Say YES! to Open Campus Lunch


Open campus lunch, i.e. being able to leave for lunch, is often an idea that is struck down quickly by school administrators and parents. It’s not usually something that is considered a universal part of high school. Some schools have begun to experiment with open campus lunches for Juniors and Seniors, while other districts allow open lunch as early as 8th grade. The idea of letting students leave the building with no supervision is simply insane to some in today’s litigious society.

Open campus lunch used to be much more common, but as districts started to fear a rise in drug incidents, accidents, and general misbehavior when kids left campus, the doors started to get locked. Although the safety concern is valid, it is without a doubt over exaggerated. Teen drug use has been falling for a long time now and it has seen major falls as of late, even with the pandemic. 2020-2021 was the largest decrease in teen drug use since 1975.

Another popular concern about open campus lunch is that kids will not make healthy choices. Fast food tends to be unhealthy but the best option when pressed for time. Although encouraging teens to eat healthier is important, at what point does it stop becoming the school’s responsibility? The overwhelming majority of people consider school lunches to be disgusting and low quality. If the only healthy food is disgusting, does it really encourage healthy eating? Also, not every student would be going out to eat fast food. For students who live close to the school, it is a great opportunity to go home and quickly whip up something that they will like.

The final main argument against off campus lunch is a concern for an increase in absenteeism. This is easily solved by simply requiring students to meet a certain GPA and have no more than a certain amount of absences and/or tardies to earn the right to leave for lunch.

There are lots of benefits to letting students spend their lunch period off campus. Aside from giving simply giving students the gift of the freedom to choose, off campus lunch can actually benefit students by teaching them time management which in turn prepares them for the real world. Most jobs are going to give you 30 minutes to eat outside of the office so open lunch would help students get used to that freedom. Off campus lunch also helps local businesses in staying afloat and so much more.

Overall off campus lunch with the right regulations and restrictions can easily be a net positive for both Manchester and the local community.