One semester after Glendale Unified revised the open lunch policy at Crescenta Valley High School, there were fewer suspensions and incidents stemming from student off-campus lunchtime jaunts than in the previous semester, district officials reported this week.
In all, there were 11 fewer suspensions in spring 2012 than the semester before.
The school board revised the lunch policy in January to require parental permission in order for students to leave the campus for lunch.
Before the change, 18 Crescenta Valley students were suspended and officials recorded 14 incidents involving students fighting or misbehaving during the open lunch.
Under the new policy, there were just seven suspensions and four incidents related to the open lunch period.
School board member Mary Boger said the initial discussion over the open lunch began with concern over student involvement with drugs during the lunch period.
“We were not concerned with tardies or absences. We were concerned with the extraordinary number of students we were seeing on an expulsion basis that dealt directly with the use of drugs,” she said.
Deputy Supt. John Garcia said officials will continue to monitor suspensions, tardiness and absences following lunch after seeing a slight decrease in absences that was “not monumental,” but “leading in the right direction.”
School board member Nayiri Nahabedian said she wants to examine lunch policies among the district’s other high schools. The Hoover campus was closed in 1992 and open lunch at Glendale High was eliminated in 1994.
“Whether personally I am for an open campus or not, I really need to have a good reason why Glendale High School, for example, would not have this opportunity for its students where CV High School would,” she said.
School board member Greg Krikorian disagreed with examining the difference.
“Every school has a different culture,” he said, and added his support for maintaining Crescenta Valley’s open lunch.
“We put the onus on the students to be responsible. Here’s the opportunity for them to take it,” he said.
School board president Christine Walters said she did not want to encourage any additional students in the district to leave campus.
“I still believe the safest place to be is at school. My preference is not to be more permissive than what we are now,” she said.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan