Mia is a freshman and a first year journalism student. She enjoys acting and spending time with her friends and family. She aspires to become and teacher...
Out to Lunch
January 31, 2020
Students began the 2020 school year with welcome news–namely, that students would now have 30 minutes to eat lunch, broken up into three longer lunch periods, compared to four shorter lunches. Yet while the longer lunches may have been a hit with students, the enjoyment was not to last.
This semester that policy has been revoked. Under the new policy, students now have four 25-minute periods for lunch. There have been a multitude of possible reasons suggested for this change in lunch times, most involving the idea that the longer lunches resulted in an increase in fights and restlessness among some students.
The student community appears to have had mixed feelings about this change, although most students seem to agree that three lunches were the best option. For example, in a recent poll of 100 FCHS students, 99% said they preferred 30-minute lunches. According to the School Nutrition Association, the average lunch time for American high schools is 30 minutes. This places Fluvanna County High School well below the average national eating time for high school students.
Teacher and 8th Grade Dean Chad White, who has been working at Fluvanna public schools for 19 years, said that one of the reasons the school chose to end three longer lunches is that the large number of kids in each lunch could make it difficult to account for students in the case of an emergency. White noted that the lunch changes “were the best move for right now. It is something that could definitely be looked at again. We would just have to sit down and work some things out first.”
Dissatisfaction with the lunch changes has not been limited to students. Many teachers reported preferring longer lunches because it gave them more time to finish their lunches, make copies, and catch up on work. Having only twenty minutes (subtracting the time it takes to get students out of the room, as well as the time to get to the teacher’s lounge and back) to complete what they need to do can force teachers to have to prioritize activities, leaving them unprepared and hungry (or with a bad case of indigestion).
Junior Brennan Sebastian is an avid supporter of three lunches and is not afraid to voice his opinions. “[The change] directly affects me. I have less time to eat and socialize in the lunch I have. That’s pretty much the major thing, actually,” Sebastian said. He feels that the benefits of three longer lunches outweigh the costs, and suggests a longer time to eat could increase school morale.
Some students in favor of longer lunches have proposed returning to three lunches next year with a plan to decrease last semester’s problems. Some suggest adding more teachers to watch over lunches or having the students who tended to cause the fights to now eat lunch in ISS. “Just give us back the thirty minutes. I think it was a great system and what they should really do is have the school cop blow a whistle at the entrances to keep people from congesting there,” said Sebastian.
Whether such a change for next year is possible remains to be seen, but one thing seems certain: Students will probably always prefer more time at lunch rather than less.