Outta Here At Lunch — Campus Now Open For Eligible Seniors

Ivy St. Clair, Author

After at least 15 years of having a completely closed campus, Capital and Santa Fe high schools have begun allowing seniors to leave campus during lunch. After a lot of discussion and voting, the district and school administrations came to the conclusion that it was worth a try.

A major concern with this new policy is the possibility of poor attendance after lunch. However, Mr. Seymour, a senior English teacher, said he hasn’t experienced the problem thus far in his afternoon classes. “More freedom is good,” he said, emphasizing that he is “all for” the policy.

Several requirements must be met for seniors to be eligible to leave: They must have enough credits to be classified as a senior, they must have at least a 2.0 GPA, they must have no more than seven absences in one class period during the previous quarter or more than three tardies for the class immediately following lunch; they must have both their annual ID with their schedule on the back and their quarterly ID on them. In addition, there can be no more than four students in a car and the administration can revoke the privilege for students with reports of misconduct.

Linda Sink, deputy superintendent for SFPS, presented the topic at a Board of Education meeting last semester. She said allowing seniors to leave campus could increase their sense of responsibility and make them strive to achieve a higher GPA. However, she also said there were possible risks, including car accidents, students being late or absent for afternoon classes, the cafeteria losing sales, and potential violations of the Code of Conduct.

Ms. Sink’s presentation included information from student and parent surveys.

Students said that having an open campus would give seniors a sufficient amount of freedom and allow them to have more fun in their last year of school.

Parents responded that it would enforce a sense of self-awareness and give students a feeling for the independence that will be a major aspect of their adulthood. They also stated the privilege would be a good motivator for students to become more responsible, strengthening their morale in the process.

Assistant Principal Mr. Granado said, “Seniors have lobbied for and earned the right to have an extra privilege.” He said he doesn’t have any significant concerns, strongly believing that students have earned the privilege of having an open campus.

However, he does not think it will factor into their development into adulthood: “Kids by this age…should already be learning about right and wrong.” He added, “It does add a little extra incentive for them to do even better.”

Senior English teacher Mr. Dean also supports the policy. “Students need the training wheels to come off sooner,” he said. “Next year, nearly all of this year’s seniors will either be in college, free to come and go from class as they like, or working, and equally free to do as they please. They need to practice that.”

Ian St. Clair, a senior, said, “It gives us more of a sense of freedom. Plus, the opportunity to get fast food is pretty cool.”