As I sit at the table, I hear rumbling noises coming from my stomach. My lunch is right in front of me, so why can I not eat? At Westmont, we have a common room full of tables and a few books, we call it the library. Although the school sends out newsletters and emails to parents emphasizing that children are welcome to stay in the library during lunch, there is a strict regulation in place: NO FOOD.
Because of the January storms, many students had to pick between sitting outside in the rain, staying in the cafeteria, or staying in the library. The difficulty is (1) no one wants to sit outside in the cold, and (2) there are only so many seats in the library and cafeteria. That being said, when the cafeteria is packed, students tend to go to the library.
So, what’s the issue with this policy? Upon arriving, someone at the entrance informs us students, that we are not permitted to eat, but once seated, you will discover that the majority of the students sitting are surreptitiously eating. There is no mess of food to be seen once the lunch bell sounds. So, if students are eating in secret and there is no mess, what is the justification for the library’s no food policy?
Personally, I don’t mind eating till I get home, but there are several negative consequences for kids, particularly teens, who miss meals. Skipping meals at school might have an influence on a student’s academic and athletic performance. So, when teachers complain that their kids aren’t paying attention, we can give thanks to the no-food policy. Skipping a meal can impair metabolism and possibly lead to worsening eating habits, which can potentially lead to eating disorders. What is more essential, is the cleanliness of a room with tables or the health of a student?
One may also argue that there is a rationale for this regulation, which is to keep the library clean. Even on non-rainy days, when students dine outside, they tend to leave trash. We all know that kids will trash regardless of where they are, therefore this implies that the administration permits littering outdoors but not inside.