Band Room Lunch Ban

“These past few weeks have been terrible. There have been days where I don’t eat lunch at all because I didn’t want to eat in the cafeteria,”  says senior, Jessie Harmon . Harmon and many others have been outraged by the new regulations regarding the cafeteria and band room during lunch. At the beginning of the school year, teachers started laying down the law and following the school’s food policies much more strictly. The only place where students are allowed to eat is now in the cafeteria, not in classrooms, hallways, or the auditorium. Some students do not feel safe or confident in a crowd of that size. Some try to eat in other areas on campus, but some students like Jessie are not eating at all because they do not feel safe in the loud, overcrowded cafeteria.

As of this year, students will no longer be able to eat their lunches in the band room. Many students have been eating in this “safe haven” for the entirety of their high school careers, so this change is a big one for them. When students first heard about this, they were disappointed and frustrated. Many took their anger to social media and others responded with animosity towards the subject. The rants flowing from the students were overwhelming. The music hallway was a safe place to eat lunch as it offered a quiet area to eat in peace without the stress of the cafeteria. These students have to say goodbye because administration decided that peaceful eating in the band room was apparently “too much”. The students felt as though they were always respectful and cleaned up after themselves, and do not see a point to this ban.

The band teacher, Mr. McCarthy, has given the students the ability to still go into the band room during their lunch periods, but he cannot give them permission to eat there. Mr. McCarthy has been receiving the backlash for the school’s new policies from the students. Since the lunches are so short and the students need to eat, the amount of time they have to be in the band room is very limited. Being the band teacher, the students are going to him instead of the people who made the rules to try and get them changed.

Many of the students fighting to get their band room lunches back feel unheard and ignored. They want a place to eat their lunches where they feel safe.

“We tried to sit in the hallway just outside the band room, but we were told we couldn’t do that because there was no adult supervision” says Jessie Harmon.

She and many others have been trying to find a place to eat their lunches without the anxiety that comes with the large lunchroom. The places in the school where students can eat are very limited. Nashoba has a vast number of students and a fairly small cafeteria, which is especially limited when the students can’t go outside to the courtyard. These crowded places cause problems for students with anxiety, because those students have a hard time dealing with large crowds. These students have had their safe spaces taken from them and are given nothing to compensate for that.

Nashoba’s students need to have a place where they feel safe. The students skipping lunch for this reason need to be recognized because otherwise they will be unheard. These students are forced to be at school for 6 hours a day, 180 days a year and it is especially unfair when they are forced to be put in an environment where they don’t feel safe to be themselves. No one should have to feel unsafe in their school; it should be a safe place for all students. This is an issue for everyone at Nashoba, not just those affected because the rule is oppressing the student body.