No ID = no lunch?

By DORY MacMILLAN – Features Editor

Clarke Central High School’s ID card policy is now leaving some students with an empty stomach at lunch time.

qrcodeHungry after second block, I rushed to our school’s lunchroom but was stopped before I could even enter the Miller Jordan Jr. cafeteria.

Photo and photo illustration by Austin DeFoor

Before I could reach the double doors that provided the path to fill my grumbling stomach, dozens of students stood in the area outside of Mell Auditorium. They grumbled, whined and complained, but the security team ruled with an iron fist.

“You can’t enter the lunchroom without your ID tags,” one of them shouted, attempting to make their voice heard above the frustrated fray of students.

Luckily I had my ID, granting me access to the lunchroom, but I could not help but wonder about the others. Could they really not get lunch if they did not have their IDs? That could not be right.

As it turns out, that’s not quite the policy. The actual policy is no less troubling, though. If Clarke Central High School students forget to wear the IDs that lack the ubiquity the administration craves, they are given an alternative lunch.

“An alternative lunch” is a euphemism for a packaged cheese sandwich or something equally undesirable. But, let’s not forget that students are also allowed one of the artificially flavored orange juices or nearly spoiled milks that create a common, unpleasant aroma in our high school. No sides are offered. Perhaps if they’re lucky, they’ll be offered a napkin?

There is one other option, if (surprisingly) a student would prefer not to eat what has been called a “cheese” sandwich. Students are allowed to purchase a new ID for five dollars and then journey forth into a newly selective lunchroom.

Awesome. Charging students, many of which are already on Free and Reduced lunch, to gain entry into the cafeteria is surely the answer.

Charging students for their IDs only makes them less likely to buy one. It is insensitive of this administration to give students the two options of either eating an in-nutritious, sub-par lunch or having to spend their own money on something they are forced to wear.

Yes, I am being rather ridiculous. And I do understand the point of this: kids need to wear their IDs. It’s a safety thing, and it cannot be disputed that each member of CCHS’ staff  is dedicated to making sure that we are safe at all times. This, I appreciate greatly. It is their recent methods of ensuring this safety that I don’t appreciate.

For many CCHS students, the breakfast and lunch provided are the only meals that they are guaranteed to have. While it might be unsafe for them not to wear IDs, it is unsafe for them not to be properly nourished as well. And an artificially-made, undesirable grilled cheese sandwich is not enough.

There has to be a way to ensure safety in our school, but closing the doors to the lunchroom is certainly not the answer.

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