By: Monesha Stroman and K-Hari Townsend
Speaking for the seniors at Oakland High School, we feel that seniors deserve off-campus lunch because we are in high school for our fourth full year and are mature enough to not be supervised. We are trying to open the campus for seniors at lunch before the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
Since seniors are at the highest level in high school, they usually know right from wrong. Also, seniors’ main goal in high school is to graduate, so they wouldn’t do anything that will put them at risk of not graduating. We are 17- and 18-year-olds so we deserve to be treated as young adults who are wise enough to make their own smart decisions.
The Oakland Unified School District may feel a little different because in the previous years, off-campus lunch at Oakland High School has caused a lot of tardies as students come back to school after lunch and a lot of complaints from residents around the school about students smoking and fighting.
“Seniors who are on track to graduate and maintain a 2.0 GPA or above should have the privilege to go off campus for lunch,” said principal Matin Abdel-qawi. “If those same students start to slack off or are late to their fifth period class more than three times, (they) completely get cut off.”
Therefore, we propose that off-campus lunch for seniors will be a privilege and students will have to earn the privilege at all times. Seniors must maintain a 2.0 GPA and above, and always return on time to class after lunch. If students abuse this privilege they will not be able to have off-campus lunch anymore for the rest of the school year.
Students feel we might as well call Oakland High School a prison. We’re locked down all day, served terrible food, and trapped in a small area with friends and even enemies.
“Oakland High School lunch is so disgusting, I would never eat it,” said Demarea Knox, a senior. “I’d rather take the risk of getting in trouble leaving campus.”
A lot of students at Oakland High School don’t want to eat the school lunch but do because they don’t want to starve. Students are also trying to leave campus anyway, knowing they’re hungry and they have access to such unsatisfying food, so they sneak out the gates or even climb the fences around the campus.
Administrators might as well put a trampoline in front of the gate; at least make it safe for gate-hoppers on the way out.
Our own experiences with rules and restrictions prove to us that if a teenager grows up without trust and an understanding with authority, that person might disobey because they don’t feel like they’re being heard.
We understand that all students are not the same, but we feel we all deserve trust and being able to live life as we become adults. Seniors are at the point where we’re almost grown; it’s time for us to make our own decisions.
Seniors have circulated a petition and plan to make phone calls to Oakland Unified School District. With the principal on our side, seniors will not stop until we get off-campus lunch.