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Dear Editor

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Dear Editor:

My name is Courtney Johnson and I am currently a junior. This is my first year attending Wasilla High School. Previously, I attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage for part of freshman year and all of sophomore year. My dad is currently in the Air Force, which has led my family to experience life all over The United States. I have been to multiple high schools, all being extremely diverse. I have only been at this school for a few months, but have been observing how things work around here. The purpose of this letter is to address the topic of Open Campus. I think Wasilla High School is a great school but, just like anything, it has room for improvement.

One main concern we, the students, all have is not having the privilege of an Open Lunch Campus. Currently, district board policy 5112.5 establishes a Closed Campus for all district schools. If we were given the freedom of an Open Lunch Campus, students would all be open to new opportunities. For one, students would be able to pick up their own lunch. Additionally, this would resolve students’ problems with cafeteria food. An Open Lunch Campus would also allow students to have more free time as well as more off campus options. As of right now, students can only have off campus at the beginning or the end of the school day.  If we had Open Campus, more options could be available to students. I recognize that it is a concern that it will be easier for students to skip, but these students will still skip regardless of any rules. The irony is, some students are already allowed Open Campus. Students commute on a daily basis between schools to take advantage of district-wide offerings. So it is ironic, that we have “Open Courses,” but not an Open Campus. This is elitism.

Furthermore, Open Campus would prepare students for the real world. It would allow students to learn personal responsibilities. Students would also be much more involved in the community by purchasing from local shops. Not only this, but students would learn how to manage their time. In the real world, employees are usually given a short lunch break and are expected to return back to their workplace on time. These are skills that every person should learn. Some may argue that we are “just teenagers” that do not need to learn these skills at this point in our lives and should focus on our education. However, juniors and seniors range from the ages of 16 to 18 and some already have jobs. This being said, Open Lunch Campus would benefit us greatly as well as the community.

Above all, I truly believe that we deserve Open Lunch Campus. Students are given high expectations to succeed and an endless list of tasks. We are students as well as co-workers, volunteers, family members and friends which all come with separate responsibilities. Instead of asking for less, we ask that we may be given the privilege of Open Lunch Campus to balance out our responsibilities with a little freedom. Regardless, safety is always a concern for many which is argued to be far more important than our freedom. This being said, I suggest that we take after Anchorage’s Open Campus Policy which states: “Students who leave campus by automobile are legally responsible for themselves and persons they transport from or to campus” (Section II, 19).

Ultimately, Open Lunch Campus would have a positive impact on the district overall. The school board should revise Board Policy 5112.5 and at least consider creating an Open Lunch Campus for the Mat-Su Borough District schools. I personally think that the students here at Wasilla High School deserve the freedom of an Open Lunch Campus. Students would greatly appreciate having this opportunity and would not take it for granted.

This letter was also submitted to the Mat-Su Borough School Board.

 

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