Lunch Time!


Izzy Tolosa

Wilcox High School Doordash Table.

Izzy Tolosa

Have students ever thought about how fun it would be if they could drive to get food with their friends during lunch everyday? Why aren’t students allowed to leave to get Chick-fil-a in the first place? Will students at Wilcox High School benefit from having an open campus during lunch, or will it create too many problems? Here’s what the students and staff at Wilcox High School have to say about this dilemma.

Many public schools in the Bay Area have an open campus during lunch, except for Wilcox. We spoke to Wilcox High School’s vice principals regarding the closed campus situation. “As far as I know, it’s up to the board, not Wilcox”, Mr. Niczewicz stated. Mr. Kolda added ” While I was in high school there was not an open campus policy – I believe they started the process of closing campus during lunch because of an accident that happened. But for whatever reason, Palo Alto and other districts never followed with the process”.

After an investigation with the help of Wilcox principal Ms. Gonzalez, it was discovered that the reason for Wilcox’s closed campus rule is for the safety of all students. The rule applies to all Santa Clara Unified School District schools, not just Wilcox.  “By law the school is responsible for all students and their safety during the school day, including lunchtime. If we had an open campus for lunch, we would still be responsible for the safety of all students. As you can imagine, there are a lot of potential safety issues that could come up while off campus during lunch,” Ms. Gonzalez explains. 

Wilcox was not always a closed campus during lunch. The policy changed around 1984-1986, but it was not just a spontaneous decision without reason. A tragic car accident occurred that involved students in the SCUSD district, and one student lost their life. Due to this, the board immediately took action. The policy is at place due to the safety of the students around the district.  

Despite this, there are many students at Wilcox who prefer an open campus during lunch. One can argue that an open campus during lunch can be beneficial as it can teach students time management skills and could support local businesses around campus. Additionally, it can be a way to relieve stress for a short time and get away from the school environment with friends.Lucas Yi, a junior at Wilcox, states that, “I want an open campus during lunch because if I leave something at home, I could drive five minutes to go home without getting in trouble… I could also eat food at home and spend time with my dogs before driving back to school.” 

There are many places near Wilcox where students can efficiently drive, or even walk there and back, without arriving late to their next class. Some student favorites include  Chick-fil-a, Chipotle, and Subway, as well as Nob Hill’s grocery store and many others. Nob Hill is a place where students can walk to and from without being late to their next period class. 

In a survey asking students if they preferred an open campus during lunch, not a single student voted no to an open campus. One student commented in the survey that they could eat lunch with their family and friends from other schools. Many students stated that they didn’t want to wait in the super long lines at school. 

One common comment that came up among the surveyed students was that they wanted more food options without having to Doordash as much. Students that prefer outside food options cannot go out, so they result in Doordash, but how much money is wasted in dashing fees alone? 

Aaron Yang, a Wilcox junior , explained that, “I use Doordash almost everyday whether it is for me or my friends. Majority of the time I use Doordash to buy boba, but the issue that I have with Doordash is that the fees are so expensive due to the delivery fees and other stuff. Another issue I have with Doordash delivery is that my order gets stolen if I don’t pick it up as soon as my order comes and then I lose money and my order. If the school was an open campus, I would be allowed to get food or boba nearby for a reasonable price and be able to make it back in time for the next period. Having an open campus would save me money from the extra Doordash delivery fees and prevent my order from being stolen.” 

Regardless of whether or not Wilcox has an open or closed campus, the school district holds it in place not as a punishment or to be unfair, but for the safety of students. However, the policy was changed once… could it possibly be changed again for the desire of students? Or will students have to accept that Wilcox is a closed campus?