Open lunch is something every student wants. When I was a kid, my brother praised about how great it was, and how exciting open lunch will be. Now that sweet luxury is gone, and students don’t know why. Having all of these restaurants nearby, from Sonic to Quick Trip, there are many places to get food, so I don’t see why we don’t have open lunch.
Turns out my brother’s high hopes of open lunch were also disappointed, because the upperclassmen lied to him. Jenks lost it’s open lunch during the fall of 1994, so over 20 years ago. When I asked the Principle of Building 5, Eric Fox, he told me the story of what happened to Jenk’s open campus lunch policy.
“But here is how it all went down. We had open campus lunch at that time. Near East Central High School in Tulsa there was a Wendy’s. At this Wendy’s there was an armed robbery that took place during the lunch hour. There were some East Central students that were shot and injured, not critically, but they were injured and shot. That very next day, every district in the area closed their campuses, for lunch.”
After the changing of policies, some restaurant owners and managers were happy to get rid of the high school student clients.
“Mr. Means, who’s no longer here, would share that there were local businesses that were glad that we closed our campus,” says Fox. “Because, of local information that he had received, there were restaurant owners that didn’t want high schoolers to come because it was chasing away their adult customers away. Maybe the perception was that local adults didn’t want to go to this place because it will be crowded by a bunch of high school kids or maybe the managers felt they left a lot of trash, that sort of thing. Again, I didn’t hear those reports myself, that’s just what he used to share.”
Now with the surrounding schools, like Union, opening up their campuses for lunch, students want to know, ‘When will it be our turn?’ There hasn’t been any big discussion about bringing back our open lunch, only from students.
“I think our school board is very responsive to student input and staff input,” says Fox. “I had an interview yesterday about dress code. The dress code has evolved and changed. In fact I would say it has changed a great deal since you first entered secondary, 7th grade. From where it was in the middle school to where it is now the dress code policy, the hair policy, the piercings stuff has changed. I think that’s because our board is responsive to what they hear.”
Seeing that our dress code has changed so much over the years, there is still hope for the change in our open campus policy.
“So I would say, even though we have a closed campus our board takes student, staff, and community input seriously,” says Fox. “So this is just one of those policies that I know they review on an annual basis.”
Make sure you speak up, and let your ideas and opinions be heard to the school board. They do listen to student input, we just have to be patient and wait.
By Ashley Johnsen