At The Gregory School, students have always wanted more freedom, or at least better food. Unlike many other schools in the area, TGS has always been a closed campus, which prevents students from leaving campus for lunch, and does not give them the freedom that both colleges and other high schools allow.
Here, upperclassmen want off campus lunches the most because they can drive. At other schools in Tucson, underclassmen are usually required to stay on campus, but if they have good grades in their sophomore year and show that they are responsible enough to be off campus on their own, they can leave.
Many other schools in the area allow students to leave campus. “I used to go to BASIS,” junior Ruby Meyer said. “Over there, I was allowed to go off campus for lunch in 9th grade. I think that freedom really allowed students to think that their teachers trusted them, whereas over here, students feel repressed because the administration lacks enough confidence in them to let them leave campus for lunch.”
Many students dislike the food served at school by current catering company, Kavo and Tunzi. “The food here is terrible,” junior Daniel Rosenberg said.
“Besides the fact that it is unhealthy and unappetizing, it is also expensive. At most fast food restaurants, I can pay five dollars for a pretty good, decent sized hamburger. However, here, I need to pay more than that for a half frozen, quarter slice of funny smelling pizza,” said Rosenberg.
Other students on campus also agree that the food at TGS is overpriced. “On my first day at The Gregory School, I came with five dollars for lunch like I always did at my old school, but here I realized that I could afford nothing,” junior Lourdes Castillo-Silva said.
Many students have the concern that Kavo and Tunzi’s catering is not healthy and doesn’t cater to the needs of vegans and vegetarians.
“Places like Whole Foods would be able to fit the needs of students that desire healthier options if the school allowed us to leave campus,” sophomore Eric Johnson said.
The catering company on campus seems to lack the options available at other schools in this city. “I used to go to Catalina Foothills, and over there, we had many more options for students,” new junior Asha Ramakumar said. “Also, the food there was half the price.”
At a private school with less than 300 students, it is understandable that a catering company cannot provide options that everyone desires, which is why the administration should allow unsatisfied students to explore options outside school.
In a recent interview, Head of School Dr. Julie Sherrill talked about why TGS hasn’t offered off-campus privileges thus far. “When students are on campus, I’m their parent,” she said. “I would hate to tell parents that something has happened to their child when they’re off campus.”
Many faculty members seem to agree that students are safe leaving campus. “If the school makes a special tardy policy saying that if students came back from lunch late, their off campus privileges would be suspended, I see no problem in creating this opportunity for students,” Biology teacher Kevin Rolle said.
When it comes to trusting students, teachers and kids alike believe that they are responsible when they leave campus for lunch.
“I really feel as though I am not trusted and treated like the young adult I am when I am prohibited from going out for lunch,” Castillo-Silva remarked. “I won’t die by going to Whole Foods.”
Parents seem to agree according to a poll sent to TGS upperclassmen parents by The Chant. 70% of them said it was safe for their children to leave campus during lunch.
If parents were to sign a waiver that released the school from liability while their children were off campus, Sherrill’s concerns about student safety if they are harmed would diminish. “I guess we could consider doing that, if the parents of students agree,” Sherrill said.
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