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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