Student Opinions on Off Campus Lunches in Quakertown High school


Elizabeth Glenn, Editor

All across the country, high schools allow for the opportunity for students to leave campus during their lunchtime to eat lunch, or spend their free time at their preferred location. A lot of students existing within the community of these schools have varying degrees of freedom to come and go as they please. Places like Oakland High school, Mamaroneck High school, Bethesda- Chevy Chase High school, all in the US, allow and permit their student body to choose where they spend their free periods and their lunches. If students do not follow the rules associated with this freedom, it is taken away from them. 

If Quakertown High school were to participate in this program, it would likely not be a free-for-all for the students of the school. In order to ensure that students come back, and continue to keep their grades up while skipping pride, there is a probability that only students with A’s and B’s would be able to leave campus for lunch. This will not only reward hard-working students, but motivate others to get their grades up to engage with this program. 

As of right now, Quakertown High school does not offer any programs of these sorts to its students. Although it is often talked about within the student body, the district has not taken any steps forward in order to move forward with this change. 

PawPrints sent out a survey through the high school asking students’ opinions on everything involving school lunches and off-campus pride/lunch exemptions. A total of almost 200 students participated in the survey, and a grand total of 98% of them claim they would love the chance to eat off school grounds. We started off by collecting data on the number of students that would be a part of the “A and B” group. 62% responded by saying that their lowest grade is nothing below a B, and they would indeed be able to take part in the off-campus project. Of the 38% who had lower grades, 86% said that this opportunity would be a motivation to get their grades up in order to share in the freedoms. 

Some of the reasons that students may want to leave campus for lunch include, mentioned in the survey, the convenient location, desire for a specific type of food, breaks from the school environment, more comfortable eating/ less people, vegetarian options, spending time with friends not seen in school, and the taste of the food. When asked their opinions on school lunches in general, the students responded with, and not limited to, “School lunches most of the time are not enjoyable. Some of them are pretty messy. Plus numerous times I have seen mold and other disgusting things inside the fruits as well”

“Crowded and bad food.”

“The school lunches should have more vegetarian options. I’m sick of eating salads and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.”

“I think they’re alright but the school could save money by letting students eat elsewhere.”

“I can’t eat any of the lunches because of their taste/texture.”

“Not enough table space to sit with all your friends. And packing a lunch every night is annoying.”

Although a lot of students do not have an issue with the food itself, the environment plays a big factor into the reasons behind the desires to eat off campus. 

An obvious concern going forward with this program would be the issue of ensuring that the students would return to school. The immediate “solution” to this is the higher grade separation, although there can never be any certainty. We asked the students, “if you were allowed to leave school for the time period of pride and lunch, would you return to school?” 1.9% of people answered with “honestly, probably not.” While this number is small, it still needs to be considered before going into a decision that changes a big part of daily school life. In turn, PawPrints decided to give the students a chance to create options on how we can make sure that they return after lunch. Some ideas were, “ISS or the suspension of being able to go out and get lunch.”

“Having to swipe in and out for off-campus lunches should be necessary.”

“Keeping a personal item as a reason for the student to return to school and take back their item, like house keys, computer, backpack, etc.”

If the students continued to not return to school, there would be consequences beyond losing the ability to leave campus. 

Aside from the benefits to students’ lives, this program could greatly impact the school itself. The student’s overall morality would be boosted, making them more energized to come to school. The school would not have to purchase so much food for their lunches, and that extra money could go into other needs, such as textbooks, supplies, events, etc. 

With a balance of freedom and responsibility, there are chances to develop respect between the school and its students. Freedom will teach them real-life skills as they begin to interact with bosses, colleagues, and their community. PawPrints thinks that, as long as there is a structure provided, the students will positively respond to this type of environment. Empowering students will open new doors toward better behavior, and more positive attitudes.