The Way We See It: How we can make Lunch and Learn work

To fufill its intended purpose, Lunch and Learn should be used for productive time, not destructive time. This responsibility falls on students to make the right decisions.


Cartoon by Taylor Underwood

Lunches smeared on walls.
Bathrooms vandalized.
Trash carelessly left behind.
Hallways cluttered with utter rowdiness.
With time to work on assignments, recharge and be with their friends, students should find themselves being more productive with the Lunch and Learn schedule.
In a perfect world, Lunch and Learn should succeed.
The key word in that statement is “should.”
While we believe that this schedule should boost student productivity, in reality, “should” does not always follow through into “does.”
Lunch and Learn is an hour-long period between blocks two and three for students to eat lunch and spend time doing what they please.
There is a lot of freedom in this system, which is fitting for a group of students who are preparing to enter adulthood.
The idea stemmed from another school district that has found success with the new schedule.
In November 2019, the high school piloted Lunch and Learn for the first time.
The two-week pilot was an experiment. Administrators had planned another two-week pilot the following spring.
COVID-19 put an end to that.
Fast forward two years and the administration now wants to complete the experiment.
However, from the behavior displayed by certain students during the recent October two-week Lunch and Learn pilot, there is a possibility that it will not return next year.
The issue came into play when some of us chose to use this time vandalizing bathrooms, throwing food down stairwells and causing unnecessary ruckus around the school.
In a perfect SAHS world, all students would productively make the most of the hour-long chunk of time.
During the most recent pilot, many students spent the time working on assignments, making-up work, attending meetings and taking a mental break.
These are the students who are maximizing their time all around the school.
Some were seen going to teachers for help, painting in the art room, practicing music, filming for TV Production, playing games, etc.
Students across the school who valued the extra hour are now frustrated with other students who have not gotten the memo.
It has been observed that some students are taking advantage of the privilege of having Lunch and Learn.
A highly problematic issue that faculty has reported is the lack of trash pickup.
Students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves.
This really should not have to be said to high schoolers.
Solutions to these issues lie in the hands of students.
It’s plain and simple: students need to realize their privilege.
We are extremely lucky to have the resources that allow us to have Lunch and Learn.
The students who are being disrespectful to their environment must reflect on the situation.
It’s time to become aware that having freedom in school must be earned.
The best proposal for making Lunch and Learn doable is positive peer influence.
It is up to students to model the behavior that is needed for a successful Lunch and Learn.
We ask all students, especially upperclassmen, to heed this call.
Juniors and seniors have the potential to establish a relaxed and productive Lunch and Learn tone.
Perhaps the school could could hire additional staff, you might wonder.
More security guards, custodians and lunch staff could aid in deterring some students’ bad behavior.
Realistically, it should not be the staff’s responsibility to clean up our mess.
The high school is not alone.
School administrators across the country have noticed a shift in student behavior since the pandemic.
Dr. Tali Raviv, the associate director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago states that this school year is a “prolonged adjustment period” for students.
“As children return to school, there’s much more interaction, there’s much less downtime to recharge, there’s much less flexibility.”
Some may say that after experiencing a long period of time at home in a pandemic, students would be grateful and well-behaved at their return.
However, we must be mindful of the adjustment that students have had to endure.
From experiencing little to no social interaction, and learning through a screen, it is valid that students have had to adapt.
Yet, that is no excuse for the blatant disregard of the school and its faculty and staff.
No glum faces, though. We are being given one more chance.
On December 6-7, the administration ran a Lunch and Learn schedule during the fall semester Keystone Literature testing days with plans to also run Lunch and Learn in January during the Keystone Algebra and Biology testing days.
So, it comes down to this: if we like Lunch and Learn, then we need to show it.