Maine West will allow some seniors to leave campus for lunch
Some seniors in Maine Township High School District 207 soon will be able to leave campus for lunch.
"Students have asked for this privilege for a long time," Maine West Principal Eileen McMahon said at a recent school board meeting.
Maine West High School will offer the privilege starting Apr. 4, and Maine East High School will wait until fall, McMahon said. Maine South hasn't decided whether to start in the fourth quarter or also wait until fall.
Seniors who are passing all their classes and who are on time 90% of the time in the past 15 days are eligible. Parental consent will also be required.
"We hope it will be a way to incentivize positive behavior for seniors," said Ben Collins, principal of Maine South High School. "I don't have any concerns."
McMahon added that seniors have had a "pretty compromised high school experience" due to the pandemic, and officials want to offer them an opportunity that differentiates them from the younger students, while emphasizing the connection between freedom and responsibility.
According to district spokesman Brett Clark, students have 45 minutes for lunch, and if they don't get back to school on time they risk losing the off-campus privilege.
A scanner at each entrance will pick up the bar code on the back of each ID for students who leave at lunchtime.
One board member asked McMahon if she was concerned that "the bar was too low" for seniors by requiring only passing grades to qualify.
McMahon said officials don't want exclude seniors who are trying hard. She believes the criteria will encourage students to make positive choices, such as being on time.
"It's something we are going to try and evaluate how it's going," said McMahon.
Superintendent Ken Wallace said that prior to bringing the recommendation to the board, the district consulted with its liability insurance provider, who said the district should require parental consent.