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Open lunch privileges changed for 2009-10

High school students who want to leave campus for lunch must wait until they're juniors and earn the right by keeping their grades up, not being tardy and not getting in trouble.

A previously divided school board unanimously approved a school committee's recommendations that go into effect next fall. The new policy will be reviewed during that school year and altered if needed.

Manny Kenney and Dennis Behnke, two board members who had called for a closed campus where students couldn't leave, liked the compromise. Behnke said it was flexible and defined student accountability.

The new policy says:

  • Lunch will be closed for freshmen and sophomores. They must remain in the school at certain areas for lunch, such as the commons, locker bays, and front courtyard, and not eat or congregate in the parking lot or athletic fields.
  • Juniors and seniors who qualify for open lunch must have parental OK, be no more than a .5 credit behind for graduation requirements, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA, and have no suspendable violations or more than one discipline infraction from the past term.
  • Those with open lunch privileges can lose them if they have more than four tardies returning from lunch, take a non-qualifying student out for lunch, or commit a suspendable offense or more than one discipline violation.

Assistant High School Principal Kit Luedtke said the group that crafted the lunch policy went by five standards: Safety, responsibility, freedom of choice, age appropriateness and school district liability.

"We built everything off of that," Luedtke said.

"This seems like a reasonable proposal" board member Alan Tuchtenhagen said. "We'll be looking at it again next year to see how it unfolds."

Board member Barb Kolpin added that high school principals can "tweak" the policy on their own next school year to make sure it works to their satisfaction.

Principal Elaine Baumann suggested a progress report on the open/closed lunch policy could be made to the school board after the first semester in February 2010. The board accepted that idea.