Students should not be able to leave for lunch

I love a good Cookout milkshake as much as the next guy, but leaving school to go get it is where I draw the line. Leaving campus to get food during school hours has been banned as long as I have been at Grady, and rightfully so. It brings safety risks to both those who leave and those who remain on campus; not to mention the temptation to skip the rest of the day after chowing down on your third Big Mac. As I see it, the policy doesn’t need to change.

Many argue that because the school lunch is so terrible, students should be allowed to go buy food from finer establishments, such as fan favorites Zaxby’s and Cookout. I agree that school lunches are not good and that improvements need to be made. But students are not leaving campus for healthier options like Metro Fresh or Kale Me Crazy. Students usually go to McDonald’s or Cookout because they provide cheap fast food, and they are broke, time-deprived students. These meals are generally worse for students than the food served in the cafeteria, offering little-to-no nutritional value. Because of this, the rule barring students from leaving campus not only promotes heart health, but saves them from potential obesity as well.

Back when my parents were in high school, they were allowed to leave school for lunch. However, my parents both grew up in small towns, the only thing of interest being the occasional crop circle. Living in Atlanta is different. With a metro area population of around five million, you never know who might follow you back to campus, especially with such delicious food in hand. Grady has had incidences of intruders on campus in the past, and having kids coming and going during the day will only make that problem exponentially more difficult to control. Leaving school for lunch would only bring unneeded risks to our student population.

Most of us don’t enjoy all the classes we take, and by the end of the day, there’s nothing we love more than going home. That temptation is amplified when the freedom is staring us right in the face. Many more students would skip class if they were actually granted permission to leave campus. No longer would mischievous students worry about an administrator thwarting their attempts of escape, because they would already be off school grounds.

And the truth of the matter is that students find a way to leave campus to get lunch whether the school allows it or not. The only way to stop kids from leaving school is to remove the desire of wanting to leave, or put up barbed wire. Neither of those are practical, so the best option is to have better school lunch. Perhaps’ if the school brought the restaurants that students like to school, students wouldn’t feel as strong of a desire to skip class.

Possibly the biggest reason why we are not allowed to leave is our liability while at school. If we get into a sticky situation, it’s on the school. It opens the school up to potential lawsuits, and that is a big no-no in Atlanta Public School’s book.

Leaving school for lunch is not the solution to the problem. The risks are too high for the reward. Having a steady flow of people coming and going from campus greatly increases the risk of a stranger entering campus. I can only see academic productivity dropping as kids will have more temptation to skip school once they have already left campus. And with all these hazards, Atlanta Public Schools would be creating a storm of liability and opening itself up to many potential lawsuits by letting us leave for lunch. All in all, I believe the rule to not let kids leave school to get lunch is valid.