The Lunch Line Needs to be Fixed


Jose Gama, Staff Writer

For many, the lunch line is something that students do not look forward to standing in. Students cutting the line en masse is a problem here at Arcadia High School (AHS). Although the security and administration do what they can to prevent cutting, they cannot regulate the flow of thousands of kids coming to get lunch at one time. Solutions to prevent cutting need to be drawn up, because it’s out of hand and not fair to those who wait in line.

There are four lines that students can stand in for lunch, two longer and two shorter ones. Two of the lines are arranged in a north-south line, and are where the majority of the cutting happens. The two shorter lines, on the west side of the cafeteria, take longer per student due to the order being personalized rather than just grabbing whatever is available in the longer lines. In the longer lines, particularly the one on the east side, huge groups of students will simply walk up through the doors, or go through the side door on the far eastern side of the cafeteria. Cafeteria staff and security do the best they can to prevent this, but it isn’t enough to prevent it completely. Meanwhile, the side lines take either as long or longer than the main ones due to the lack of security and because of the personalized system of ordering. The servers in charge of these shorter lines are supposed to take orders as quickly as possible to get through the line, so they don’t have time to keep watch and prevent cutting in line. Adding one person to oversee these two short lines would make the line go by faster by preventing cutters from getting in and prolonging the wait for others. 

The first problem with cutting in line is that it’s not fair for others. When other students cut, they make others wait longer for their lunch and get less time to socialize, do activities, and so forth. The second problem is that students may not be able to eat or have a full meal in time for their next class, which isn’t good for performance and the student’s overall well-being. Finally, if they are able to get their lunch but not finish it, they might have to throw it away due to their next classroom teacher forbidding eating in class. For people who have P.E. next, the best time to get lunch would be early on because all that food sitting in a student’s stomach impacts their physical performance. All of these points made are relatable to lots of students at AHS, and it’s why the lunch line needs to be reformed. 

Assistant Principal Karen DuBerke, commonly known as Ms. DuBerke, is in charge of Security at AHS including the lunch line. 

“We’re out there to make sure everybody is safe, and as far as lunch lines we can only keep our eyes open so much due to the limited adults and huge number of students…with 3,000 students we are always going to be thinly stretched no matter what,” DuBerke said.

So, what can be done about this? The administration could talk to the nutrition department about splitting up lunch into two periods; however, the cost, planning, and coordination to make this happen would be huge. A quicker and less costly solution would be to split up lunch even more by having scattered stations around the rally court. Stress would be taken off the main lines, and security wouldn’t have to make monitoring the lunch line as big of a concern.

One of the problems with implementing scattered stations would be the cost of the equipment for keeping the food edible, keeping track of students, and having lunch staff thinly stretched. Weather would be a challenge for these scattered stations, but canopies are a relatively cheap solution to it. For keeping the food edible, coolers and other packaging could be given to these individual stations. The equipment needed to keep track of students could be financed by fundraisers, along with everything else stated. The point of these stations would not be to serve huge amounts of food comparable to the cafeteria, but to divert students from the main lines at the cafeteria. The cost of all of this is certainly worth it for AHS students that get lunch at school, because they should have time to eat, socialize, and do the things they enjoy. Relieving the number of students in the main lines would help the students get lunch faster and relieve AHS staff from extra patrolling duties. 

The problem at AHS definitely needs to be fixed, because it’s not fair to students at AHS that want to get lunch by following the rules. Perhaps over the summer, AHS could implement fixes and put security resources elsewhere for a safer campus.


Photo courtesy of Michael Hum