Resistance to eating policy holds strong

A student eats lunch at a picnic table on the second floor. Many students have resorted to eating in hallways and classrooms.

Senior Nainika Grover eats lunch at the picnic table on the second floor every day. According to The Handbook, students are not allowed to eat in the hallways.

“The cafeteria is too loud, smelly and nearly impossible to hear people two inches away from you,” said Grover.

According to sophomore Alice Gilbert, the addition of the exceptionally large freshman class limits seating options in the cafeteria.

“The cafeteria can get overwhelming with everyone yelling and sharing seats,” said Gilbert. “At least when the quad isn’t an option for people to go to lunch, there should be looser rules regarding where people should go as long as they can be smart and not leave huge messes in their wake.”

Sophomore Brittany Nagle agrees with Gilbert.

“I think there should be times when students are allowed to eat in classrooms. It’s understandable when students have to make up work during the lunch period,” said Nagle. “For hallways, there should be certain areas such as some of the benches where students can eat their lunch.”

According to junior Luke Mathison, the policy should be changed.

“I think the only restrictions for classroom and hallway eating should be things that leave crumbs that could attract mice,” said Mathison.

Grover said that she will not move unless something is done with the policy.

“I will always eat here no matter if a teacher tells me not to,” said Grover. “I’ll probably sit here forever.”

According to librarian Bridget Knightley, the cafeteria can be loud.

“I can’t eat in the cafeteria, either. It’s so noisy. I eat outside or in my office,” said Knightley.

According to Grover, the existence0. of quiet study rooms where students can eat and talk contradicts the policy, for eating in these classrooms also attracts mice.

Knightley said she also recognizes that eating outside of the cafeteria can disrupt classes and that many students do not clean up after themselves.

“Even though there is no eating in the library, there still is eating going on in the library. At the end of the day, we go through and pick up all the food, trash and make sure everything is all cleaned up,” said Knightely. “The custodians are so tired of picking up people’s food.”

Like Knightley, English teacher Sarah Westbrook acknowledged the consequences of leftover food in the hallways and other areas outside the cafeteria.

“The mice problem is very real,” Westbrook said. “I’m happy to enforce whatever policy the school decides to enforce, but it’s certainly something that the school, faculty and students need to decide on, and everyone needs to follow it.”

According to Westbrook, the faculty has discussed the policy in many meetings but has expressed a range of opinions regarding this issue.

“People are really looking for some clarity both for themselves and students so that they can communicate that to the students,” said Westbrook. “It gets confusing when you don’t really know what the rule is because it hasn’t been stated enough times.”

Grover said she desires a formal discussion of the issue that includes both students and teachers.

Along with Westbrook and Knightley, Assistant Headmaster Hal Mason also believes that listing exceptions of food is not an effective way to deal with the issue.

“I don’t believe you can start creating lists of food exceptions. That will never work,” said Mason. “You have to agree on a policy that actually can be enforced.”

However, according to Mason, it all comes down to the mice problem.

“A bagel with sesame seeds is going to leave seeds on the floor, and that’s what brings the mice,” said Mason. “A mouse doesn’t need a a lot to live on, and once a mouse decides that this classroom is the source of its food, it will make a nest and make a home right near that classroom. That’s really been the issue we’ve been trying to tackle this year.”

The school is enforcing the policy as well as it can, according to Mason.

“I don’t think there is any better way to enforce the policy,” said Mason. “No one wants to get to a point where people are getting suspended.”

Andrea Kim can be contacted at bh[email protected]