Lunch crunch needs to change

Nov. 8, 2002, midnight | By Rachel Yood | 19 years, 6 months ago

Sophomore Peter Lee has been sitting near the auditorium—as far away from the SAC as possible—at lunch every day since the second half of his freshman year. He sums up the problems that, during any given lunch period, send Blazers spilling out of the SAC and into the halls, filling the benches along Blair Blvd and, in many cases, the floors: "The cafeteria is overcrowded and loud, and there are too many food fights," Lee says. This crowding has grown so severe that a full third of the period can easily be passed simply waiting in line to buy lunch.

In an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students conducted on Blair Blvd on Oct 16, 65 percent of Blazers sitting in the hall said they were doing so because of excessive noise and crowding in the SAC.

The Code Blue conditions that were present in October further aggravated the problem by forcing more students indoors and closing off the outdoor lunch line. The added crowding gave us a picture of the situation we can expect with the onset of winter. As cold weather drives more Blazers into our already crowded lunch space, measure ought to be taken to address our lunchtime woes.
With our burgeoning student population, the most reasonable decision would be to model our schedule after that of several other area high schools and introduce a third lunch period.

A schedule with three lunch periods would hold first period for 45 minutes daily, as Blair currently does with periods 5A and 5B, then break fourth and fifth periods into three groups that alternate class and lunch.

Such a change would actually benefit many students who have difficulty concentrating during a block class. Furthermore, it would reduce the number of students who skip class to go to lunch, as an unexcused absence in a block class is a considerably stronger deterrent than is one in a 45-minute class.

Short of rearranging everyone's schedule, a few immediate changes should be made to address our problems. Blair's administration ought to shorten the lunch lines by offering a few more entree-like items at the school store, which currently sells only snack foods and drinks but has a much shorter wait. The administration should also allow students to eat lunch on the floors of Blair Blvd. The current rule, which disallows school lunches past the elevator, essentially forces students either to endure the most crowded areas or to eat vending machine candy for lunch.

At the very least, we, the students, can do more to make the best of a bad situation. The common practice of cutting into line only worsens the problem. No one enjoys standing in a ten-minute line for a bagel, but no one deserves to wait longer while a few people push their way to the front, either.

Blair's administration needs to take decisive steps to ease lunchtime crowding. Until then, Blazers should show each other the respect we all deserve.

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Rachel Yood. Rachel Yood is a junior in the Communication Arts Program at Blair. She is excited to join Silver Chips as a page editor, but suspicious of the time the newspaper seems to take from her primary activity: sleeping. When not working or curled up in … More »

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