Safety Trumps Food


Shelby Rickerman

Jake Neufeldt brings Chick-fil-A into Lake Ridge.

For the rest of your high school career, you will be eating cafeteria food. There will be the rare occasions your parents bring you something or you bring your own lunch to school. However, the majority of the time you will be eating cafeteria food because of the rule that students cannot eat off campus.

The rule is not only for Lake Ridge High School but for all Mansfield ISD schools and has been implemented since the first schools were built in the district. The rule states that students, no matter their grade, are not allowed to leave campus to eat.

Natasha Stewart, Associate Principal at Lake Ridge, says the rule is not meant to be hurtful, but helpful.

“The main purpose of the rule is for safety. Mansfield ISD has five high schools and if all of those beginning drivers, plus all the kids who can’t drive that tag along, left school, there would be chaos. More car crashes too,” Stewart said.

Lunch periods being only 45 minutes long play a factor into the rule as well. Stewart said the area cannot support and service every student and get them back to class on time. She said she doesn’t see students eating off campus any time soon.

“I don’t know if it is a privilege to be earned. There’s no logical way to monitor who may and may not leave without a bus and I’m not sure that’s possible,” Stewart said.

Philip Johnson, Cafeteria Manager and Server agrees with Stewart. He believes students being forbidden to leave for food is a good thing.

“Students not leaving school is enforced to be sure of safety and security. It is our job to make sure students have what they need,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes his job plays a very important part in the function of the school.

“There are kids with no money for school food, let alone fast food. We give them a chance to eat and pay later. McDonald’s won’t do that,” Johnson said.

Although Johnson understands the rule, he believes that one day a healthy balance between those who leave and those who stay may be found.

However, Ayobami Olayiwola, senior, thinks upperclassmen are mature enough to be trusted with off campus privileges.

“I don’t agree with the rule at all. We are responsible enough to leave school and be back on time with food we actually like or even food that is healthier. Even if everybody couldn’t go they could at least allow only seniors,” Olayiwola said.

Some students were a little more understanding and could appreciate the reasoning behind the rule. Kenedi Lunkin, sophomore, thinks student safety shouldn’t be overlooked.

“I’m just now starting to drive and I want to get my own food, but at the same time if the goal is to keep me and other students safe, I wouldn’t want the rule to change,” Lunkin said.

The rule that students may not leave campus to eat has been in place since the district began and doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. Regardless of how students may feel, the question being asked is, does safety trump food?