Friday, January 28, 2005

Closed campus causes contention

Express Staff Writer

Raquel Velasco, George Hulbert, James Crow and Marco Cortez disagree with the semi-closed campus policy enforced at Silver Creek Alternative School. Express photo by Megan Thomas

A recent extension of a semi-closed campus policy to all of Blaine County School District high schools evoked heated opposition from Silver Creek Alternative School students previously at liberty to leave campus during lunchtime. At its Tuesday, Jan. 11, meeting, the Blaine County School Board voted in favor of a policy to close campus during lunch for freshmen and sophomore students. The policy introduces a uniform lunchtime procedure across the district.

"It's a ridiculous rule," said James Crow, a sophomore at Silver Creek Alternative School.

Until the recent decision, Crow and his freshman and sophomore peers enjoyed an open campus policy. The board's vote now requires the 13 underclassmen to remain on campus during the lunch break. Alternative school students opposing the new semi-closed campus policy cite the unavailability of food at their school.

"We don't have the same access to lunch as (Wood River High School students) do. We don't have a cafeteria. The closest thing we have is a fridge," Crow said.

There is no cafeteria or a vending machine on the Silver Creek campus. Students can order food from the Wood River High School cafeteria as an alternative to bringing food from home. The cafeteria orders must be decided by 10 a.m. and students do not have access to some of the options offered at the high school, such as the sandwich bar. If students order from the cafeteria, a district employee delivers the food from the high school to the alternative school campus.

"The food isn't that bad, but when it gets here it's cold. All the food is mushed together in one box," said Raquel Velasco.

George Hulbert, a freshman, agreed, "It's gross by the time it gets here."

In the past the school tried to order from other vendors and have food delivered to campus. The students explained that because of the small number of orders restaurants stopped delivering to campus.

As a solution to the closed campus policy, underclass students ask upper classmen to buy food off campus and bring it back to school.

Before the board adopted a uniform policy, the rules concerning lunch time regulations varied from school to school. Two years ago Wood River High School adopted the semi-closed campus policy that requires freshmen and sophomore students to stay on campus during lunch. In comparison, a closed campus policy applied to all Carey High School students, though some students were allowed off campus with parental permission.

"It's time to extend the policy to Carey High and the Alternative School. (The policy) should be fair and equal across our district," Jim Lewis, Blaine County School District superintendent, explained to the board when the policy was first presented at the Dec. 14 meeting.

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