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Open Campus Changes May Be Ahead

Bridger Flory, Student Journalist

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For seniors at Rhinelander High School (RHS), being able to leave campus for lunch is a precious luxury.

For juniors and all other underclassmen, however, leaving the confines of the campus during lunch is simply a dream.

The issue of allowing underclassmen and juniors to leave campus for lunch is a much discussed issue among students. Many students believe that if seniors have the ability to leave during the lunch period they should as well.

When asked why this privilege isn’t further extended, Mr. Dornfeld, RHS principal said, “I think a lot of the reasoning is, first, liability reasons. You know, you’re racing out to get to Taco Bell or McDonald’s, and chances are obviously higher you’re going to get in an accident or get hurt.”

Mr. Dornfeld said that many schools have actually opted for closed campuses for all grades because of liability issues. 

Having a closed campus eliminates some risks that accompany an open campus lunch, however, Mr. Dornfeld explains that he doesn’t see RHS going to a closed campus as he expects the seniors to be responsible enough to leave for lunch.

He said, “Seniors should be the most responsible, the better drivers, so it makes sense.”

In future years, however, students  

may begin to see some changes in regards to which seniors will be allowed to leave.

“Maybe in the years ahead I might take it a step further,” said Mr. Dornfeld, “Kind of like the athletic code where if you have any F’s you can’t leave.”

Mr. Dornfeld thinks this may provide an incentive for students to get grades up because most seniors want to leave campus at lunch time at some point in their senior year.

While changes may be made in future years, Mr. Dornfeld said, “I don’t foresee having more grades being able to leave.” 

Another aspect of the decision to let only seniors leave for lunch is the financial impact such a rule has on a food distribution company like Taher Inc.

Taher is the food service management company that provides school lunches at RHS. Taher is used to the system in place, so to change the amount of grades allowed to leave could impact their business.

Mr. Dornfeld said, “Obviously, yes, it would cut into their business if we said all juniors and seniors can go”.

For juniors and underclassmen, the likelihood of an open campus lunch in the future does not seem likely. On top of this, incoming seniors should be aware of potential changes to open campus lunch. Overall, however, Mr. Dornfeld doesn’t see an issue with continuing to allow seniors to feel a quick 45 minutes of freedom.

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Open Campus Changes May Be Ahead