The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

To leave or not to leave

No off-campus lunch for seniors
Paxon Myers
Juniors Tripp Danicic and Arun Ferran-Sapatnekar eat lunch inside the lunch room June 4. Next year seniors will be unable to leave for off campus lunch and will have to stay in the lunch room.

Recently, Park administration made the decision to stop off-campus lunch for the upcoming school year. In years past, seniors were allowed to leave for their designated lunch period, but for the 2024-2025 school year, no grade will be allowed to leave. In a recent announcement, administration said they landed on this decision due to various safety concerns. There have been numerous responses—those in favor and those against the decision.

According to assistant principal, Alyssa Gardner, the new cafeteria is much larger with various food options. There is less reason to leave and students should feel be more comfortable compared to the old cafeteria.

“(When there was off-campus lunch) we had the smaller cafeteria, (now) there’s more seating, everybody else can be more comfortable. With the new cafeteria, it’s going to be much larger, there’s going to be a lot more space, there’s going to be different food options, we’re going to have the flex space. It’s overall meant to be a more comfortable space than what we previously had.”

According to junior Alexa Nguyen, off-campus lunch is something most Park students look forward to, and it isn’t fair to take it away.

“(Off-campus lunch) is something every high schooler looks forward to coming into high school. Freshman year, I always looked forward to being a senior and (to) leaving whenever I want. It’s really not fair at all. It’s a privilege that we get being upperclassmen,” said Nguyen. “(It is earned by) being the oldest in the school. I don’t think it’s their place to take that away from us. We should have a say. It’s not fair that the seniors can leave this year, and then, next year, we can’t.”

Social studies teacher, Jill Merkle, said although outside food and beverages being brought into the classroom haven’t been a huge issue, it has created a rodent problem and harmed some of the new classroom renovations.

“I do have stains on the new carpet, which is a bummer. We have mice on our first floor, which is all food related,” said Merkle. “There is that part where it is a little gross or it can smell up.”

Junior Sophia Dvorak said there haven’t been any recent safety threats concerning off-campus lunch, which makes this decision frustrating.

“It’s really unnecessary. If you had this freedom a couple of years ago and there’s not been a safety threat outside of school, it’s really unnecessarily unfair to everyone that’s going to be a senior (to take the privilege away),” said Dvorak. “They’re not going to be able to get the chance to (have off-campus lunch).”

According to Merkle, she understands the frustration of students but points out the feasible concerns of having just one grade have off-campus lunch.

“I totally understand that it is frustrating for students that were expecting to have (off-campus lunch). At the same point, lunch is just really not long enough right now to support students coming on and off the campus, especially with only having one grade really able to do that,” said Merkle. “It (would) either be that you give it to all grades, but that gets messy with ninth and 10th graders, or that you eliminate it. It’s a safety thing—a safety concern with having kids in and out of the building because of liability issues and construction going on.”

Nguyen said seniors are at an age where they are practically adults and, therefore, should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to leaving campus.

“I don’t think it’s unsafe at all. Most seniors are 17/18 years old—(almost) adults. Therefore, they can make their own decisions. Regardless of that, it’s not their place to say it’s not safe,” said Nguyen. “Why was it allowed in the first place that seniors can leave the school, if it would later on become a safety issue?”

According to Merkle, students will enjoy their new lunchroom and staying on campus will save students money in the long run.

“When I was a senior at Hopkins, we got a super cool lunch room, and we never had off campus lunch. It was great. It was a good time. It also saves students money because then they’re not spending $10 on lunch every day,” said Merkle.

According to Dvorak, the new lunchroom policy probably won’t be followed. She said students leave now without permission, and if a large portion of students are leaving, it will be hard to keep track of.

“I don’t think it’ll be followed. If people want to leave, they’re just going to leave,” said Dvorak. “It’s not going to be heartily enforced if it’s a mass majority of people leaving.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Alex Hoag
Alex Hoag, Copy Editor
Hi! I’m Alex and this is my second year in Echo. I’m a junior and am so excited to be a part of the newspaper! In my spare time I enjoy playing guitar, listening to music and perfecting my Dave Grohl shrine. Some of my goals this year are to write the most bomb peices and re-watch every episode of New Girl (for the 12th time). I’m super thrilled to be on the team this semester!
Paxon Myers
Paxon Myers, Echo Staffer
Hi, My name is Paxon, I’m a junior and this is my first year in Echo. I love sports and I do track for school. Outside of school I enjoy hanging out with friends and I like to travel around the country.

Comments (0)

The Echo intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet these standards. The Echo does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a name and valid email address submitted that are variable. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible. Please direct any further questions to [email protected].
All The Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *