San Clemente High School will close its campus during lunch beginning this fall in an effort to ensure student safety and avoid misbehavior in the community.
Students will no longer be allowed to walk or drive to local restaurants to eat during their 35-minute lunch breaks. Instead, the school’s 2,000 students will be restricted to buying food from the cafeteria or other campus vendors.
School officials said the policy is a preventive measure that will allow them to better supervise the students. Although safety generally has not been a problem, officials did not want to wait for an accident or a disturbance or other problem at a restaurant before acting.
San Clemente High is the last campus in the Capistrano Unified School District to adopt such a policy. Aliso Niguel High opened as a closed campus in 1993, Capistrano Valley High School closed its campus in 1986 and Dana Hills High permits students to leave campus only with a pass, district spokeswoman Jackie Price said.
According to the new policy, San Clemente students will be expected to remain on campus once they arrive at school. Students who do not have classes scheduled for the end of the day will receive identification labels giving them permission to leave earlier.
“I was really disappointed,” San Clemente High student Anne Walls, 17, said of the new policy. “I thought there weren’t as many problems as the administrators thought.”
Marcy Tillman, owner of McBumps Yogurt in Gateway Shopping Plaza, said she has never had a problem with San Clemente students in the 2 1/2 years her business has been located across from the school.