Bring back open campus

Story by Maddie Gerrald

In the early ‘60s and ‘70s Texas High had something that us as students have never experienced: open campus.

Open campus has many benefits to students, which can improve their overall performance in the classroom. However, faced with short lunch periods and caution of car accidents, open campus is something students haven’t seen for a while.

Leaving campus would be convenient for students because they can eat the food of their choosing. We eat the same meals every day, either brought from home or in the cafeteria. Also, we would be able to have more filling foods which would make students more willing to work in their later class periods.

Open campus also encourages and reflects responsibility. Allowing kids to handle their own time-management by having to know when to be back and what they have time for, encourages them to be more mature. This prepares them for college and the real-world where they won’t have parents or teachers controlling them. Because the majority of freshmen and sophomores can’t drive, this opportunity should only be open to upperclassmen. This will make it safer for drivers and keeps the majority of students at school.

Students could also run important errands during lunch instead of missing important class time. Kids could schedule doctor appointments or dentist visits at lunch instead of having to miss school hours during the day.

Arkansas High School has open campus days where they allow kids to go off campus for an hour to an hour and a half on fridays, as a compromise to the kids. Students with good grades and stable attendance records are granted permission to go and eat. This encourages these kids to make good grades and to come to school.  

So why did Texas High take away open campus?

The school had originally ended open campus to try and make the student’s safety a first priority by restricting leaving at lunchtime. Though it can be dangerous for students to leave the campus during the day, many of the issues schools have problems with can be avoided by allowing certain days for open campus with longer lunch periods. This way, kids won’t be rushing back and can take their time while driving.

It’s understood why parents and the school would worry because of daytime traffic and “distracted” driving with friends in the car. But as drivers, we make it to the school safe every morning and leave every afternoon in busy traffic, so really there’s no difference with leaving at lunchtime.

Students could also get lunch and bring it back to campus to eat. The school could improve the outside eating area, and then kids wouldn’t be off campus for as long.   
This issue is something students can universally agree on. Going off campus for lunch will make us happier and more willing to be involved and participate in school activities. Forcing students to have a short lunch period with limited freedoms can have negative effects that could easily be avoided. As students, all we’re asking is for the privilege of being able to get our lunchtime fast-food fix and that is not a crime.