The Lunch Line

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The Lunch Line

Berrimand

Berrimand

Berrimand

Stevie Gilbert, Dual-Credit English Student

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One day a couple of years ago at Chester High School everyone was having a normal day. It was like any other day; all the students were enjoying their high school lives with the current block schedule. Then on that day during 4th hour, all of the students heard an announcement over the intercom. One of the secretaries in the office brought the news to everyone, “Due to budget cuts, we will no longer be running on a block schedule. Starting next year we will switch over to a traditional seven-period schedule.” The school was outraged. Everyone was upset and panicking. As I walked through the hallways I heard worried concerns like, “What if I can’t take AP Biology next year because of band!? What if I can’t take this class!? What about the lunch periods!?” Two and a half years later we are now running on a 7-period schedule. There are problems with it such as some students aren’t able to take certain classes or fit them into their schedules anymore. But one problem that I see every day is how large each lunch period is. There are solutions to fix this problem, but the administration will have to be on board and implement the solutions.

Lunch is the time of day that every student at Chester High School looks forward to. Students race each other down the halls, and even go as far as to push and shove other kids out of the way in order to be one of the first in line. Running on a seven-period schedule, we had to switch to having only two lunches in order to have enough time in a day for every class including advisory. This has caused a problem. There are so many kids in each lunch that the lunch line is backed up all the way into the hallway, past the trophy case, and sometimes even down the stairs. That’s a little excessive for a high school lunch line, especially given the size of our cafeteria and school. Many students wait in line for an average of 10 to 15 minutes just to get their food. Each lunch period is around 30 minutes, and if students spend at least 10 minutes in a line that only leaves them with 20 minutes to eat. Students are expected to use this time to eat, and as a sort of ¨break¨ or ¨recess.¨ With the tiny amount of time students are given to eat, it doesn’t give them enough time to use the bathroom if they need to. If students do not make it to the line in time, they could be in the back of the line and barely have any time to eat, like myself. By the time I sit down, I barely have enough time to eat before the bell rings. For students who find themselves at the back of the line every day, they do not have enough time to use the restroom before they go back to class. This causes students to ask to use the bathroom at the beginning of their next period after lunch and the teachers aren’t always happy about it, or they ask, “Why didn’t you go during lunch?” The answer is simple. There’s not enough time to. If students do decide to use the bathroom during lunch then they end up being late to their next class.

A few proposals that I have to solve these issues are: 1., we switch back to having three lunch periods; or 2., we need another person working another computer at the end of the line to charge the students’ lunch accounts. The school year of 2016-2017 was the first time Chester High School had a traditional seven-period schedule in years. We generally kept the same schedule as we had when we were running on block with the exception of no longer having an extra class. We had first lunch, split lunch, and last lunch, plus we had advisory fourth hour. The reason for this system was in order to have enough room for all the students in each lunch. Then, the second year of having a seven-period schedule they switched advisory from fourth hour to the end of the day, cut advisory time down by 15 minutes, added the 15  minutes to the end of 5th hour, but still managed to have three lunch periods. Personally, I think that if we switched back to the original seven-period schedule the school developed, things would be a lot smoother in the schedule. My second proposal of having another lunch lady charge everyone’s account at the end of the line is very doable. One lady at the end of the line isn’t enough, even though there are two keypads for students to type their student ID into. Though it only takes the lunch lady at the end of the line a few seconds to charge each account, students would be able to get through the line a lot quicker if there was another lunch lady charging accounts.

With this, you may be telling yourself, “That could be done, but money is the big problem. We would have to pay another person to work at the end of the lunch line, and switching the schedule costs money.” Somewhere in all of this, we need to make small changes in order for things in the school to run more smoothly. We need to make sacrifices. We should be making our school a positive and stress- free environment for students, and fixing the issues with the lunch line would be a small step towards the right direction. Instead of letting this issue completely lie with the school board and the administration, we should involve the students. Students are stakeholders, too, and should be involved in the solution.

All in all, the lunch line has become a problem within our school and needs to be fixed for the sake of the students’ and teachers’ sanity. With a few tweaks to the schedule, making a few sacrifices, and getting the students involved, this issue could be resolved. Although money could be an issue, we need to think about the students. The students are the future and providing them with something as simple as a smaller lunch line and lunch periods could affect their high school experience.

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