely overcrowded. Despite the addition of a fourth high school, we will still be overcrowded until the building is completed in two years. Even after completion the school will still be crowded, and the lunch room will not only be less crowded, but quieter and more enjoyable for those who decide to remain on campus if some students leave.

“I wish we had off campus lunch, I had it when I was in school, but not all students can be trusted, even though most will not partake in the things we are worried about,” Henry said.

It is a win-win situation for everyone involved. To start, students that are permitted to leave the building will be given more options, and a more enjoyable free period in the middle of the day. Second, students who remain in the building will have a more enjoyable lunch because of a less crowded and more relaxed atmosphere. Finally the school, which may seem as the only party who does not benefit, may benefit the greatest. With less students to feed that means the school will spend less on food.

“I really wish we had off campus lunch. I would love to have more food options and to switch up the typical everyday lunch room food,” Senior, Morgan M. said.

Liability and illegal activity may always be a conflict our district faces. Although the majority of our students do not involve themselves with the discussed issues, the administration still lacks trust towards students. The district should trust us more because, all things aside, forgetting off campus lunch, we are all people, and we all deserve trust and respect.