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The New Generation Planning Committee recently decided that a closed campus policy will be phased in during the next four years. For the 2008-09 school year, freshmen will not be able to leave during lunch. Each year, a new grade will be phased in. This will occur at both schools.
I think I speak for the entire student body when I say this is not going to change anything; it will only make the problem worse.
A closed campus will bring problems, such as limited student eating space, student activities, the school being unable to provide a desirable healthy food supply, conflicts with students who work off-campus jobs during school hours and the economic effect on nearby establishments.
Juneau-Douglas High School doesn't have the facilities to feed all of its students in a 60-minute period and give the kids enough time to eat. Gourmet classes could provide some healthy options, but it is impossible for these classes to feed the entire population.
High school students are trying to be more mature, and with that maturity, they should be shown respect. Confining students sends the message that they can't be trusted.
The district should have faith in the 95 percent of us who return on time to our classes after lunch and who do not abuse the privilege of leaving school at lunchtime.
One argument for closing the campus is that it will decrease drug abuse and truancy.
"Closing the campus will not restrict students' access to drugs," said Lydia, a high school junior.
"If they could produce a good food product then maybe it could be OK, but as far as stopping kids from doing drugs, it probably won't," said another junior, Nick.
By bringing all of the students closer together, the number of students to use drugs could become larger, not smaller. By confining the students into the school, kids could be around drugs more. Also, without a break during the day and the chance to get out of the building, students may be more inclined to cut classes.
In addition, students will have fewer things to do during lunch, which will directly cause boredom. Boredom can lead to discipline infractions.
Ms. McCormick and other staff members have done an excellent job offering dodgeball and other activities during lunch, but these do not engage all students. This also requires staff to plan and monitor these events, which is admirable, but they are already overburdened with teaching 160 of us. In addition, many staff members spend their lunches helping out students and are not available to monitor lunch activity.
This decision has been made and now the student body and schools must come up with practical ways to feed, monitor, entertain, watch and protect us during lunch. I wonder if this is guiding us to be functional adults in the real world.
Cole Lendrum is a sophomore in Ali McKenna's Juneau-Douglas High School "Writing for Publication" class.
From the Hallways is a column showcasing the thoughts and opinions of students in McKenna's high school journalism class and Sarah Brooks' Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School writing workshop.