Changing the West Way

Shannon Anderson

Many students at West want great changes for the school, as seen during previous class elections. Numerous candidates promised changes that have been called on by the students for years. These changes, which include better Wi-Fi, bigger parking lots and even a volleyball team for guys, have been laid out by potential student council leaders in hopes that the general population will succumb to their wishes and vote for another activist as class president when election day arrives. One has to come along the honest question: “How much power does a class president really have?”

If students were to do their research, they would understand some of the easy explanations as to why their dreams can’t be reached. For example, Wi-Fi can’t be improved because of legal matters, as is the case with adding a boys’ volleyball team. Through my own research, I have come to accept and appreciate the way things work around West Jessamine High School. But as a senior, I came to wonder why upperclassmen on the campus aren’t allowed off-campus lunch. Seeing as I could come to no logical conclusion myself, I sought out some of the authority figures here at the school to acquire a more seasoned opinion.

As the current rules explain, a parent is free to come sit with their child during lunch and enjoy whatever delicacies are brought to them, including McDonald’s and Taco Bell. So what’s the issue with kids bringing in their own fast food? Obviously, if a parent or legal guardian feels the need to feed their child greasy, calorie-filled foods, the school is in no position to interfere. When a child is in the care of the school, however, it is the job of the school to make sure that that child is cared for to the best of the administration’s abilities, which includes adhering to nutrition guidelines and keeping students safe.

Where exactly do these guidelines come from? To track down the authors, you’d have to go straight to the federal government (good luck getting in touch with them, by the way.) From there, the command goes to some unknown cavern where monstrous tyrants who gain pleasure by feeding on the tears of small children when they discover what is for lunch every day reside. Eventually, our own board of education receives the nutrition guidelines and lets West know what they are and are not allowed to serve in the cafeteria. If you’re into anarchy, you would probably wonder why the school doesn’t throw caution to the wind and serve what the students want. The best answer I can give for that particular inquiry is this: if our administration chooses not to follow guidelines, certain funding is cut. With our already dying band program and a library that can’t supply books that are required reading assignments, funding cuts are the last thing this school needs.

Most prominently, the school is concerned with student safety. Last year, the traffic line was altered because of numerous car accidents involving students. Adding yet another time for students to exit and enter the parking lot would just add more chances for car crashes. The administration is also concerned with who is going in and out of the building. Security is high on the priority list for our principals. With roughly twenty minutes for each lunch, there isn’t any realistic expectation that all eligible off-campus lunch students would be able to sign out, leave the parking lot, get through a drive-thru line, eat, get back into the parking lot, and sign into the school in an efficient manner before their next class. Besides, with teachers and principals already divvied up into different sections of the school to monitor class changes and lunches, it would be difficult to control who is coming back in.

Long story short, there are far too many sticky issues that must be dealt with before off-campus lunch can be considered. Contrary to popular belief, our administration does want what is best for the students, even if the best decision isn’t the most popular one.

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