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Feeding Minds, Not Rushing Bells

by Christian Sanjuan

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Within the decorated and historical halls of Christopher Columbus High School, boys become men, learn responsibility and forge unbreakable bonds with one another that last lifetimes. However, there is a lingering dilemma that many students have long since spoken about ever since the origin: lunchtime.


During the year of 2022-2023, administration made the executive decision to change lunch timing from 50 minutes to 30 minutes, a 20-minute decrease.


The Cons

Many students have expressed their discontent with the new change such as junior Orlando Hoyos who states that the 30-minute lunch is way too short for students who have to wait in line at the food trucks. This doesn’t even consider students who have to eat from the cafeteria in which lines can take around 10-15 minutes.


Junior Lucas Rivera, who eats from the cafeteria says, “If I don’t go to the line right away as the bell rings, it takes me 10 minutes to get food, and to save time, I have to spend 2 minutes buying one of the boxed lunches.”


Overall, the short time frame doesn’t leave much room for students to order food, sit down, eat or schedule meetings with members of the faculty.


The Argument

The first benefit of a longer lunch period would be that less plate waste would occur. Juliana F.W. Cohen is a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has heavily researched school-based interventions, child/adolescent health and development, health disparities, and nutrition policies. She conducted a study in 2015 that researched the amount of food wasted correlated to lunchtime and proved that the less time that students are given to eat, the more food is wasted and stated that a lunch period of "at least 25 minutes of seated time may reduce food waste and improve dietary intake."


Our school lunch period exceeds this minimum by 5 minutes and may prove cost-effective by reducing the amount of food wasted.


Although a 30-minute lunch period is enough to be cost-productive and less wasteful, it does not mean that the benefits of the former 45-minute lunch period are efficacious. A substantially longer lunch period of 45-50 minutes has already reaped major benefits in other schools. Let us turn our eyes to other schools. These schools give its students 50 minutes for their lunch to allow students to eat, socialize and finish up homework.


The Why?

Although many of the students have expressed their dislike towards this new policy, none of them bothered to ask why exactly this change was enacted in the first place.


When asked why the lunch period was shortened, Dean of Students Mr. Trujillo said “We wanted to shorten the time that students would get out from 2:45 and settle for an overall dismissal time at 2:15.”


Another potential factor behind this policy change could have been to better align the schedule with our school's academic objectives. Potentially, the 45-minute lunches did not allocate as much time as possible for teachers to instruct their students as they would have liked. A reduction in the length of the lunch period may have allowed for much more efficient use of time throughout the school day.


It is only through considering other factors in the policy change that we can truly understand that there were multiple layers to this decision made by the administration and faculty.

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