Class of 2002 to eat in, instead of carry out EBHS seniors will soon have to stay at school for lunch

By Melissa Kress

Class of 2002 to eat in, instead of carry out
EBHS seniors will soon have to stay at school for lunch

East Brunswick High school seniors will soon have to spend one more year carrying lunch boxes or ordering hot lunch.

Beginning in 2001, a tradition that is more than a decade old allowing seniors to leave the campus for lunch will come to an end. The Board of Education made the policy change by a vote of 7-1 at Thursday night’s meeting.

Board Vice President Holly Howard cast the lone dissenting vote and board member Lawrence Winters was not present.

"I have waited 13 years for this night," Neal Rosen said. "This policy has disturbed me all this time."

When the board first enacted the policy, lunch periods were longer. But through the years, for one reason or another, the board has shortened those lunch periods, Rosen explained.

"The time allowed is not really a lot of time to get to the car, load it up with kids, go to eat and reverse the process," he said.

He added that the lunch period could be shortened further if the board decides to add a ninth period at East Brunswick High School.

Rosen explained that the issue is not trust, but safety.

"We have been very lucky so far that we haven’t had any fatalities and the particular accidents that have happened have been relatively minor," he said.

He added that he does not want to wait until a fatal accident happens before the board takes action.

"It just doesn’t make sense," Rosen said. "We should find another way to honor the seniors."

Board member Patrick Sirr agreed with Rosen. "I think we have been lucky as (Rosen) said, and I don’t want to see this fall through the cracks," Sirr said.

Howard voted against the measure, stating the board should trust the seniors to continue leaving the school grounds for lunch. And at least one other board member agreed with her, despite voting to change the policy.

"My heart is with (Howard) but my brain is telling me that removing this is the intelligent thing to do," board member Charles King said.

When the board decided to expand the high school it was partially to make more room in the cafeteria so the seniors would not leave at lunch time. To not support the elimination of the policy now would be "an error of this board," he explained.

"We need to talk about alternatives to make the seniors feel special, which they are," he added. "They are the pride of our schools."

"Most of them are responsible," King said, but the concerns raised are real ones "and we need to be honest with ourselves."

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jamie Savedoff said that the once the new high school administration is in place, the issue will be one of the first policies.