OPEN CAMPUS OR BUST
Michael Parker is a teacher from a high school who has closed campus and doesn?t even think that it is working. ?It hasn?t reduced the number of ?bad? things students do, merely relocated them? (Parker, 1997, 1). That?s what the very respectable teacher said about the so called ?solution? of closed campus. If closed campus doesn?t eliminate problems, the new Reedsburg High School and school board shouldn?t make such a foolish rule. The lack of freedom will create more problems than it will eliminate. There aren?t even any significant reasons to enforce it. It would just be a big hassle for the students, and an equal hassle for the teachers who have to enforce it. The new high school should just forget about having the rule and save all of us the trouble.
The way closed campus would work, is that no one would be allowed off campus from the time the bell rings in the morning, until the time the bell rings at 3:00. The only way anyone would be allowed off campus, is if they had a note from their parents or they called in with an exceptional reason. The part that is unfair is that no one is even allowed off campus at lunch. This is the part that most students object to and the reason the rule is so dreaded.
Some say that they need closed campus for safety. These, bigger city schools, may very well need the rule because of gang problems, and people come onto campus that aren?t students. Another reason communities want it is to reduce car accidents during lunch. People who have jobs, can drive to lunch without problems; what makes people think that students couldn?t handle it? There are also always a select few from every schools who, despite rules, are trouble-makers. If anyone thinks that a closed campus rule would stop these people from being rebellious, they are foolish; they already have their minds set on what they are going to do. Problems with vandalism at lunch wouldn?t be stopped with the rule, nor would similar problems. Some teachers also complain that having an open campus lowers the school spirit (Cupertino, 1996, 1). The fact is, that most people won?t have school spirit even with closed campus; they?ll be too busy complaining about having to stay at school.
Littering may be a problem with open campus now at Webb High, but the location of the new high school would almost eliminate the littering off of school property. The main problem now, is the walk from Webb to Jubilee Foods. Since the new high school would be located far away from any place to eat, no one would be walking, and there would be no littering. Littering in the parking lot could be solved by a few people a month who volunteer to clean up. The problems people are observing with open campus are not going to change that much even if we do adopt a closed campus rule.
People, especially students, whose schools did take on the rule, did not like it much at all. ?They didn?t give us a chance to show that we are responsible enough to get back on time [for classes]? (Brandes, 1996, 1). Other angers implied that the the rule wasn?t even working. Ellen Brandes said, ?It [closed campus] was worthless because people left anyway? (1996, 1). Most comments were negative but there were a few reasons teachers liked it. ??it helps me because I usually know where the students are when I need to speak to them? but that?s basically it? (Parker, 1997, 1). For one school, they had freshmen and sophomores under the closed campus rule for the first semester, and open campus for second semester. A student who had to do this said, ?I had a higher G.P.A. first semester than I did second? (Brandes, 1996, 1)
The cost factor in the rule would also be huge if you take into consideration all of the things needed to make lunch enjoyable. First of all, you would have to have a very good lunch system, with modern equipment, and a huge cafeteria. You would need a lot of people on the lunchroom staff, and numerous cooks. There would have to be a fast way to serve everyone, and maybe three or four lines to be served at. The distribution center would be hard to make work. Better food would have to be served instead of some of the stuff we eat now. If it?s all to hard, a catering service might even have to be hired to help. This would raise the lunch prices more than anyone could afford.
There are a few ways to make lunch better that are free of cost, but take organization. Some schools have found that hiring DJ?s was a good way to make lunch better (Hartwig, 1997, 1). Student councils have organized sports tournament. Students have also been involved in performing at talent shows during lunch. There could be open gym, or just places to relax. Picnic tables could be used on sunny days. Involving the student council with activities would be the best way to do it.
There could also be exceptions to the rule. Many schools have made senior privileges. Therefore, seniors would be the only ones allowed to leave school at lunch. Another exception that has been made is for people on the high honor roll. One school said that they made the closed campus rule because of car accidents occurring, but yet has a high honor privilege system. Not that the high honor privilege system is a bad idea, but it seems that this school isn?t too sure what they want. They are almost saying, ?Just let the high honor students get into the car accidents.? They don?t understand the intent of the rule. Anyone who makes the rule should think of why they need it and what the intent is.
Enforcing this rule would be difficult for the high school staff, as well as an everyday hassle. There would have to be some type of officer who patrols the area at lunch, checking peoples? ID cards, and possibly writing tickets. The staff would constantly have to be on the lookout for people leaving. Punishment for leaving would make even more work for teachers. Some schools have made offenders pick up trash around the parking lot and one school even made students come to a Saturday school. It seems like more of a punishment for the teachers than the students.
Students need open campus for very good reasons other than the lack of freedom. What if you forgot a project at home that?s due sixth hour? If you were allowed off of campus, you could easily drive home, get it, grab something to eat, and get back to school. The same thing goes for if you forget your gym shorts or running shoes for the meet after school. It?s always nice to be able to just go out and eat sometimes too. Open campus lets you screw up every once in a while without penalty. It?s nice to leave a little margin for error.
Closed campus will not be worth all of the extra hassle, money, effort, or time that will be needed from students, teachers, and the school board. Students need the lunch period to be open campus for very practical reasons like projects and to prove that they are responsible. ?It might work in a larger area, but not in such a small town? (Parker, 1997, 1). Students are not animals and shouldn?t let people treat them that way by locking them up.