In-Depth: Staff sees new lunch policy as new opportunity for student growth

Natalia Habas, Sectional Editor

The bell rings throughout the halls of Elk Grove High School, and students pile near Door 29 to finally head out for their only break throughout the day: lunch.

As they attempt to head out through the doors for off-campus lunch, students scan their IDs. Unfortunately, some students run into an issue. They are no longer allowed off-campus for lunch.

“Our sincere hope is that students really improve academically and better themselves, using the [off-campus] policy as an incentive,” Principal Paul Kelly said regarding this change.

The Township High School District 214 Board of Education and administration have implemented another security change across the six-school district: a new lunch policy.

Starting the second semester of the school year, leaving off-campus for lunch will become a privilege only achieved through a variety of criteria.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors eligible for off-campus lunch have to meet the following qualifications in order to leave:

– Earn at least a 2.8 grade-point-average during the previous semester

– No F’s on a previous report card

– No out of school suspensions from the previous semester

– A parental permission form for off-campus lunch on file

Since off-campus lunch permission is qualified as a privilege, it may be denied by a parent, guardian or administrator. Permission for off campus lunch may be revoked if a student does not meet grade expectations, attendance problems due to off-campus lunch, presence at another school without permission while off-campus, poor academic performance requiring instructional assistance, negative behavior, discipline and/or attendance incidents (tardies, cuts, truancy, etc.) 

District 214 administrators decided to put the policy into place to increase safety and motivate students to work towards earning a 2.8 GPA, a qualification that students are considered “college ready.”

“A lot of kids are frustrated, but it’s definitely a motivating factor to go to lunch,” Elk Grove High School security guard Rip Van Sky said.

Elk Grove Principal Paul Kelly echoed this motivating sentiment.

“I’m in support of it overall because I’m looking at it as an incentive and the students can use the motivation to be as successful as they can possibly be,”  Kelly said.

In addition to this policy, District 214 schools including Elk Grove have installed a new system for entering and exiting the building equipped ID scanners. This process began Tuesday, Jan. 22.

“They will say what kind of grade point average you have, it’ll let you know if you’re not allowed to go out because you don’t have the grades or you didn’t get the OK from your parents or you had an F or suspension,” Elk Grove security guard Rod Dabe said.

District 214 plans on sticking with the new lunch policy to continue increasing security and motivating students to work towards grades. Grades that are earned second semester will carry into the 2019-2020 school year to determine if students are allowed off-campus lunch next year’s first semester.