by Siobhan Richards
Under new leadership, the library is embracing a newly enforced policy — no lunches are allowed. This policy denies students who do not feel comfortable in the cafeteria access to their lunches during their designated lunch break, a problem that needs to be addressed.
Jes Caron, the new librarian, has been making changes to the library. While the policy of banning lunch is practical in keeping the library clean, it does not allow students to eat.
It has always been a school policy to not allow food anywhere but in the cafeteria and especially not in carpeted areas, such as classrooms or the library, but because it is open during lunch, students used to be able to bring food in and eat as long as they cleaned up and were not near the computers.
Now, the librarian has been strictly enforcing this policy and has even put up multiple signs and posters around the library.
The concerns over food in the library are valid, such as not allowing lunch near the computers due to risk of spilling, and it is also not in the librarian’s job description to clean up after students.
Small tidy snacks have been allowed thus far; however, students cannot be expected to eat a few snacks and call it lunch.
Nonetheless, students need a place to go if they are uncomfortable or intimidated by the loud and noisy cafeteria. The library is the only safe-haven for students at lunch time, and because of the lunch policy many students are sacrificing their health.
“Lunch is extremely important for high school students for a number of reasons. Students need to maintain their nutritional value throughout the day,” said Wellness teacher Wayne Page. “It’s not good to not eat for a significant portion of the day. A student needs breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as everything in between, especially for students at this age group of eighth to twelfth grade.”
As a teacher who also has lunch duty, Page understands the concerns of eating in the cafeteria saying, “I can see how some students would be a little intimidated by the number of kids that are in the cafeteria.”
He later added that there are lots of tables for students to choose from within the cafeteria, which also raises the concern of friend groups and cliques inside school. For some, the cafeteria is a struggle as students search for a group they fit in with in order to find a seat at a table.
There should be another room in the school that is available at lunchtime for students, and in the past, that place was the library. It is a nice and somewhat quiet area for students to do schoolwork, and there is a section of tables that could serve as lunch tables.
We should find a compromise on this issue.
Students should not be able to eat while at the computers to keep the school’s property clean as well as reserving resources for students. Those other tables, however, should be open for students to eat their lunch. Students who clean up after themselves pose no problem to the library or its staff.
The library should regulate food more strictly than the cafeteria does. For example, students should not bring soup or greasy foods to the library, but the average sandwich should not be a problem.
In terms of the clean up effort, students could clean those tables just as a group of students cleans the cafeteria tables every day.
Lunch should not be approached as all-or-nothing issue. That policy hurts the students that the library is supposed to help.