Principal and Student Senate Meet to Discuss Open Campus at Benicia High School

High school staff is hoping to have recommendation to school board before winter break.

On Wednesday, November 6, Benicia High’s new principal, Damon Wright, met with members of the student senate to discuss the pros and cons of closing the campus at lunch time.

“I don’t think many of them want the campus closed,” said Wright two days after the meeting.

The students mentioned a number of areas where they have concerns regarding a closed campus.

  • Crowding on campus due to a higher number of kids;
  • Whether there is enough supervisorial staff on hand to handle the extra students;
  • If there will there be adequate time to feed everyone who wants to buy their lunch on campus;
  • Concern about where students go on rainy days;
  • The adequacy of food choices for students at campus eateries.

There are some pluses if the open campus policy is changed. “Students understand that there will be more student involvement in school-wide activities if they’re on campus,” said Wright.

Closing the campus will also address some of the safety concerns that have been brought up by parents and teachers.  The issue most often noted is students in a hurry to get their lunches sometimes are seen driving away from campus and not obeying all traffic laws. 

Another positive outcome would be a reduction in what Wright refers to as “inappropriate activities whether it’s drug use or alcohol use.”  In his short tenure at Benicia High School Wright hasn’t seen an instance of kids abusing alcohol at lunch.  “I would say historically with an open campus, I’m sure it’s happened at some point,” said Wright who pointed out that the Healthy Kids report seemed to support the notion that marijuana use is far more prevalent than alcohol use. 

The next step in the process is an open meeting at the preforming arts center scheduled for Thursda, November 15 at 6 p.m. in Room L-2.   The meeting is meant as an opportunity for neighbors of Benicia High School and the businesses that feed kids who leave campus to address comments to school administrators.  

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Joe Feltcher November 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The kids will leave campus regardless of the rules. When I went there it was closed for Freshman but we left everyday. Let the kids go out at lunch.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" November 13, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Work it out Mr. Wright and stick to what you think is the right thing to do for all. In other words, stick to you!!! Get it? You are the Principal so stick to your Principles and remember you are already Mr. Wright so you can't be Mr. Wrong!!(lol) "I will be here all school year"!!!
Karen LaRiviere November 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM
This issue is as much about student safety as it is about community safety. Our police department has limited staffing. If they are spending a huge amount of time from 12:30 -1:05 every school day dealing with kids who are driving crazy and other things that teens are apt to get into, that just means they are not available to the other citizens of Benicia; you know, the ones who actually pay the taxes!!. Several weeks ago there were 2 police cars on East 2nd Street dealing with a carload of high schoolers who had been pulled over. That means that there might be only 1 other car available to the rest of the town. I haven't heard of any reports of other communities having to deal with kids rebelling or claiming that they feel like "they are in prison" because of their closed campuses. It is an accepted, wide-spread policy with far more positives than negatives.
Annalissa February 25, 2013 at 12:18 AM
I do not understand why the whole of the school should be punished for a few students actions. I know i dont go off all that often but when i do it's because i need to get away from the people that i see every day. It's irritating to me that adults that have no idea what we go through every day, how stressed we are, or just simply how crowded it is, are the people that decide if the campus is closed or not. If the teachers get to leave i don't see why we shouldn't be able to leave.


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