Open Safety: the Future of Open Lunch at Kennedy

Liz Shanahan, Staff Reporter

Kennedy High School used to have open lunch, where students could leave campus for lunch, but that program has since ended. The reasoning behind this decision has not always been clear–oftentimes, all students hear is that not allowing open lunch is for “student safety.”

The Student Government Association (SGA) is able to submit one request a year for open lunch and provide the guidelines for such a policy to make a return. This would require the SGA to petition the principal with information on three fronts: the school’s proximity to restaurants, time available during lunch for students to travel and eat, and the means for protecting students travelling while also ensuring the community around Kennedy is not disturbed.

All three of these are subjective, and the process accounts for this by requiring there to be a committee, decreasing any personal bias. However, out of these three requirements, the most important is the third, as it focuses on student safety. While many may argue that students can drive safely, and that it is therefore safe for students to leave campus for lunch, Kennedy Principal Dr. Rubens said that “The decision…it is about student safety. We had an accident out there [the intersection in front of Kennedy] about two weeks ago.”

Kennedy’s location, even with its proximity to restaurants, is not a location where open lunch is still considered viable primarily because of the frequency of accidents on nearby roads.

Throughout the interview with Dr. Rubens on the matter, two things were stressed: safety, and the administration’s reasoning for their caution. Countless students have been injured through no fault of their own. “As recently as last summer we had a student walking across the street… was struck in the crosswalk [while] the student had the right of way, the light was red, and the person [driving the car] was on their phone.”