Freshman voice frustration over lunch policy

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Addie Clayton, Reporter

When students enter high school they are granted a list of freedoms otherwise not available to them. However, one freedom that is withheld from a fourth of the student body at Newton High School is open lunch. 

Freshmen at NHS are not allowed to leave campus for lunch and therefore are required to remain in the commons for their lunch period. This has been a long-lasting school policy at NHS. When this policy was first discussed, a handful of parents were concerned for freshmen being taken off of school grounds by upperclassmen since they are not of age to drive according to Assistant Principal Gregory Dietz. The Board of Education and the community thought it would make a safer environment for all involved if freshmen were required to stay on campus during lunch. When freshmen transition to their sophomore year they earn the privilege to leave campus during lunch.

A survey of 51 freshmen at NHS concluded that 68% of the students think it is unfair that freshmen are not allowed to leave school for lunch. Additionally, 88% of the freshman students would leave for lunch if given the opportunity. On the other hand, some students, such as freshman Natalie Jones, believe the policy is fair and responsible given driving restrictions for the freshman class age group. 

“I think that it is fair for freshmen not to leave lunch because many of us can’t really drive on our own legally yet. We also are the youngest in the school, so it kind of just makes it more of a get used to the school before you can leave sort of thing,” Jones said. “If all of the freshmen left for lunch, knowing most of the freshmen, there would be an [increase] in skipping classes.”

Opposing Jones’ beliefs, freshman Maylen Bustillos believes that the policy is unfair and that freshmen students should be allowed to go out to eat with their upperclassmen friends. 

“I don’t think it is fair that we freshmen don’t get to leave because everyone else gets to leave. I get the fact that we don’t have a license but we have friends in our lunch that do have one,” Bustillos said. 

Although the lunch policy is still in place many students say that their classmates often break this rule. Freshman Violet Bartley says that no one really follows this rule anymore and that she wishes she was able to go out for lunch rather than eat in the school cafeteria. 

“I think it is kinda fair but annoying because a lot of my friends are older and want me to go to lunch with them,” Bartley said.

Freshman Landon Lunsford thinks similarly to Jones, that this policy is important to have at NHS and it keeps the freshmen from skipping school.

 “I believe it is fair because most freshmen I know skip out on things like class and lunch just because they want to hang out with friends or stuff like that and if freshmen were allowed to leave, some of them may not come back,” Lunsford said. “I would probably still stay at the school [if able to leave], I fear I wouldn’t have enough time to do what I needed to do to get lunch and still be on time.

 Freshman Haley Ruth’s beliefs are similar to those of Jones and Lundsford. She believes that in order to keep the student body of NHS safe the lunch policy needs to remain in place.

“I believe that [the policy] is fair because freshmen are just learning how to drive and are only supposed to drive to the specific restricted places. So to keep everyone safe, I think that it makes a lot of sense that freshmen should stay on campus,” Ruth said.

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