Administration enforces controversial policy

Administration+enforces+controversial+policy

Mollie-Emma O'Neil and Sharlie Goodson

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Isn’t that what everyone thinks? Because Decatur changed its start time and its food rules, students have changed the way they start their days.

Before this year, food in the classroom was not allowed, but some teachers didn’t mind small snacks.

This past January, Principal Lauri McKain sent out an email to the faculty of the school asking teachers to start enforcing the no food in class policy in every class. Many teachers didn’t implement this new rule at the beginning of the year. “I never really minded if students ate in my class, just as long as they paid attention as well,” French teacher Agnes Wells said.

Now that the administration is getting serious, so are the teachers. “When food starts becoming a problem in class, I have to say no,” Wells said. “I can’t let a student distract themselves or others with some big meal at their desk everyday.”

Other teachers agree that food can be a distraction. Instead of saying no to everything, teachers should discuss what would be appropriate and what wouldn’t. “It’s just easier to say no to everything,” Wells said.

While the policy is imperfect, it is understandable. The school’s main goal is to keep the school clean and keep ants out. Most of the time students can’t be held accountable for cleaning up after themselves. The cafeteria  is an obvious sign: lunch trays left at dirty tables, milk cartons on the floor next to the trashcans and food left underneath chairs. Teachers have a better eye on their students and can easily tell their students to throw their trash away. If students don’t throw their trash away, then it is understandable to take away the privilege.

The new policy wouldn’t be as much of an issue for students if 30 minutes wasn’t taken away from them every morning. Last year, school started at 8:30. This year it starts at 8:00. This is a big change for most students, especially ones who struggled to eat a good breakfast even with the schedule last year.

 

Junior Marius Brown does not live in the Decatur area, and getting to school on time is enough trouble as it is. “It’s basically impossible to eat breakfast at home,” he said, “I either have to eat in class or not eat at all.”

I have struggled with this new policy myself. It used to be easy to grab a quick granola bar or something small from Chick-fil-A, but now I usually don’t eat anything. Not eating is bad, and I have first hand experience. One day after not eating breakfast, and finishing weightlifting on a long block day, I almost passed out while trying to grab my lunch. I spent most of the afternoon in the nurse’s office because I could not shake the feeling that I was about to throw up. I’m not alone.

“I definitely get lightheaded sometimes, but I usually keep something in my bag just in case,” said Brown.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So the issue is not weather students should be able to eat in class. It becomes whether students can prove that they are capable of cleaning up and paying attention in class.