Opinion: Fenton High should not have an open campus

Riann Masi, Writer

Lunch periods are the free time in a students’ days when they get to eat and socialize. Some high schools have an open campus lunch, meaning students may leave school property to go purchase food outside of the schools’ cafeteria options. High schools around the world participate in this open campus system, but this system can lead to many serious problems. 

When students are given the ability to leave campus, they are likely to head straight for the closest businesses on Owen Road, which are fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King. The first problem with these fast-food chains is that they do not give the same nutritional value as school cafeterias. Statistics show high school students in the past three years have been becoming increasingly more obese. 14.8% of high school students are categorized as obese with 15.6% categorized as  overweight. Though open campuses may not be a main cause of this issue, they can participate in students’ weight gain. 

The second problem with students flocking to these few fast-food chains is that they don’t have enough resources to provide for 1,200 students every day. With the opportunity for an open campus, a mass amount of kids would be going to eat at just five or six restaurants because they don’t have enough time to go to places further away. This would create issues not only for the students because they now have to wait in long lines with the worry of not getting back to school on time but it also creates problems for the community. Now non-high schoolers are having to deal with lots of kids overcrowding restaurants.

Also, if students are allowed to go home during this lunchtime break it can lead to them wanting to stay at home and not return to school. This can cause their grades to drop. Thus creating an even more stressful environment for the student. 

Another point of an argument against open campus is student-related accidents while off-campus. One example that occurred in November 2005 in New York, Smithtown West High School closed following the fatal car crash that killed three Smithtown West seniors. Leaving the school is endangering the lives of students just by getting into their cars and turning on to the main roads. These are a few reasons why I believe Fenton High School should not have an open campus policy for students.