Turner chewing on closed campus
Guidelines that have been in place for several years in the high school student handbook allow students to leave the campus at 1231 Inman Parkway, Beloit, for lunch. Students may only walk off campus and may not drive, according to the policy.
Riding bikes is not specifically forbidden but would be discouraged, high school Principal Mike Kolff said.
The school board communications committee Thursday night discussed the issue, and it will be brought up at a June board meeting, District Administrator Dennis McCarthy said. He anticipates the district in the future will encourage students to form a committee to help plan school lunches and activities.
The school has two lunch periods: one between 11:30 a.m. and noon and the other between noon and 12:30 p.m., McCarthy said.
Kolff said about 20 of the school’s 400 students leave campus for lunch.
“I would say it’s between 5 and 8 percent that leave,” Kolff said. “The rest of the student body stays here.”
Most walk one block to the Stop-N-Go at 907 Inman Parkway. Others gather to smoke or socialize on private property near the school, District Administrator Dennis McCarthy said.
“For us, it’s about being a good neighbor,” McCarthy said. “I don’t think we’re being good neighbors by having kids engage in these activities.
“We want kids to make choices because they’re becoming young adults. But you also want to be responsible in the environment you put them in.”
A big concern is that students could walk off campus and get in a car, Kolff said.
“We don’t have the staff to man blocks around the school,” he said.
Kolff said some students are allowed to drive off campus for work programs or to take classes at Beloit College or Blackhawk Technical College. That would not change if lunch were closed, Kolff said.
McCarthy and Kolff said they don’t want the community or the student body to perceive the planned change as mistrust in students.
The issue is one of safety, they said. Closing campus controls the environment and helps prevent banned items or intruders from entering the school, both men said.
“Parents send students to school from 7:45 to 3,” McCarthy said. “They feel we fill that parental role in that time.”