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Should Lawrence high schools get rid of open lunch?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on February 15, 2006

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Photo of Laura Bennetts

“No, I don’t think they should. I think high-schoolers are responsible enough to leave the campus and return.”

Photo of John Thompson

“No, probably not. I wish we had open lunch in Baldwin. I would imagine it could be abused, but I think it serves some practical purposes.”

Photo of Mika Slappy

“I don’t see it as being a problem. I think they should keep it. If they get rid of it, the kids are going to go stir-crazy.”

Photo of Ted Kritikos

“No. They should keep open lunch. I say let the kids have their fun.”

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Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

It's a little late to make the change I'd say. They could not possibly feed 1200 students in a half hour period at school unless they stagger lunch periods.

KsjKC 12 years, 2 months ago

Speaking of staggering lunch periods, I was at LHS before 1986 when the drinking age changed. Anyone remember the "I opened Johnnys?" bumper stickers? Anything can get out of balance, but in High School, 30 minutes off campus can be a very beneficial break. Too bad places like Little Caesars--close to LHS--folded; shorter drives make it less likely for some kids to ditch classes.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

I wonder what the answers would be if they asked this question at Slow Ride?

Merrill is right - how can they feed that many kids in that short of a time period? Maybe hot dog carts and free cotton candy?

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

blue: Then why don't you extend the period? We had open lunch for seniors back in high-school, and it didn't cause any problems, though there were lots of people who certainly thought that it should be causing problems.

Are there not consequences set it place for missing class? Are they not adequate for keeping kids in class?

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

In our smaller town--with a 4-year high school enrollment around 500--they instituted a closed campus about 3-4 years ago, which meant creating a lunch room/cafeteria. The local Taco Bell promptly closed down, saying they'd based their business projections on high school lunch trade, which may or may not have been true (they got TONS of tourist trade). Prior to that, there was no place to eat at school unless you sat in the halls and ate. It seems to have worked well, and did solve some of the truancy problem, though the kids who want to leave school during the day still do. But probably school rules against that are not as strictly enforced here as in Lawrence.

It certainly seems like a 30-minute lunch break at Lawrence high schools is not enough to do anything/go anywhere, and if you're are going to be late getting back, why bother to go back--would probably be the attitude. If they keep the open campus, it might be useful to extend the lunch period.

I am sure it is nice to get away for a break; I just think that it must be sort of a mess, with all that traffic, etc. Here in our town, kids could just walk downtown to eat. One major problem that was resolved with a closed campus locally is that there was a significant reduction in shoplifting--don't know that Lawrence has to deal with that.

I can see the pros and cons to that decision, but think it would be harder to enforce there than here.

neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

Wow, some of you parents are even WORSE than your parents were! Talk about over-protective. I thought being a teen was a jail sentence at the time. Open lunch was about the only thing saving my sanity!

Idea #2 - make it a one hour lunch - no more issues of getting there and back on time!

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

i'm with you on this one neo...make the lunch period longer, because yes being a parent now (but all my babes have graduated high school) i worry bigtime about the ruckus and rush created with an oodle of teenage drivers trying to beat each other to the sonic, mickey D's, or taco hell then back to school. i had open lunch&it was awesome, but i'm from a way smaller town than lawrence. and i hate to admit it-but i was truant now&then, heh...

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

We always had closed lunch and it was no big deal. Changes can be made to the school schedule to create time for a closed lunch.

That said, Lawrence students should know that they have it good not having to eat school cafeteria food all the time. Sometimes those lunches were not pretty.

Anytime you release a bunch of people out it the world of course it would be less safe for them than if they were contained and watched over. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have the opportunity. Leave it how it is, I think.

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

Extend the lunches to 40 minutes. An extra 10minutes will solve this ever so pressing matter. There ya go DA Branson I solved the problem for ya.... Free of charge just take care of my next speeding ticket that I will be getting soon at the 6th street "work" zone. Ya know the one that has NO work going on in it.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

We had closed lunch at my high school, and it didn't kill me. I don't think open lunch will kill anyone either.

I do think that even if you're staying on campus, half an hour isn't long enough to eat without wolfing down your food - which isn't healthy.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

If lunch period remains just a half hour, than it should be a closed campus. There isn't enough time to, and the danger comes from students getting in their cars and speeding to Sonic or some such place, and then speeding back in time to make class on time. That is why they should do as others have already suggested -- extended it to an hour, and stagger the lunches.

Now, I need more coffee - I think I just heard on the news that Dick Cheney had to purchase a $7 hunting license after shooting his friend. This brings up a couple of questions: Is that all it costs to hunt rich Repulicans these days? Is there a limit? If I don't live in Texas, can I get one anyway?

. . _/

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

I am so thankful that we have a DA that is willing to oversee the minute safety matters of our fair city. I hope he is consistant with his concerns and has the fortitude to persue all safety matters and abandons all more important legal matters. He should be the safety marshall kinda like Fire Marshall Bill from In Living Color. My first suggestion is for Branson to make sure everyone is washing their hands before they eat and after they go to the restroom. The possibility of passing on germs and bacteria is just too great for us to ignore and we might have to "bury" someone before this gets out of hand... No pun intended.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

For the people that say there "isn't enough time in 1/2 hour" you're all wrong. Most of the people I knew, including myself, went off campus every day. It also was a 35 min period...if I remember right, and that extra 5 min helped. We all made it back on time. They don't need to save the kids from themselves. They haven't had to "bury a kid racing back from lunch." I mean honestly, are they then going to take away licenses from the students who drive to school and park off campus because they may get hit by a car in the street? Or if they're late in the morning they may have to bury a kid who is racing to school to make it on time. I guess they should all ride buses too. Open lunch was great, and this is just another instance of adults trying to control the kids when they don't need to. Give the kids a break.

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

You could easily extend the lunch session. On certain days these students get out at 2:30. They have seminars and all that stuff and get out early. Make them stay until 3 or 3:30 and then you can extend lunch like they have said above and the problem is solved.

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger: "I do think that even if you're staying on campus, half an hour isn't long enough to eat without wolfing down your food - which isn't healthy."

cough Don't wolf down your food kids, it's not healthy! Take your time choking down those super bacon cheeseburgers and greasy fries!

Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

When I was in high school, at first we had an open lunch period, and it was an hour. No problems with that.

Then they changed the rule, and we had a closed lunch period. They staggered everyone, so that lunch took up an hour and a half, there were three lunch groups, and each group got a half hour.

That was no big deal, either. Each one worked equally well from my viewpoint. But after the closed lunch started, the stores stopped complaining about groups of teenagers hanging around outside their doors, and the shoplifting rate went way down.

I think they started the closed lunch not for safety reasons, but because there were too many kids getting into trouble during that one hour.

And even with closed lunch, you had the option of either eating cafeteria food or bringing your own lunch.

Aiko 12 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely not! I feel that managing their time is good practice for the real world...

Aileen Dingus 12 years, 2 months ago

In another time and place, I attended a closed campus high school that had roughly 1200 students. Our lunch periods were staggered- 4th 5th and 6th periods were all lunches as well as regular classes, it just depended upon your schedule when you ate. They were 40 minutes long, just like regular classes. 400 students in 40 minutes isn't unreasonable, but 1200 in 30 is.

I think the district should be commended for making sure the students are involved in decision making, but I think anybody could have predicted the "no" vote from the student body in regards to closing campus. IMO- you don't ask the students. There are just some things that need to be done, whether or not they agree.

I think the school district would do well to implement a "stepped" closed campus- run out the rest of the school year with an open campus. Next year- sophomores stay on campus, juniors and seniors off. Next- sophomores and juniors on campus, seniors off. In three years, the campus would be closed. In order to achieve this though, there would need to be some restructuring of the school day to accommodate more than one lunch period.

Recent studies have shown that children and young adults are less likely to become obese, no matter of their socio-economic level, because of their access to decent nutrition through school lunches. The young woman profiled in the LJW article is a good example of what many (not all) students will do when given the opportunity to eat lunch off campus- Twizzlers and some chips, plus a frozen cappuccino. So sugar, carbs and caffeine. Not the fuel a growing, learning body needs to succeed. If students are presented with healthy choices and ONLY healthy choices at school, that is one meal a day where we can make sure they are getting what they need.

There are those who will say that the students need to learn to make their own choices- that if they want to eat garbage and fail out of school and become obese that's their choice. I disagree. I believe that it is the responsibility of the adults in the community to do whatever is possible to set the next generation on the right path, not only to nutritional health, but to lifelong learning. They're only kids for a short time, it is in everyone's best interest to help them grow healthy.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

actually, bankboy, some schools have had to "bury a kid racing back from lunch." It may not have happened in Lawrence, but it has happened elsewhere. Take a look at the link of a drive to close campuses in Arizona after a student's death during lunch hour.

I understand that there are risks to everything we do, and I certainly enjoyed getting off campus as a teen 200 years ago, but please don't pretend the dangers don't exist in order to make your case.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

I swear people, I've had all I can stand of the do gooders and the nosy nellies that are plaguing our society. The world isn't going to be happy unless we ban smoking, drinking, drugs, sugar, fat, fastfood, sharp objects, guns, open lunches, hip hop music, risque tv shows, sex in movies, hell sex period (cause you know, if you're having it, you're offending someone), freedom of thought, expression, art and religious beliefs and the honk for hemp guy. I mean come on! Why don't we wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and try not to move because for god's sake, think of the children!! Someone may be injured or upset or offended or truant. Holy crap! Someone's going to be truant.? I can't handle the thought. Really. Now, for the sake of the children, I think we should bar all of the doors, all of the windows, place metal detectors and breathalyzers at every entrance and exit in every public school. Why just high schools? We need to protect our 1st graders, too right? And to make things easier on this easily offended and disturbed society, we'll place snipers around the school yards so if anyone were to, I don't know, wave inappropriately we can just take 'em down. WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO WAVE, PEOPLE! KIDS ARE TRUANT ALL OVER THE CITY!

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm not saying that dangers don't exist. You're in danger every time you step outside. There could be some one waiting to jump you. When you drive, some drunk could broadside you whether it's the middle of the day or not. Some crack addict could have broken into your house while you were gone and still be there when you get home. Some other student with a gun could be at the school and start shooting people during lunch. I bet if we just chained the kids to their desks and dictated exactly what they were fed then they would be SO much more productive and happy and make great little socialists.

Dazie, have you seen the school food lately? It may have been great 50 years ago but 15 yrs ago it wasn't. It's disgusting. If I didn't go out for lunch, 1/2 the time I didn't eat because of how nasty the food is. I wasn't the only one that pulled that. As for the people who eat unhealthy off campus, look at what the students have for options on campus before making the assumption that they would eat better. I still have a younger sibling in the system and I've been back to go to lunch with them. The food is not healthy.

Point in case: Freedom of choice.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, but acg offended me by typing on all caps...

Aileen Dingus 12 years, 2 months ago

bankboy- Hey- I'm not THAT old! :)

You're making the assumption that school food can't change. I'm not saying keep the kids under lock and key and feed them Oliver Twist-ian gruel. Give them GOOD healthy choices. It can be done, it IS being done elsewhere. (Right off the top of my head I don't remember where, but I've read about it)

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

Even if LHS staggers lunch periods (which they will have to), is there still enough room in the cafeteria?

I had open lunch as a freshman in my high school because the school was close to downtown and the cafeteria was too small. Then the new high school was opened several miles away, and even though McD's and Wendys was close by to that school, lunch periods were closed for all. We have several choices for lunch. SOme students did leave campus and some got caught.

If the school board feels that open lunch periods are causing truancies, maybe it is time to end the open lunch periods. But that is for the school board and the schools to decide, not the DA

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

You can't 'present kids with healthy options and only healthy options' at school lunch unless you bar them from brown-bagging it. When I was in high school, we had more than one kid who stopped at the White Castle on the way to school, bought a dozen sliders, and kept them in a locker until lunch, when they ate them cold (I was always glad I didn't have the locker next to any of those guys). My 'healthy lunch' every day consisted of an apple, a fistful of cookies, and a Coke, all brought from home. Sometimes there were HoHos or Ding Dongs from the gas station on the way to school, sometimes a package of pretzels or those crackers with the artificial processed simulated cheez spread product.

You can teach kids about healthy choices, but past a certain age you have to trust them to start making them. My mom looked at me my sophomore year in high school and said, "I've had 15 years to teach you right from wrong and not to be an idiot. If you don't have it by now, you're not going to get it, so I'm just going to have to trust you're not being an idiot when I can't see you."

If you constantly force a specific set of healthy choices on children rigidly until they're out of your control, all you're doing is postponing until graduation the time when they'll go out and eat HoHos and frozen cappucino for lunch. You have to choose your battles and transition control gradually to the kids, or you're just raising a bunch of bubble babies who will crash and burn in the real world once the nervous nellies aren't around to nanny and coddle them.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

And that's great Dazie, I'm sorry I didn't mean that you would be about 70 I was just exaggerating to make the point. If I didn't have my money for lunch that day to go out half the time I didn't eat because the cafeteria food wasn't any good. Even if the food were to change, it is a nice break to get away from the school. Same goes for the working world. Isn't it nice to be able to go somewhere for lunch, even if it is just around the corner? My schedule has changed so that I now have an hour but up until about 7 months ago I only had 1/2 an hour. I had time to go out to the parking lot, drive somewhere, grab some food, drive back and park, and come in and eat my food. I was able to brave all the idiots that are out driving (most of them not students) and still make it back in one piece. You shouldn't punish all of the students because a few choose not to come back. Those who want to leave still will anyways. The school can't force them to stay. It was in another article. When they drop out and start working full-time at McDonalds (and I'm not talking about managing one of them either) hopefully they'll rethink their decision. If not, it's their choice to not get an education. You can't force some one to learn.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

White castle sounds good, I wish I had one nearby.

High school kids should be able to make their own decisions regarding what to eat. They also should be responsible enough to handle a car and go pick up some lunch.

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

I love White Castle. I used to work there. There used to be one at 87th and metcalf right next to king louie's. For most people you either love it or hate it. I love it. And white castles are the cleanest fast food kitchens arround.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Beatrice said:

"I think I just heard on the news that Dick Cheney had to purchase a $7 hunting license after shooting his friend. This brings up a couple of questions: Is that all it costs to hunt rich Repulicans these days? Is there a limit? If I don't live in Texas, can I get one anyway?"

Well, Vice President Cheney doesn't live in Texas, so you should be fine even if you're not a Texas resident. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's just a thug from Topeka who came to town here to start trouble. All those 'hip-hop' governmental types and their 'gats' coming to the pristine and crimeless state of Texas to start things.

You know, earlier in his term, while hunting in Texas, President Bush illegally shot and killed a migratory bird (not an endangered one, but sure not one in season). Cheney was off fly-fishing while New Orleans flooded. Now, he's shooting rare breeds (a wealthy Republican from AUSTIN? He's probably cut the population of those by 25%!) and hunting without a license.

You get the feeling that perhaps this Administration should call it quits on the outdoorsmanship...

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

LHS and Free State already DO have staggered lunch periods, from what I know (unless they've given those up in the last 8 years).

I went off campus regularly for lunch, never came back late enough times to remember.

However, the DA needs to get his facts straight when he says that we might lose a student in a car accident--that actually happened when I was a senior (in Lawrence), though I can't remember if he was going/coming from lunch, or at the end of the day.

Also, remember that any student who wants to skip class bad enough will do so with or without an open lunch.

Adding 10-15 minutes is not a bad idea, either...

james bush 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes, and students should be required to wear uniforms too.

muffaletta 12 years, 2 months ago

I never had problems going out to lunch at LHS. Some people want to control everything.

gabbygaberton 12 years, 2 months ago

Let's be realistic here. High school students are impulsive by nature, and if my child was attending LHS I would want a closed campus. If I am not around to know where my child is and I assume he/she is at school, that is where I want her/him to be. Unsupervised lunch periods with freedom to leave campus are unneccessary and encourage skipping. I know, I used to do it, and most of the time when I was skipping I was doing things (aside from just the skipping itself) that I shouldn't have been doing. Have Taco Bell open a kiosk in the cafeteria.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

"How ya gonna keep em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?"

I live between Naismith and Ousdahl Drives, believe me the kids do speed getting to and from school on their lunch break. When I attended LHS there was no option, you did not have permission to leave for lunch unless you were a senior. . . and yet . . . we did!! Open lunch is a reasonable request from students, it is the time allotted that is unreasonable. The 30 minute lunch is not to benefit students, it's for the teachers and administration.

NO, they should not get rid of open lunch (sorry blue, hope those caps weren't too offensive :) but they should extend the amount of time all students have for lunch. But just wait, the teachers and administrators will scream to high heaven if they are required to spend an extra half hour just so the students can have a reasonable amount of time to eat lunch.

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

Blue: That was pretty good. But have you seen the Daily Show coverage of the event? Funniest thing this year, in my humble opinion.

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

Note that it doesn't load in Firefox. At least not in MY Firefox, in case Linux Chick comes in on my for my computer ineptitude.

Matt Woodard 12 years, 2 months ago

Best thing to do is extend the lunch period to 1 hour and keep the "open" format. Give those kids that want to go out for lunch the time to do so without having to rush around town. There are enough crazies screaming around at lunch time, grabbing McNasty's, and blazing back to work without adding in a few hundred 16-18 yr olds in packed cars, horsing around with friends, eating, on the cell, smoking, and doing 60 to get back to school in 30 minutes. (factor in roundabouts and it's complete insanity!)
Guess most of that is true for the rest of the "adults" out there at lunch ... so, sure, release the hounds! Just give them time to socialize a bit and eat without the big rush.

lovenhaight 12 years, 2 months ago

I had open campus lunch in high school, and I don't think that it led to truancy or the fall of western civilization or anything else. Honestly, students who are going to skip class are going to skip class regardless of whether or not they get out for lunch. I do agree that the length of the lunch period is a problem. Tack on another 15 minutes, and make sure that the kids aren't speeding or choking down their food. If nutrition is the concern, give them enough time to go somewhere other than McDonalds.

corrienteroper 12 years, 2 months ago

Has anyone heard of touring other schools in the area, see what they are doing? I went to school at Gardner in the 80's. We had closed lunch, but before that, they had open lunches. I don't know the reasoning behind closing lunch though.

And as for school lunches, just what the heck does Lawrence schools serve? They are suppose to serve a type A lunch which consisits of 1 entree, 1 dairy, 1 fruit, and 1 vegetable, 1 bread and is mandated by the state, all for $1.90!! They have a Carb. Bar which is a baked potato bar, brocolli w/cheese, fruit cocktail, blue berry muffin. A Sandwhich Bar which is a hamburger, cheeseburger, hot ham and cheese, deli sandwich, spicey curley fries, and fruit cocktail. A Food Bar which Tony's pizza, shrimp poppers, mashed potatoes/gravy, brocolli/cheese, fruit cocktail, and bread sticks. A Breakfast Bar which a ham and cheese omlet, funnel cakes, egg and cheese biscuits, bagels w/cream cheese, breakfast burritos, waffles w/sausage patty, biscuit and gravy, donut holes, sausage patty, french toast sticks, pancake on a stick, and cinnamon roles. They also have cereal, pop tarts, nutrigrain bars, granola bars, and for $1.00 they can get a breakfast sausage pizza, a juice (orange, apple or grape), toast, fruit and a milk. Everyday they have available warm cookies (3 for $1.00), gatorade, bottled water, ice cream bars, and malt cups. This stuff is served EVERY DAY!!!!

Lunch period is from 11:35-1:30 (3 lunch periods). They serve 480-500 type A lunches everyday, but do over 1000 transactions everyday, which means the kids keep coming back into the kitchen for other stuff.

Therefore, having a closed lunch would not be any different than going to Taco Bell, or McDonald's or wherever else Lawrence students go. All the administration needs to do is go out and see what other schools do.

irnmadn88 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes, there is staggered lunch at is based on what department the students class is at the beginning of the lunch cycle. There are three lunch periods. (And it sucks to have third lunch!)

Tie that to the seminar days...if kids skip a class and seminar, they effectively can have 2-3 hour lunches if they choose to go back after "lunch."

I agree that freedom of choice is a powerful thing to have and is easily abused if opportunity presents. Our country allows driving at 16, voting at 18, and drinking at 21. Of those three which do you think a child is most informed about to make a decision? Which is the most abused? Which has the direst consquence?

Campus should be closed until the student is 18, at which point their judgment seems valued in this country. Until then they are a child (unless legally imancipated.) So, to reduce their opportunities to get into trouble as a result of poor choices sounds reasonable to me...

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

Jonas, I hadn't seen that yet, had only heard other people quote J. Stewart and his Cheney jokes (and we all know no one can do J. Stewart jokes like J. Stewart). Anyway, thanks so much for posting that link. I laughed so hard at that my sides hurt and I think I may have trickle peed a little.

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

acg: Glad to have been of service. Just remember: Quail: 1 America: 0

justthefacts 12 years, 2 months ago

My GUESS is that in seeking to come down harder on truancy, the DA has been told (by parents/kids looking to explain the truancy and/or escape prosecution) that part of the reason for truancy is the 30 minute lunch period.... Else why would he care or truly have a pony in this race?

I bet he's heard tons of defenses along the lines of "Well, I left to go to lunch, and it took longer b/c of traffic, so I just didn't come back....Do you want me to be truant, or have a wreck getting back in time?"

So, what say ye to the 30 minute lunch as an excuse for truancy?

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

My kids don't attend school in Lawrence, but for me it would be a matter of "do you know where your children are". I send my kids to school for the day, I go off to work and not have to worry about where they are, or if they would go back to school after lunch. So I say nix the open campus. I'm wondering what the main reason for leaving campus would be anyway? Better food, or just the attitude of "because I can". As far as the food goes, our small K-12 school serves "ok" lunches and are supposedly full of nutrition, there just isn't much of it. My grade school kids leave the lunch room still hungry most days! The food just isn't what it used to be!

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

The students shouldn't be under lock and key all of the time.


The food is awful. They leave for better food and also just for the chance to get away.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

How many ways can parents (you know they were behind this) trump up excuses for their children skipping school??

Q. Tell me dear, I will understand, did you skip because you were on . . . . . . drugs? A. No, I swear!

Q. Because you were . . . . drinking alcohol? A. No, I promise!

Q. Then why, why, why, would you do such a thing?
A. It wasn't my fault, I couldn't help myself, I was on . . . . . . . lunch break!!!!!

Solution: It's okay, it wasn't your fault. We'll put a stop to that temptation!!

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

I think the only way school lunches are a money maker is when students get "free" or "reduced price" lunches. The State makes up the difference. I bet they can make the books look real good that way too. Packing a lunch can be GREAT, but have you seen the price of fruit lately? Try sending an orange in your childs lunch every'll make ya want to take bankruptcy!

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

btw, omb, that was a lot of bandwidth you used in your 11:02 post, just watch it fella! (I've never really undertood that complaint, is there a standard width for a band? Doesn't it depend on the number of members in the band or the width of the street?) Seems like much ado about nothing to me.

guardBack 12 years, 2 months ago

Stupidest Idea ever. Kids can carpool, and often do. Being late also usually isn't a pretext for speeding when you're in high school, driving at all is.

Yes driving is dangerous. Danger is part of life. You want your kid to be free from danger, than don't have any. Or lock them in some dark basement room, that'll keep 'em safe.

I can't believe all you parents out there that think that letting kids go out for lunch is why they're truant as well. The kids who want to be in school go everyday. The kids that don't want to be there will leave whether they go out for lunch or not.

Get freaking grip people.

Um, and actually, education first. Learning to manage time effectively usually means being late a few times to learn the timing of routes. God forbid some kid is tardy, he might learn to plan better!

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

"Someone please answer for me;

What is the cost of lunch at the highschool? I doubt this is a big money maker for the school. Is it to "lame " to pack a lunch if you don't want the school food?

Safety first, and wow, they might learn something if they had to stay."-

1.) I dosn't matter the cost of lunch

2.) Lame to pack a lunch? Dosn't matter

safety first eh? I hope you don't ever have children or do. Safety is never a gurantee and closing the campus will make it no safer for your child during lunch than it is for them to drive ANYWHERE at any given point in time. Closing the campus does nothing for safety. All it will do is piss people off. Not just the kids.

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

hey thanks omb, i think i'll make one of those disciplinary loaves for supper tonight! ;)

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

What a lame question. We didn't see the phrase "get [a] freakin grip..." until 11:40.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

I was thinking that too Trinity. But I'm wondering in what isle of the grocery store one would find "rehydrated, canned, or frozen Textured Vegetable Protein". Mmmm, nummy! I can almost (not?) taste it.

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

Maybe you can find it in the dogfood isle.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

blue: I bow to your comedic genius. Well done, sir.

jonas: Thanks for the link. That is one of the funniest things I've seen them do, which is high praise.

omb: I noticed that gradstudent posted on a different story yesterday, just one day after calling us all idiots and promising not to return. Thought you might like to know.

Manson: "Closing the campus does nothing for safety." That simply is not true. Kids in other areas of the country have been killed in traffic accidents when driving -- sometimes racing -- during lunchtime. If the school had a closed campus, then this would not have happened in these instances. See my earlier link to such an incident. Closing the campus would do something for safety.

However, there are inherent dangers to life. When driving, those risks are elevated. I agree with you, and I don't feel campuses should be closed just for the issue of safety alone. I do feel that schools with an open campus, however, must take safety issues into consideration because they do indeed exist, even if we would like to pretend that they do not. Think of seatbelt laws. That is a reletively minor tweak for safety, rather than a complete overhaul like insisting everyone installs rollbars in their vehicle.

If extending the lunchtime -- giving kids more time away -- would provide the time necessary for kids to go home or elsewhere for lunch without having to race through town, then that is what should be done. I see that as a minor tweak to the system. If kids then stay away and skip classes, that is another issue. We don't want policy on lunches being made for all as a result of a few truants.

I had an hour as a junior, and planned my schedule to have two hours as a senior with wheels. I loved it, had great fun, and never once skipped an afternoon class.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

TVP is available in bulk at (where else?) The Merc.

Enjoy your disciplinary loaves, all!

emdeees 12 years, 2 months ago

You adults are all crazy and misinformed. I went to Free State last year, and as far as I know the lunches are STILL staggered, there is STILL a horrible policy of tardiness and absences, and the food is STILL good. The lunches are staggered into 30 minute periods over an hour and a half, and it is still exceptionally hard to find a place to sit. The line is always ridiculously long, and sometimes takes up to seven minutes, which really cuts into that thirty minute time block. Plus if you have to use the restroom before class, that's another five minutes. So we're looking at about 18 minutes to catch up with friends, eat, check out the boys, etc. For the kids that go off campus to eat, it takes about 4 minutes to locate their car, 5 minutes to drive to a restaurant, and 5 minutes to drive back. So that leaves sixteen minutes to order, wait for you food, and eat your food. The problem isn't open lunch at all; it's the amount of time for lunch. Good job LJworld for bringing up the lunch problem, now we can finally get some real eating and socializing time in there. And by the way, kids are going to eat crap wherever they are, so don't think that chaining them to their desks will prevent that. AND also, the cost of lunch is VERY high, considering one has to throw most of it away in order to make it back to class on time.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

I went to Lawrence High and ate out for lunch probably once per week... but, honestly: it's probably not a good policy to allow students to leave.

I'm a hopeless nerd, so I never skipped, but cramming 7 people in a little Honda and racing to Little Caesars just to wait in line for 20 minutes, get your food and leave simply doesn't work. Some students lost the motivation to go back, especially if they're running late anyway... which we almost always were.

... It was fun, though. Sigh ahh, high school.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

grade! I meant grade!!!

I don't want that pesky grad student all over my back.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

emdeees: some of us crazy adults have 30-minute lunches... just like you.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

oops. wrong thread. I'm going to rest now.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

I went to a school that didn't have an open lunch. I never felt that I just had to have a break at noon. I also never wasted time smoking weed or drinking. Those who don't value their educations should drop out, get their GED's, and work for the McDonald's that they frequent every day at lunch.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

That was my thoughts exactly linux_chick. I have a 30 minute lunch break. I just drove down Topeka Blvd., got a sammich at subway, exchanged a pair of black pumps at the shoe store for brown ones, stopped by Walgreens and got some formula and dog food, put gas in my car and got back to my office with a minute and a half to spare. What's the problem here? As a matter of fact, when I was at LHS, I had enough time with my 35 minute lunch to find my horrid 1972 green nova, pile in my friends, go to Taco Bell on 23rd, hit the drive thru, come back to school while eating in the car, go to pothead park and get stoned and still have time for a ciggy at the smoking area before the bell. You kids just have p**s poor time management skills.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

acg: well, I admit it was tight to leave and make it back in time when I was at LHS.

That said, even in high school, I knew that a request to lengthen lunch periods with an I-can't-make-it-back-from-Taco-Bell-on-time-for-class excuse would fly about as far as I could toss my father's bowling ball.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I guess I see this as just a little bit of a non-issue. I don't disagree one bit with the idea of lengthening lunch breaks, but at the same time, as someone with a half-hour lunch break (I work 7:00-3:30), I also fail to see how this is really terribly important. Were they to close the campus, the students who used to enjoy the open lunch would probably be pretty irritated for a while, but given time, I doubt there would be much furor over closed lunches. But I also see no substantial reason to change current policy; it sounds like certain individuals are trying to portend disaster in order to needlessly change policy.

And let me say again, I think a longer lunch break might be good. An hour might be a bit long, but 45 minutes would be worthwhile. I know I would prefer to have more than half an hour -- but I don't need it.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Wait, does early-twenties constitute me being in the "crazy adult" category or the "kid"? I'm confused.

Didn't emd say he/she was graduated from hs?

...LC is having an identity crisis. :(

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Hmm... personally, I think the "lengthen the lunch hour" idea should be put to rest.

If we thought there was a problem with students not coming back to school after lunch with a 30-min period, just wait. Stretch it to an hour and watch the figures double, like magic.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Thanks, TOB for the much needed reality check. ;)

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with TOB -- after spending yesterday evening photographing high school volleyball, any age starting with 2 is old. Every time I photograph a high school sport, I feel older, and I'm only 24.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Back in My day...they had open lunch in our HS of about 2000 kids but did away w/ it because it was creating too many problems. They then went to many different lunch shifts for the students at 20 minutes each. We had a cafeteria line, a salad line, and a "brown bag" line. (The "brown bag" was a cold lunch made by the school.) You just chose a line depending on the length and how much time you thought you had. We always had the option of bringing a lunch, of course, but I remember many days when I just went hungry because I couldn't make it through the line in time to eat. I can honestly say that I would not want my child to leave campus but I wouldn't want them to go hungry, either. Good luck with this one!

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

I think my lunch was 30 minutes, but I preferred to smoke instead of eat up until about 2 years ago. When I had open lunch, I would just save my money (my parents gave me $3 a day for lunch) and buy cigs instead. But then, I've always resented my body's need for food and sleep, so unless I have someone around to constantly natter at me, I rarely do either.

LC: I think that makes you a kidult. And if I read it right, Emdeees (shouldn't we give them a first name like Cuethree so it would be horribly dorky like Star Wars Q3MD's?) said that they went last year, making them a first year alum.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about the cops -- my actions are sanctioned by the local newspaper's sports editorials! Phew. Otherwise I'd really be in trouble.

emdeees 12 years, 2 months ago

Ok, let's see...linux_chick, I am graduated from high school, so I guess in a sense that puts me in the adult category, but I still sympathize with the high schools (yes, they DO have poor time management skills, acg, but how can that be changed?). I have read many of the posts, blue73harley, and I didn't say that nobody was amped for longer lunches, I just said that I definitely was. The "crazy" in crazy adults was rooted in the fact that it's ok to be crazy, how else are you going to navigate all the roundabouts? The misinformed was rooted in the fact that many posters didn't know that the lunch periods are staggered, and the staggering isn't helping matters. This topic really riles me up because lunch was one of the worst organized event of the day. So much time is wasted in class, with the teacher not teaching and the students tending to their own personal business, that five minutes could easily be shaved off of each class and applied to lunch. If it's decided to close lunch, they must, i repeat MUST, decrease the price of lunch. A main dish, three sides and a two ounce beverage does not need to cost 2 dollars and twenty five cents.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

Editorials? I'm really on top of it today. I meant editor. He hasn't written any editorials about me, as far as I know.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Emdeees, Where else are you going to get a main dish, three sides and a beverage (I think you jest about 2 oz.) for $2.25? Certainly not at Taco Bell.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Mickey Dee's 99 cent yogurt parfait or Wendy's 99 cent bowl of chili are going to be about the best you can do. (If we factor in nutrition.)

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

It made no difference to me when I was at LHS, but, the problem is that if students want pizza for instance, that costs MORE than a value meal they could get at McDonalds. The only problem with open lunch is there is NOT enough time to get the lunch & get back to the high schools. Now, at LHS, that is the problem. Free State students have NO excuse for being late back to class.

Manson 12 years, 2 months ago

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rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

Let me clarify, a piece of pizza that Pizza Hut would offer at LHS is OVER PRICED, & that is WITH a drink. Sandwiches with fries & a drink is what, $3.50 at McDonalds? If I am wrong, please tell me what I am missing.

emdeees 12 years, 2 months ago

TOB- they probably will let you eat there, just go through the line right when first lunch starts, and be sure to pay with cash. If you get questioned, just say that you're there to visit your mentoree. IF they closed lunch, they would be taking away a lot of options from students, and thanks to capitalism, I'm sure they would jack up the price even more. But you parents are the ones that are paying for these lunches, so you should know what you're paying for. After eating the small $2.25 lunch, the students all say "I'm still hungry" (If I had a dollar for every time I'd heard that, I wouldn't have so many student loans), so then they go up to the snack shack and buy little donuts, chips, candy, sugar water, and tons and tons of cookies. It adds up, I tell you. And nothing in the snack shack holds much nutritional value. Last year a nice cafeteria lady told me that they may soon be offering sandwhiches and healthy alternatives in vending machines, which would be an option to the cafeteria line and wouldn't be an overall bad idea. But I have yet to see that happen.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Umm... make a sandwhich? I wish I paid < $2.25 for my lunches.

At LHS, I usually packed a lunch.

Emdeees, you were seriously talking about roundabouts? That's random. I think you will fit in well with the rest of us crazies here on the board.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

l_c: "If we thought there was a problem with students not coming back to school after lunch with a 30-min period, just wait. Stretch it to an hour and watch the figures double, like magic." And just think, during those extra-long lunches, those same students can take the opportunity to observe the fast food workers at the restaurants they visit in preparation for the McJobs they will be suited to fill as adults. We shouldn't "punish" all because of a few people are skipping classes.

I am fortunate because I take lunch when I need it, for as long as I need to take. It usually is 30 minutes or less, especially when I brown bag it. I have been known to take 2 + hour lunches as well -- especially since the only way to enjoy popcorn and a coke for lunch is while seated in a darkened movie theater. One of the joys of a career provided by many years of college.

When does one become an adult? -- My working-class roots tell me that you are an adult when you move out of the parental units' house, live on your own, and when things get tough you do without rather than ask the folks for financial help. If you are living in a dorm and the folks are paying for your way through college, that doesn't count.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

beatrice: I actually am in agreement with you nearly 100%. This is why I gave a pre-cursor to my lengthening lunch hour statement: "IF we were worried...".

I am not always, but usually in agreement with not taking privileges away from the whole because some abuse them...

That said, I know that I had staggeringly-good attendance in high school... and an hour-lunch period would be difficult even for me. It's a fact, whether this is ultimately a deal-breaker or not: if we make lunch periods an hour, school attendance will suffer... and not just a little bit.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago


I don't think it needs to be an hour, but even an extra ten minutes could make a big difference.

When I was in high school, even with my minimal lunch, I still had to snarf it down pretty fast if my plan was: go to locker to get lunch, head to cafeteria (if it was bad outside) or outside (if it was nice outside), find seat, eat lunch, go to bathroom, walk back to class. I usually ended up with about 8 minutes to actually eat - unless I needed to do anything I couldn't get done in the eight minutes between classes, like stop by and ask my counselor for a scholarship form or ask my English teacher a question about the next day's assignment. Heaven forfend I had to stand in line because I didn't bring my lunch from home. Those were days I didn't even have time to sit down, just carried my tray over to the trash, ate what I could in two or three minutes, and dumped the rest - or hoped no one caught me finishing the last of my fruit or hamburger as I walked back to class. My high school had about 1300 kids on five staggered lunches.

I was serious about the 'not wolfing food' thing. It's a really bad habit to have, and a really bad one to instill in kids. If you eat too quickly, not only do you risk feeling bad and belching your way through the next class, but you also don't develop the habit of stopping when you start to feel full. By the time your body has started to respond to the food you're putting into it, you've jammed an entire Super-Size Value Meal down your throat, which is probably way more food than you really needed.

It took me several years to unlearn that habit, and once I did I found that I ate a lot less, without ever feeling like I was starving myself.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Agreed, badger. 10 minutes would probably make a big difference and sounds like a reasonable idea.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I wish I were a professional photog for a prestigious local paper. It's hard to find a prestigious paper that hires professional photogs in a town of 6,000. Ah, well.

Anyway, extra lunch time to encourage slower eating might, as badger pointed out, solve the issue of students complaining of hunger after finishing lunch. Of course, getting students to eat slower is another matter; there's so much else to do with free time!

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I think Ottawa is more like 5,000. No, oddly enough, I'm in southeastern Michigan, in a small-but-growing-too-quickly town called Chelsea. But it's only about an hour's trip to Windsor for me.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

shh! we won't tell gs you're not from ks. ;)

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I did drive through Kansas once -- does that count?

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

Did you see the world's largest gopher?

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

Whoops, prarie dog, that's what I meant.

I think you are qualfied to use our bandwidth then.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger, Very good point about "wolfing" down food. My mother would simply have a fit when us 4 kids would sit down to a meal she had lovingly prepared and then we'd inhale it in less than 5 minutes. You know how many lectures we got on "it should take you as long to eat it as it did to prepare it?" She blamed the schools for not allowing enough time for us to eat and she was right. I'm finally over the "inhalation of food" but it took me years to undo that habit.

Emdeees, have you factored the cost of driving a car into your lunch out? That burger is costing more and more.

OMB, My hubby goes to eat lunch w/ the kiddies every now and then. Big boys get to have seconds! (And you don't even have to call ahead.) Tip: Go on chili day...the dessert is a big fat cinnamon roll!

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

tob: the whole "who is the old perv at lunch" thing was the first thought I had when I saw the suggestion of how to spend $2.25 for a meal. Very funny.

For your info, I don't go to the movies during work -- but I have been known to slip off for an extended lunch on occassion. There is a difference there, no matter how subtle that difference might be. Kind of like determining the definition of what "is" is. The key is that I never skip out when there is work to be done, and I often do work at home on my own time.

Of recent films, I recommend the French thriller Cache, with Juliette Binoche. Really well done, with a steady buildup. Rather Hitchcock like in many regards. Felecity Huffman is fantastic in Transamerica, with several very funny moments, but overall it isn't fantastic -- just good. I've not yet seen Brokeback Mountain, but I understand it too is a gay old time.

If you haven't yet, go see King Kong on the big screen. Much better than expected! I'll be damned if I didn't get choked up at the end. What a wimp. I recommend that if you need to take a potty break, do so during the dinosaur chase/fight scene. It drags on too long, and is fairly silly. The scenes of New York at the beginning and end of the film are particularly enjoyable.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Food is bad anyway. We should all follow suit with Hollywood and become good little anorexics... you know, so us average people can finally learn how to be pretty.

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Don't feel bad, beatrice. I sobbed like a baby at King Kong, too. It was beyond embarassing and also (unfortunately) beyond my control.

jocoboy 12 years, 2 months ago

Well in defense of OTTR - just look at all the girls walking down Massachusetts St. with there guts hanging out from their t-shirts - made me think I was in Nebraska for a sec.....

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

Should we go back to the discussion of the fact that this country seems to see women's bodies as objects of desire?

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

Well, it's probably not the end of the world if ottr doesn't find the local high school girls appealing.

jocoboy 12 years, 2 months ago

...and what is wrong with that exactly?

linux_chick 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't think most girls mind men looking... as long as the latter is listening to what we're saying, too.

mom13 12 years, 2 months ago

Lunch time shouldn't be increased. It shouldn't be stopped either. When we had open lunch in '99 it was awesome. It's something to look forward to in your senior year. Most earn that and the bad ones should just lose the privilege. That's what happened at our school.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 2 months ago

Maybe if they improved the quality of the school's food then everyone wouldn't have to go eat somewhere else. I left everyday for lunch in high school (just a few years ago), even though we weren't supposed to starting my sophomore year because the school's food was so gross. They'd get Subway and Pizza Hut brought in, but it was so stale and unhealthy we'd just go up the street to Mr. Goodcents or even home to eat. I think I got caught once or twice, but we never got punished. I'd almost always come back to school once I got to eat. If kids want to skip class, they'll do it regardless of open lunch.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 2 months ago

I also wanted to add after reading other posts that 30 minutes does give you enough time to leave school and drive across the street to McDonald's or whatever, but at my high school (which was the same size as Lawrence's, and had 3 separate lunch times of 30 minutes each) we had to wait 25 minutes in line just to get the food. Sometimes I wouldn't even have time to eat my food, and I'd have to wait till I got home to eat.

I think that if they stop allowing kids to go to open lunch then more of them will skip. High school kids are given so little freedom in school that they will take almost any opportunity to break a rule, just because it's a rule.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

bea: The Mr. and I always have great evenings! Due in no small part to my knowing just how to turn him on or if need be off :P

ImperatorTerrae 12 years, 2 months ago

As of last year, Free State, and I must assume, LHS both staggered the lunches in three 30 minutes periods.

Every Wednesday, a couple of friends and I went to the Chipotle next to HyVee and managed to make it back in time to eat the burritos, throw away the evidence, and return to Calculus.

In addition, the food in the cafetaria was nasty: the Pizza was greasy enough to turn notebook paper clear. And you had to use twelve napkins to remove the grease from the pizza.

I know several people who skipped class. All of them graduated with a 3.0 or higher. Conclusion: with the stupid classes they required students to take, it's better for the student to skip. Also, all of the students that skipped, returned for lunch.

angel4dennis 12 years, 2 months ago

For what is it worth, I don't find it necessary for the kids to have an open lunch. Extend the time, build snack shacks or food stations at the school. There are millions of children going to school in other areas of the world besides Lawrence KS that have no open lunch periods. In fact, Lawrence is the only place I have heard of recently that has this. Aren't the schools getting paid so much per day per student? Does that include the lunches? I would hate to think that a school is getting a per diem income on students who do not attend a complete (no open lunch period) everyday.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Cea: good for you, girl, good for you.

gccs14r 12 years, 2 months ago

The alternative to either open or closed lunch is to leave lunch open, but close the parking lot. The kids would be free to leave, but they couldn't take their cars.

I can walk the half-mile from work to downtown, have a sit-down lunch, and walk the half-mile back in half an hour. Surely a bunch of LHS kids can walk to 23rd & Louisiana and back in the same time period. FSHS is a little different, because it has such a deep setback from 6th street, but the kids should be able to make it to and from most of the places near the intersection in the time allotted.

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