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The Off Campus Lunch Debate

February 10, 2017

Off Campus Lunch Should Not Be Allowed

A long time ago Jesuit seniors had the privilege of traveling off campus during lunch periods. It was a privilege granted to seniors by the administration knowing that there would be no way that we would abuse the privilege. A privilege, that however much I would enjoy, doesn’t make sense right now for many reasons.


The notion of leaving campus during lunch is not new to Jesuit. Many years ago (probably before Miles could read) Jesuit Seniors enjoyed the privilege of off-campus lunch. This privilege, however coveted, was abused by the seniors. Seniors would begin to compete with each other to see how far away one could drive in a single period, often resulting in speeding and most probably crashes. This was not appreciated by the administration. The senior class was warned and ultimately, that class ruined it for future classes to come. For the administration to reinstate this policy the senior classes would need to start showing more respect for the rules of the school.


Another question one needs to tackle is where would seniors go for lunch? When the policy was in place there were more food options readily available for seniors. Before it was the headquarters for the sad excuse Tampa calls an NFL team, (Is this too edgy?), One Buc Place used to be a shopping mall with a food court. Their seniors had easy access to a shopping mall that was close by with a variety of options. Today Panera tops the list of nearby quality restaurants. Ultimately Jesuit seniors would be forced to drive further away for good food, resulting in them being late to class if they didn’t properly manage their time.


Furthermore, the administration is working hard with the cafeteria to create a catering program that is more to the seniors liking. Personally, in my four years at Jesuit High School, I feel as if more thought, care, and effort is being put into the lunch program. More, healthier, and tastier options are being made available to the seniors. Hopefully in years to come the lunch program here at Jesuit will be the gold standard for cafeteria lunch programs.
Jesuit Seniors leaving the campus for lunch seems like an awesome concept. I would love to be able to drive off campus to get lunch, however, the senior class doesn’t need it, nor shows the responsibility to handle it. I am a firm believer in Ezekiel 18:20 “20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”

— Ezekiel 18:20

However, as of right now, granting this privilege to seniors does not seem practical.

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Off campus lunch should be allowed

Okay, I completely understand why seniors were banned from leaving campus during lunch. I completely get it. Yes, we shouldn’t have competitions to see who can drive the furthest and back within 50 minutes. Irresponsible, dangerous, whatever, yes that’s a valid reason to not allow seniors off campus during their lunch period. With that being said…

That happened YEARS ago. That was clearly an irresponsible class that had no respect for safety or privileges. This class is clearly the opposite. How do I know that?

Well, I don’t. But everyone deserves a second chance, right?

I truly, genuinely believe that if our class was given the chance to go off campus for lunch, say exactly where they’re going, and arrive back at school before the period ends, we would be responsible students and not wrap ourselves and our cars around a tree.

Sure, the cafeteria has made modest improvements to the menu and food overall. Yes, we should appreciate their work to make us happier about the food we’re eating on a daily basis. But we should still be able to say “Oh well I don’t want burger pizza or I want chocolate ice cream,” and it’s perfectly logical to be allowed to buy our own lunch from a restaurant of our choosing!

Let’s think about it.

In less than a year, in only a few months, we’re going to have complete freedom to do whatever we want. We can go wherever we want for lunch every. single. day. What’s really changing between now and then? If the school expects us to be responsible adults in only a few months, why can’t we be trusted with adult responsibilities today?

Sure, the school doesn’t want to be liable for all the students leaving in the middle of the day. But if we sign out of school (leaving the school’s responsibility blanket), and agree to be responsible for ourselves, the school isn’t accountable for anything that happens. And if something stupid does happen, it should fall on the student, not the school.

Here’s another legitimate reason.

Aside from being dismissed from convocation first and not wearing ties, what privileges do seniors really have? Sure, we have priority over the younger grades and the advantages listed above. But it makes more sense to be given an even bigger, exclusive privilege. Don’t get me wrong, I love not wearing a tie every day, but being able to go off campus for lunch is an even better incentive to make it through all four years.

This leads me into my reasoning for why this is a realistic privilege which should be given:

In order to be allowed to leave campus for lunch, you can’t do or have done anything really stupid. By senior year, you should have proven you have what it takes to be trusted with that much freedom. And if anything happens which clearly shows you shouldn’t drive off campus unsupervised, then you won’t be allowed to buy your own lunch off campus. Fair. Square.

The seniors win by having an envious, useful privilege. The school wins by encouraging students to make smart decisions. The Tampa restaurants win by reaping the profits of hungry Jesuit students.

Your move, Jack Henry.

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