Every day at lunch there’s an exodus of students, some in cars headed to fast food restaurants around town (some say to other cities) others walking to nearby parks. There are health and safety issues involving possible drug use and speeding cars as students try to beat the bell.
Today’s question (from a reader): Should Benicia High School go to a closed campus at lunch?
With the great work done by staff, and parents as well as the work of the Great Neighbor’s committees, we have a great cafeteria. A logical future step is to review the feasibility of closing the campus at lunch. I think we are one of the only open campuses in Solano County.
BUSD has the only high school in 40 miles that have an open campus. I think we have been very lucky to have not had any serious problems. I have seen BHS students walking in In & Out in Pinole at 12:30 and wondered how they are able to order their food and make it back safely to school by the bell. I know they also go to In & Out in Fairfield and Sonic in American Canyon, just to name a few. BUSD has the responsibility of keeping all students safe during school hours. I know the high school has been giving lunch detention for being late to class after lunch but have been told not all teachers are enforcing that. I know closing the campus has the support of the Benicia Police and many neighbors around the high school. I think we need to look into providing more lunchtime on campus activities (class competitions, music, special events, etc.). Continue improving the cafeteria / food, and then maybe students won’t want to leave.
The new food service at the High School is very successful. It offers a variety of healthy choices and a fun environment in the student center that enables different socializing opportunities that are well received by both students and staff. With this development, closing the high school campus during lunch seems more than workable. The concern was that all students could not be served in a timely schedule, but that problem, with current choices available, seems diminished.
A closed campus would also contribute to less truancy and has a potential for developing student focus on classes and school goals
I would like to see a compromise regarding this issue. Keeping students on campus for lunch would encourage a positive school community and decrease tardiness for fifth period, but it is clear that Benicia High School facilities cannot accommodate each student during lunchtime. By limiting whether students can go off campus by grade level and/or day of the week, we mitigate the issues posed by an open campus while keeping in mind the limitations of our facilities.