Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

High school lunch trips raise concern

D.A. sees security, truancy threats

February 15, 2006


The county's top prosecutor is voicing concerns about students at Lawrence's public high schools leaving campus at lunch, saying it can be unsafe and contributes to truancy problems.

"I think it's something that needs to be addressed before it becomes a really important issue after we have to bury some kid that's racing back to school," Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said. "I'm not going to say it's an epidemic or something like that, but it's time to take a look at the issue."

Principals at Lawrence's two public high schools say they're open to discussion, but nothing is likely to change immediately.

"It's something we'd have to revisit with our students and try to bring them into the conversation," LHS Principal Steve Nilhas said.

Free State High Principal Joe Snyder said: "It's a privilege for kids. It's not a right."

Students have been allowed to leave LHS at lunch for at least 25 years. Free State inherited the practice when the school opened in 1997.

With slushy drinks in hand, Matt Sowders, a 2005 Free State High School graduate, left, and Jennifer Reynoso, Lawrence High School junior, head back to the car. Sowders took Reynoso out for a speedy Valentine's Day lunch Tuesday at QuikTrip, 23rd Street and Haskell Avenue, during her 30-minute break. Open lunch may become a thing of the past at Lawrence's public high school campuses because of concerns about student safety voiced by Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson.

With slushy drinks in hand, Matt Sowders, a 2005 Free State High School graduate, left, and Jennifer Reynoso, Lawrence High School junior, head back to the car. Sowders took Reynoso out for a speedy Valentine's Day lunch Tuesday at QuikTrip, 23rd Street and Haskell Avenue, during her 30-minute break. Open lunch may become a thing of the past at Lawrence's public high school campuses because of concerns about student safety voiced by Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson.

On a typical day, between 30 percent and 40 percent of students leave for lunch at the two schools. Lunch lasts 30 minutes, and Branson questions whether that's enough time for students to go somewhere, get food and return safely.

Another concern, he said, is that some students are not coming back after lunch. Students who miss one period in a day get an unexcused absence, and if they rack up enough in a row or in a semester, they can be declared truant and enter the court system.

This semester, the Lawrence school district and Branson began a set of new procedures meant to keep students in class - and to force them to pay a higher price when they skip.

Last spring LHS considered closing lunch for sophomores. Most parents were supportive, but students weighed in against the plan, Nilhas said.

He said about 700 students eat in the cafeteria each day, a number that would grow to 1,200 if students weren't allowed to leave.

For LHS junior Jennifer Reynoso, Tuesday's lunch period was a chance for her to grab lunch with her boyfriend, Matt Sowders, who picked her up at school and brought her flowers for Valentine's Day.

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They went to a convenience store, where she got Twizzlers, chips and a frozen cappuccino.

Reynoso estimated she left school three times per week at lunch. She admitted that at least three times this year, she hasn't gone back.

"It just depends on what kind of day you're having," she said. "Sometimes I'm having a crappy day, or I go out and have a good lunch and have second thoughts on going back to school."

If open lunch were to be discontinued, she said, the cafeteria would become too crowded. Some students would simply rebel, she said.

"Kids will probably still go over teachers' heads and walk out and come back when lunch is over," she said.

David Thiel, parent of an LHS junior, said he's not against his daughter leaving school for lunch on occasion, but admits he worries about the safety of students rushing back and forth from lunch.

"I'd prefer that they had creative options at school so that they wouldn't have to leave," he said. "If they were to prohibit leaving the campus, I would support that."

School board member Rich Minder said letting students leave for lunch could be viewed as a chance to let them make choices that help them develop socially and emotionally.

He said the board hadn't discussed the issue much in recent years. He's open to talking about it more but isn't convinced it's something that should be eliminated.

"I'm not there yet," he said.


blackrl 12 years, 1 month ago

If you would have asked me 5 years ago I would have agreed that open lunches were a good idea. But MANY of the students who leave school during lunch stop and smoke in my yard and in my neighbors yard -- within sight of the school. They stand in the middle of the street so that cars cannot pass. They throw rocks at the stop sign -- in the direction of oncoming cars. These students leave their trash in our yards, trample our grass and flowers and scream obscenities at each other in front of our children. While I agree that all students should not be punished for the action of these students. I also believe that the community should not suffer because of the "rights of these students."

This isn't about the "occasional smoker on someone's lawn. " (It happens EVERY single school day.) This is about disrespect for the community (obstructng traffic, rufusing to move out of street so cars can pass, cursing LOUDLY in front of young impressionable children). It is about violation of laws (trespassing, litering, loitering). It is about a disregard for human safety (throwing rocks toward cars traveling on Louisiana -- some of which are driven by students).

While I belive that thew many should not be punished for the actions of the few, I also believe that laws are on the books to be inforced. If adults break the law they should be prosecuted. The same is true for students.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence High Schools have had open lunches as far back as I can remember, including when I was a high school student in the early to mid 90's. I don't recall it causing any "security" problems.

rtwngr 12 years, 2 months ago

OMG!!!! I can't believe that I am in agreement with every person on this. Finally a subject we can get along with.

How many students have we had to bury because they were "racing back to class"? Here is a perfect case of trying to fix something that isn't broken. The DA needs to prosecute CRIMINALS and stay out of policing the school lunch program at the high schools.

banish 12 years, 2 months ago

What is this guys problem. Leaving school for lunch is what students do and been doing for years on years. Stay at the court house were you belong..

a_flock_of_jayhawks 12 years, 2 months ago

I guess you guys haven't seen what they do when they're leaving or returning. I have. They drive like crap. They go to the yards of homes adjacent to the school to smoke / toke. There was an accident just a couple of weeks ago involving a student whipping through the FSHS parking lot & hit a teacher's car as she was backing out of her parking space. I'll admit, it's not the biggest problem this city has. I don't think it's control, it's enforcement. That's what a DA does.

neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

Did something just change since the last 25 years of students leaving? No? Then leave it alone!

onehotmomma 12 years, 2 months ago

ban everyone from going to lunch if they only have 1/2 an hour!! Ban driving, make it a law that everyone must brown bag it!!

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

I think if there is an issue here, then they should extend the lunches to 45 minutes. The students have been doing it for so long and the time to think about it isn't now. For Free State it should have been discussed when the school was opened, not now. The case is closed and they should leave it alone. Unless they can show a big problem then I don't think it is an issue. However, I do like the whole plan that holygrail mentioned. Partner priveleges with attendence and grades.

saramaatta 12 years, 2 months ago

When I attended LHS almost 20 years ago I went out to lunch with my friends every single day. A half hour was plenty of time to go through a drive through, eat in the car and get back to school safely and on time. I never skipped class after lunch. This is none of the DA's business. School shouldn't be a prison. And for kids that have truancy issues, punish them. That won't go away if you do away with open lunches.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 2 months ago

Jeez, it's the guy's job to enforce laws, and if he sees truancy being exacerbated by the open lunch period, he has an obligation to say so.

He spent probably 15-20 minutes tops to make this statement, basically asking the school board and administrators to take a look at it, but judging by many of the reponses here, you'd think he stormed the schools with an army and staged a coup.

glockenspiel 12 years, 2 months ago

Nothing like raising a child in a cage...

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

I think I can honestly say now I've heard it all. For those of us that were lucky enough to go to Lawrence schools, we know that open lunch was a God send. It was a great way to get away from everything for a half hour and relax, have some food, etc. Sure, sometimes we didn't come back. But you know what? That would've been the case had there been open lunch or not. If kids are going to skip school, toke up on a break, smoke ciggies, drink beer from a cooler in the bed of their trucks, etc, they're going to do it and whether or not you're able to leave the grounds at lunch time is going to have no bearing on it at all. Also, consider the teachers. I remember LHS well. There are a lot of entrances/exits to that place. They can't be chasing kids around trying to keep them on campus during their lunch breaks. They have actual important jobs to do and chasing Johnny Jockhead down because he wants to go across the street to the laundromat and buy some cheetos and some 'roids on his lunchbreak isn't one of them. The DA is a little puke.

irnmadn88 12 years, 2 months ago

This closed campus debate happened on a DoDDS campus when I was in school in the 80's...

The administration failed to take into account if ALL the students went to lunch at the same time what would happen...

And that is precisely what the students did...had a sit in lunch as a form of protest...overwhelmed the lunch room staff...some students didn't get lunch until well into their next class after lunch.

End of debate...

OKjayhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't understand why this is even an issue. When i went to school, we had an hour and a half (we were on block scheduling) and almost NO ONE stayed at school. There were consequences for being late back to school and skipping, but nothing too bad. Haven't kids been doing this for years? What leads us to believe that the DA didn't do this when he was in high school??

Jessica Small 12 years, 2 months ago

I went to fast food places my sophomore year at LHS (fall of '89) until I started gaining weight. I ate at the cafeteria second half of sophomore and all of junior year (I miss the half baked chocolate chip cookies). My senior year I was a student aid lunch hour and if there wasn't anything to grade I would go with the other aids downtown for lunch for the whole 1.5 hours (that was great). 30 minutes isn't enough to get a decent lunch but if students want to chow down crud in the car that is their own business.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Truancy already has penalties, and poor driving already has penalties. What's the DA doing to enforce those penalties again?

The open lunch period contributes to truancy and poor driving the same way that selling alcohol contributes to drunken driving and date rape.

The majority of kids aren't particularly abusing the open lunch, I'd imagine. Punish the ones who do by punishing them for the actual things they did wrong.

But taking things away from the kids who aren't doing something wrong just teaches them that they're going to be held accountable for other people's actions whether they personally obey the rules or not, so the only benefit to obeying the rules is...well, I don't know what the benefit to obeying rules is if you get punished when other people don't follow them and you don't have any control over those other people's behaviour.

I suppose there's a certain sort of comfort in knowing you did what is right, but that gets less and less meaningful when you continue to live out the effects of not doing what is right no matter what your choices were.

Holygraileale's ABC system makes some sense, actually. If you have a good GPA and no disciplinary problems, then you should get more privileges than someone with a low GPA or a lot of disciplinary problems. I think that makes a lot more sense than just shutting down everyone's privileges.

bmwjhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

Guy in picture's lunch= Twizzlers and a pop. Yes, I think it's important that he be able to go to Quik Shop for lunch. There's nothing wrong with staggering lunches. It works and it's a better use of time.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

When I went to high school, we had closed lunch periods. Students still left and some got caught.
I like the idea of earning the right to leave campus for lunch. Yes, LHS has had open lunch for over 25 years, but there have been many good points brought up, both pro and con.
But the article did bring up a point - if lunch was to be closed, is there enough room in the cafeteria for students to eat at school.

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

I would have at least splurged for a Taquito if I went to QT for lunch.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago

If we would go back to a one income earning family (this requires a sacrifice for your kids and they wouldn't skip out for lunch) (we can thank Mr. Reagan for over extending the economy into the current slavery of two income earning families just barely getting by), we could home school our kids and see to it that they get the best education that you can provide that also teaches American History/government in full instead of the partial one sided teaching of the public schools.

If people would make the adjustment back to a one income earning family, wages would eventually rise for the one income worker and your standard of living would improve and all of your family would be better off.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 2 months ago

they should be more concerned ,with the kids that are going to the park ,and getting high .then going back to class. they arrested some kids there yesterday for getting high.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

flock-of-jayhawks - Interesting the only instance you can come up with is a fender-bender in the high-school's parking lot. That could have happened before or after school as well. Very weak argument my friend.

Porkribs - what does obesity have to do with kids going to lunch? Your argument is worse than flock's.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

BTW - Since when does the DA influence rulings by the Lawrence School Board? I thought the responsibility of the DA was to prosecute criminal cases. Plus, has anybody taken into consideration the amount of revenue these students are injecting into the local economy when they go out to lunch? It may not be that significant but it is probably worth looking at.

daddax98 12 years, 2 months ago

ben_ness If you haven't realized yet anyone that does not eat, drink, think, drive, vote, watch, worship etc. what porkfat does is stupid. Read his posts sometime. at some point his argument will turn to liberal v. conservative. old and worn out

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

daddax - Thank you for the heads up. He doesn't strike me as being the sharpest tool in the shed :)

tolawdjk 12 years, 2 months ago

"If we would go back to a one income earning family (this requires a sacrifice for your kids and they wouldn't skip out for lunch) (we can thank Mr. Reagan for over extending the economy into the current slavery of two income earning families just barely getting by), we could home school our kids and see to it that they get the best education that you can provide that also teaches American History/government in full instead of the partial one sided teaching of the public schools."

Biggest crock of horsehockey I have read in days. If the parent staying home is an idiot, how are they going to give thier kid the best education? Are you going to guarentee that they get American History/government in full? How?

Go back and watch Donna Reed reruns, but the world has passed you by.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

My school had closed lunches, but we were about 45 minutes from fastfood and five miles from a gas station. I agree that those with bad grades and truancy problems should not have open lunches. Maybe make the parents pay some $$ every time their ignorant child ditches class after lunch. A lot of parents only pay attention to their children when it hits them in the wallet. It disgusts me how few American kids truly value their educations. They need to look at kids around the world who would die for the opportunities of brats in Lawrence.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago


If the parent is at home, they certainly aren't an idiot. They have taken the first step to help this country and their family and especially their children. Now if they can read, then you can input more real information into their brain instead of the State approved brainwashing at public schools that lazy people depend on. This is how you can learn more than what you know now. It is called home schooling and self teaching (like you do in college). You should try it some time and educate yourself to the truth.

Aileen Dingus 12 years, 2 months ago

Liberty- "Now if they can read, then you can input more real information into their brain instead of the State approved brainwashing at public schools that lazy people depend on."

I don't believe that's accurate. I know that my teaching skills are limited. My patience is even more limited. I would be a lousy homeschool parent. I believe it takes more than being able to read to teach your children. Heck- most of the people that watch (and enjoy) thinks like "Jerry Springer" and "Hey Dude Where's My Car" can read.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

My wife works part time and is still planning on home schooling. If that doesn't work, because the children still need to socialize, they will go to private school. Public school is a bunch of BS anyways. If you look at who the extremely successful are in this country, they didn't go to public school. As always there are exceptions but the majority are not public school children.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

My wife works part time and is still planning on home schooling. If that doesn't work, because the children still need to socialize, they will go to private school. Public school is a bunch of BS anyways. If you look at who the extremely successful are in this country, they didn't go to public school. As always there are exceptions but the majority are not public school children.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

offtotheright: That is exactly the way it was at my school. It's sad how few parents seem to care about their kids and their educations. My school took truancy very seriously and the parents were constantly notified of any problems. I don't think any high school kid should be guaranteed an open lunch period.

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

"Last spring LHS considered closing lunch for sophomores. Most parents were supportive, but students weighed in against the plan."

Maybe the school district needs to allow the students to "weigh in" with their own plan for combatting truancy. Give them the parameters (no, we cannot ignore the issue; no, we cannot pay students to attend class) and let them figure out solutions. Keep the 'ham handed' closed campus in the background as an incentive for them to find a more effective solution.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago


When the children are young you don't have to be a "great" teacher. The material that is available to your children is incredibly more in depth in certain subjects and you can critique your "style" of teaching to fit your child. Instead of trying to get a curriculum based on making sure the slowest person doesn't fall behind, your child will be able to learn at a pace that best fits them. Most children are too smart for the public school system. Once the children get to, say, junior high or high school I agree it would be increasingly difficult to be their teacher. The knowledge base that the child would get by being home schooled young or by attending a private school with a better curriculum puts them years ahead of their counterparts that attend public school and take on no other outside assignments. The new math/english programs that they are trying to teach the kids in school are awful. They do not know how to spell in the 4th grade because earlier they are taught not to worry about phonics. The math is asinine. If you do not believe me you should call your nearest elementary school and take a look at the new books they have. There is no rhyme or reason to the curriculum they are using now and many of the children are having a very difficult time with it. I believe that any parent could help their children get their fundamentals.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago


My understanding is that they have let the children weigh in on the issues. It usually results in both parties being satisfied and also gives the students a sense of respect because their voice was heard. They are not all a bunch of snot nosed little brats who need to be whipped into line like bowhunter, OTTR, PR, and others have tried to say.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

bankboy - why do you continue to make a fool of yourself in these blogs. Your statistics are always erroneous and unfounded. Some of the MOST successful people I know are products of public education. If you homeschool your children, my hopes are you can at least teach them how to form arguments founded on empirical evidence as opposed to what they think is right and wrong. There is a major differentiation between the two.

Sigmund 12 years, 2 months ago

I was rear-ended on Wakarusa by a car that had a group of kids (2 girls, 2 boys) from Free State High School in it. They got distracted by smoking a joint heading back after lunch (they claimed I "stopped suddenly" at a stop sign). No one was hurt, their car was trashed (radiator spewing, glass breaking, etc.), my vehicle had a scratch on the bumper right above the trailer hitch. All-in-all a pretty amusing story. Knowing all of this then you might think that I would by sympathetic with Mr. Branson's position. You would be wrong.

Like most everyone here I was particularly struck by the DA's "we're lucky no kids have been killed at lunch, yet" statement. This kind of argument is typical of the liberal Democrat that he is. Create a problem then restrict someone's rights to 'solve' it. Much easier than prosecuting real criminals, is guaranteed to succeed, and makes a great campaign issue.

Of the three candidates in the last election he was least qualified. Yet the same group of voters who returned Judge Paula Martin to the bench and the current crop of tobacco/balloon/cell phone banning, roundabout building, pot decriminalizing City Commissioners back for another term.

All of which leads me to this question, was Communism really such a bad idea? Obviously the citizens of Soviet Russia were not allowed to vote, but they were allowed to do pretty well everything else; smoke in bars, drink a very great deal of vodka, and leave high school for lunch. Those who broke the law were actually caught, convicted and punished. The dirty little secret is that life is generally so good in Lawrence that the city leaders are inventing new problems to save us from.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

Ah benny ben ben, by most successful I do mean the business owners and politicians. They are not public school children. They are private school children. If I did not say it clear enough for you to understand I apologize for your public school education.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

By the way, what other statistics are you talking about? The abortion stats that I gave? Go ahead and google how many abortions are performed per day in the United States. It's approximately 3000. So next time you want to argue facts and fiction, do some research before you spout off.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago


I agree with you. The parent actually needs to be a good parent for their children for this to work. They may have to sacrifice Jerry Springer (stop bad habits) and other wastes of time to redirect the time for their children. You may not have the knowledge or may have forgotten and may have to also read the math/spelling/history book and review the information to figure out how the problems work from the examples. You can also buy a teachers answer book that will show the problem worked out so you can understand it better and have the right answers. But you will also become educated in the process. Your children will learn to work through examples like you do in college. You both will gain and your children will know that you are really concerned with what and how they learn. They will know that you love them as well.

hilly 12 years, 2 months ago

So I noticed a few people pointing out obesity and that students who go out don't eat right.

Really now, have you been in a school cafateria lately? I just graduated last year, and there was an abundance of extra junk food, available at extra cost. I remember a few times last year when I only had a dollar on me for lunch (school lunches are now 2 dollars and some change) I'd get an ice cream bar and be set for lunch. Honestly, I would have rather gone to McDonalds and got a double cheeseburger.

So having the ability to go out to lunch does not affect obesity, I remember most of my classmates going to Subway and Chipolte during lunch, which is alot better then the greasy junk that they feed you at school.

OKjayhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

Well, bankboy does have a point. George W. Bush went to private school, and we all know that's how we want out kids to turn out--as greedy, warlords.

Bankboy-leave out abortion on this topic, you're just try to start an arguement and you're making yourself look bad.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Liberty -

Neither of my parents could have taught me Advanced Placement Biology or Chemistry. By the time I was 8, I was reading at a higher grade and comprehension level than either of them, and growing my own mold cultures to mount on slides for my microscope. I surpassed the capacities of what I could learn from my home chemistry set by the time I was 10 (it was marked ages 12+). My mother could have taken care of the English and History, and my father could have handled the math up to general Calculus, but as for getting me the labtime and supplies I needed to continue my biological studies? Not likely. I'd have been that kid out there cutting up the roadkill.

Homeschooling makes sense in earlier grades, before the advanced sciences and elective courses kick in, but most parents severely limit their children's success in the sciences if they don't have the capabilities to teach advanced concepts in them.

If you don't understand physics, there's no amount of reading that will make you a competent teacher of it.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

OK you completely distorted my point as any good liberal tries to do. As for abortion, the reason I brought that up was because that was the only other statistic that I can think of that I have posted, not to start an argument. You're the one who looks like they are trying to. If you want to get into it, your vote to murder children makes you no better than Hitler. Since Sept 11th, 2001 almost 5 million babies have been murdered by nazilibs like you. Hitler murdered approximately 6 million Jews. You should be pround that since the year 2000 you have passed his mark. You have also murdered, since 2000, over 10 times the number of Americans killed in WWII, approximately 500,000.

Also, if you notice the rest of the people I have provided, they're Democrats or business owners, or both.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 2 months ago

What's funny to me is how the school administrators had decided to limit or eliminate the ability to leave, but the sophomores opposed it so they didn't do it. What?? They're letting some 14 & 15 year olds determine what they are going to do?

OKjayhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

Excuse me. I did not mean to upset you. Please, don't get me started on abortion it's not pretty. Personally, i like having my women's rights and do not want some conservative a$$hole taking them away. And i would appreciate it if you would not personalize this and say that i would kill a baby, because i almost lost my baby the day she was born. The abortion law is there so that people don't have "coat-hanger" abortions in some ally. It's there so that if there are problems with the baby or mother, then it would save a life. Maybe, just MAYBE if they decided to provide better sex education (other than the one Bush provided that promoted "abstinence" which isn't realistic) we would have lower abortion rates and maybe young girls wouldn't have abortions, but choose to put them up for adoption. I AM prochoice, but i also think that there are other ways than abortion. I just think that in America WE should decide what is done with our bodies.

OKjayhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

But, again, we're talking about school lunches and not abortion or any other topic.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Aaaaaaaaand Godwin says bankboy loses at Internet!


a_flock_of_jayhawks 12 years, 2 months ago

ben_ness, I have plenty more instances that I would share and would probably have plenty more if I didn't have a job. I used the one fender bender as an example. You're pretty full of yourself, bud.

jayhawks71 12 years, 2 months ago

Let's keep the students in school 24/7/365 to ensure that they have to make no decisions in life and make it clear to them that they are not free, they are entities that must learn how to be controlled by authority figures. Then, perhaps we can have more mindless robots who have no problem with the Patriot Act or any other government controls in the name of security.

hilly 12 years, 2 months ago

Whoooaaaa there Hong_Kong_Phooey. The majority of sophomores aren't 14 and 15 years old. Most of them are 16, and have a license. Usually not a car, but most of the time, they can legally drive.

Just wanted to point that out.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

And, bankboy, there is also a lot of evidence out there to show that the reason those "private school" folks are so sucessful is the MONEY they come from, not what private school did for them. Having a daddy who graduated from Princeton can help an underachieving pothead at a public school just as much as it can a private school. The only difference is WHERE the kids are educated, and how much they are pandered. My sister teaches for a very prestigious private school, and the parents there spare no expense to pave a successful path for their kids, whether the kids have the smarts to get there alone or not.

New dean of KU Law--public school through college, private grad school due to tuition waivers because her husband was on the faculty

H Lee Scott, Jr - CEO of WalMart (Fortune 500 #1, the rest are in order)--Baxter Springs HS in Baxter Springs, KS, Pitt State U in Pittsburg, KS

Lee R. Raymond - Exxon (#2) -- BS from Wisconsin-Madison, PhD from Minnesota

G Richard Wagoner - GM (#3, etc) -- Duke and Harvard

William Clay Ford Jr - Ford (duh) -- Princeton, MIT

Jeffrey R. Immelt - GE -- Dartmouth, Harvard

David J O'Reilly - ChevronTexaco -- University of Dublin

James J Mulva - ConocoPhillips -- University of Texas (undergrad and grad)

Charles Prince - Citigroup - BA, MA, JD at USC, LLM at Georgetown

Martin J Sullivan - AIG -- can't find

Samuel J Palmisano - IBM -- Calvert Hall (high school--private, I assume), Johns Hopkins

Note that the top two are public school kids...

Shardwurm 12 years, 2 months ago

I can't see how he can put this on his agenda when there are pressing issues like homeless car washes and balloons on used cars to pursue.

hilly 12 years, 2 months ago


Don't forget Warren Buffett... he went to public schools though high school, and after that he went to Wharton (which is private) but ended up transfering to U of Nebraska to get his bachelor's degree.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

avhjmlk - Thank you for coming to the defense of successful people who have public education to thank for their achievments. It is interesting to see that a majority of the examples bankboy uses slid in on the coat-tails of their well-off family.

Bankboy - You really don't know what your talking about. Anybody can cut and paste URLs, I still don't see that you are using your head.

Sigmund - It is interesting that most people on both sides of the party fence see eye-to-eye on this one.

Dean Royal 12 years, 2 months ago

This may have been said already, but it's disturbing to see that while some strive to have POP machines pushed out of schools, they just as easily allow their children to leave and get it elsewhere.

In the photo for this story and the various other comments made by current and/or past students, the 30 minutes doesn't give near enough time to actually eat something healthy.

I say if anything, give them an hour. At least this gives them a chance to get something more than what Quickshop has to offer...

grace 12 years, 2 months ago

Bankboy, you are off your rocker. Why do you feel the need to call people nazilibs, etc.? You must have an absolutely huge inferiority complex.

Now, back to the subject at hand. I think a lot of people posting today are misinterpreting the DA's statements. Everyone is saying that he needs to stick with dealing w/ criminals. That is precisely what he is trying to do. Truancy is criminal activity. Furthermore, truants frequently leave school and perpetrate crimes. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be speaking out on this issue.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

flock-of-jayhawks - By all means, share them with me. I don't see how whether you work or not affects the amount of examples you have. If you are talking about personal experiences then I may understand. I am not full of myself, I just think before I write statements on this blog, and I speak the truth. Your argument was weak and asinine. If you can find me more than one or two incident within the last two years that involved high-school students and run ins with the law then you have an argument that holds a bit of water.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 2 months ago

Well, if they can DRIVE... They truly are king's of the world and should be allowed to determine school policy.

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

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Eric Beightel 12 years, 2 months ago

It seem sto me that the oriiginal intent of this article was to debate the pros and cons of an open lunch. Having graduated from LHS in the nineties(with the above cited ben_ness) I have to come out in full support of the open lunch. It allowed me the opportunity to go smoke up and then come back to English class and read some Shakespeare. Trust me, if you want to really enjoy Shakespeare, read that dude high.

Seriously, how is this even an issue? Kids get high if they want to. They skip class if they want to. I don't believe that closing lunches is going to significantly reduce the number of kids who get high during school or simply skip class.

This debate is silly. As has been stated before, this issue should have been brought up long ago (say when they were building Free State and renovating LHS) so that they could account for every student eating lunch in the cafeteria. As it is, the lunch rooms are inadequate to support such a large increase in patrons.

Branson - work on keeping the guns out of downtown. Leave the high school administrating to the administrators.

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

The DA is supposed to solve crimes, not create crimes where none exist. This is what you get when you elect an unqualified politician to a position that requires some actual expertise in the job at hand.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 12 years, 2 months ago

ben_ness, They are personal experiences; I live near the school. I don't really care if I have or can convince you of anything. Maybe you should think a little more before you flame someone, idiot.

bosco136 12 years, 2 months ago

If tax payers pay for students to go to school, students have to go the whole day. As a tax payer I demand it. If we want to teach students responsibility, why not teach them that life has requirements. Can you leave work at lunch if "you're just having a 'bad' day?" I went to a private school that did not allow students to leave for any reason. Skipping a class once resulted in a suspension; a second skip and the student was expelled. Schools should very strictly enforce attendance; one can only look at pathetic attendance of college students to see what results when students aren't forced to attend the education tax payers provide.

ben_ness 12 years, 2 months ago

a_flock_of_jayhawks - So it was YOUR car that was hit by the student. That would be a personal experience, right? I am not trying to flame you - whatever that means, I am just trying to figure out what the heck you are writing about. You are using one instance of a minor fender bender and an occasional smoker on somebody's lawn to prop up your point that campus should be closed. To me, this seems like a pretty weak argument considering the evidence. Closing campus over lunch isn't going to bring an end to these incidents. You come across to me as somebody who has lost sight of what it is like to be a kid in high-school and how important it is to have that little bit of freedom during the day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 2 months ago

Godot said:

"The DA is supposed to solve crimes, not create crimes where none exist."

What crimes did he create? He merely pointed out that the open lunch hour might increase any problems with truancy.

"This is what you get when you elect an unqualified politician to a position that requires some actual expertise in the job at hand."

What do you get? He made a very simple announcement of his opinion, and basically left it the the schools to either deal with it, or not.

But you've never shown the need for much of a reason to launch mostly baseless attacks against anyone you percieve as being from "the other team."

Alison Roberts 12 years, 2 months ago

my school had open lunches.. we all came back to school.. it wasnt really a problem.

it was for sophomore's and up though.. freshman couldnt leave.

nonimbyks 12 years, 2 months ago

Look, if anything it teaches the students that they have to be responsible for their actions while still teathered to the social norms. This also gives students the ability to exercise their social skills in public during the day when many "adults" are out and about also.

Taking a short trip to Wendy's for lunch is like a mini field trip and an fine time to hone their drivng skills and time management.

hilly 12 years, 2 months ago


Don't take it so seriously. I was just pointing out that they were older then you thought, no need to get offended.

nonimbyks 12 years, 2 months ago

No offense taken, I just can't believe all of the discussion and the sillyness of a public office to get involved in school business.

margaret 12 years, 2 months ago

That's a pretty legalistic view you have on the situation there "grace" :)

Taking away open lunch is absurd. This is coming form a student perspective, which I know probably seems like a joke to most bloggers, but it is your choice to take me seriously or not. Taking away privileges such as open lunch will solve nothing. If anything, the truancy problem will only get worse. If you tell high school students not to do something, chances are they are more prone to do exactly that. The students who are committing crime are going to do the same thing if they are not allowed to leave the school at lunch time or not. Not to mention that few are committing this action. So it makes little sense to punish the student body as a whole for the acts that the select few. If you look at the percents given in the article, which might I add only shows up on one occasion, you will see that less than half of the students even leave the school during lunch. I saw no statistics of the number of the 40% that have actually committed truancy. So again treating the student body as a whole really isn't fair. That would be punishing students like me that have done absolutely nothing to have this privilege taken away. The lunchroom is crowded enough as it is, so making that 40% stay for lunch would just create another problem. I would also like to touch on PorkRibs comment about why kids are so FREAKIN FAT. It honestly infuriated me to read that. If you think that the reason for kids being overweight is because of open lunch you must be insane. School lunches are complete and total crap. The main dishes are hardly ever made of real food. They are disgusting, and I promise you that there is no nutritional value coming from those lunches. Furthermore most kids get a main dish then they go and buy melted cookies with chips, a big pretzels and cheese with a cherry slush and an ice cold coke to wash it down. Don't try and make the argument that they are fat because of fast food. That is simply a terrible argument. It's funny really. We are expected to act as adults at this point in out lives, yet we are given rules and limitations that make us feel as if we are children. Maybe after you cut off open lunch you can talk about shortening our passing periods too. I mean students could get in fights in that time. The bottom line is no matter what limitations you set kids are going to do whatever they want. You aren't going to change a student's frame of mind by taking their lunch time away. If one student is a problem, punish that one student and work with them individually. There is always going to be some kind of "problem" with how the school is operating. Then again there is only so much that the school can do. Frankly, I think the new cameras in the schools are invasion enough of individual rights.

Jake Esau 12 years, 2 months ago

Bishop Seabury Academy allows only seniors to leave campus for lunch; and on top of that they only allow them to leave on Fridays. The idea was that it was a privilege for the seniors. As you get older, you get more privileges.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

You know, Margaret, I think you were better off to leave things unsaid......

Until you have a nutritional degree, don't tell me how bad the school lunches are...You should have told us how beneficial it is to leave campus, privilege that shouldn't be taken for granted and have freedom, not bash everything that you hate.

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