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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

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The Fresh Perspective: off-campus lunch

In+this+weekly+blog%2C+The+Fresh+Perspective%2C+staff+reporter+Lea+Garcia-Salazar+talks+about+school+opinions.
Lea Garcia-Salazar
In this weekly blog, The Fresh Perspective, staff reporter Lea Garcia-Salazar talks about school opinions.

The cafeteria. A space synonymous with crowded tables, lukewarm meals, and a limited selection of food for many. 

The bell rings. The daily routine of lunchtime becomes a tedious routine. 

However, lunch does not have to look like this. According to a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, nearly one in three high school campuses in the U.S. have an open “off-campus” lunch policy. 

In these high schools, students can leave the building during lunch and eat wherever they want. This policy is beneficial since it would grant students more freedom, encourage them to engage with their community, and offer a unique way to connect with peers outside of the classroom. 

An off-campus lunch would grant students more freedom. Adulthood is marked by increasing autonomy and responsibility. High school serves as a crucial period in this journey, a transition period of newfound independence. An off-campus lunch means that students are responsible for their safety, their nutrition, and getting to class on time. This level of autonomy and responsibility creates a sense of self-reliance and accountability that are not only essential but necessary to success beyond the classroom

An off-campus lunch would encourage students to engage with their community in meaningful ways. Instead of eating meals in the cafeteria, students have the opportunity to support local businesses and interact with members of the community. By offering students the chance to explore foods outside of school, they can give back to the community and the economy. By doing so, they would become more aware of the world and culture around them as well as develop a sense of civic responsibility and a sense of belonging to the community.

Finally, off-campus lunch offers students a unique way to connect with peers outside of the classroom. Lunch is an important social aspect of education that should not be underestimated. Lunch is a time for students to take a break and have fun with their friends in a non-academic setting. Social interactions are restricted to the cafeteria boundaries where the noise of a crowded space often limits conversations. In contrast, off-campus lunch opens up an opportunity for students to connect with their peers in a more relaxed and diverse environment. Students can choose to share a meal at a local diner, picnic in a park, stroll through a neighborhood while enjoying a snack, or simply, eat in their cars. Stepping outside of the school environment encourages students to bond in new ways; creating and maintaining friendships that are essential for students’ social and emotional development.

Those who oppose having an off-campus lunch may raise concerns about safety and supervision. However, with proper protocols implemented such as extensive permission forms, curfew times, and requiring all students going off-campus to have a license and abide by Texas driving laws, these concerns can be effectively addressed. By working alongside school administration, local authorities, and parents, schools and districts can ensure that off-campus lunch remains a safe experience for all students involved. 

Another issue would be the structured environment of lunch on campus, where lunch periods are only 30 minutes long and split among four groups. However, with careful planning, off-campus lunch would be feasible and a refreshing change to the school environment. 

Addressing the time constraint is important. With only 30 minutes for lunch, concerns about students having enough time to leave campus, grab food, and return to class are valid. However, the concept of a “mega lunch” (an extended lunch period where all lunch periods merge into one hour-long break) found in other FISD schools could be considered. While the current issue with mega lunch is the lack of space to accommodate all students simultaneously, introducing off-campus lunch could alleviate this strain.

Off-campus lunch offers students benefits like the opportunity to exercise their freedom, engage with their community, and create meaningful connections with their peers. 

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About the Contributor
Lea Garcia-Salazar
Lea Garcia-Salazar, Staff Reporter
Lea Garcia-Salazar is a Sophomore in her first year with Wingspan. She is a member of DECA and Aid4Need. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, reading, writing, and volunteering. Lea is excited to be a part of such a fantastic group! Contact Lea: lea.garciasalazar.944@k12.friscoisd.org

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