Open campus policy leads to controversy

Safety, construction results in closed campus for 2020-21 going forward


Kaia Myers

Seniors Hibo Salah and Zamzam Abdullahi walk back from McDonald’s during 3rd lunch. The open campus policy for the 2020-21 school year will be updated to no longer allow seniors to leave campus.

Isabel Kjaer and Marta Hill

After acknowledging that past seniors have been given more freedom, junior Evie Gutzke said seniors next year should be given the equal opportunity of having an open campus. 

“I think it is honestly just rude. All I want to do is go get my ham and cheese from Jimmy John’s, and (the administration) is disrespecting me for that,” Gutzke said. “It just doesn’t give me the freedom that students used to have.”

According to assistant principal Jessica Busse, at the class meeting during the first week of school, the class of 2021 was informed they would not have an open campus during their lunch periods. 

Busse said the 2020-21 off-campus policy change is not concrete, yet the administration is leaning toward a change for safety concerns. It hopes to use an improved cafeteria menu to keep students in the building.

“We are hoping we don’t have to have (an) open campus so that we can have everyone in the building: Both for the safety of our students and for the safety of the building,” Busse said. “With our new kitchen remodel, we will also have more home-cooked food. Everything will be bigger and better.”

According to Gutzke, only seniors should be allowed to leave during their lunch periods because the lack of students might ruin the cafeteria atmosphere. 

“There is a community in the lunchroom, and people connect in the lunchroom so they shouldn’t let everyone leave,” Gutzke said. “But the seniors should have the freedom to go get food because they have cars and other things they want to do.”

Busse said the motivation for the new off-campus policy is more about keeping students safe and less about limiting their freedoms and privileges.

“The reason we’re mad about (students) going off-campus isn’t because (we) really don’t want (students) to be eating McDonald’s,” Busse said. “It’s because I worry about when our kids go off-campus and what happens and all of the what-ifs.”