Chandler High School: The Debate Over Off-Campus Lunch

Gabby Miller and Angela Carlton

Chandler High School has maintained its academic reputation since its primary structure (Old Main building) was established in 1922. Throughout those decades, Chandler High has significantly expanded their campus and remains in the top 50% of Arizonian schools when it comes to standardized test scores. This CUSD school currently has 3,294 enrolled students for the school year 2022-2023, along with the largest freshman class. 

At the start of tenth grade, students are given the ability to leave campus during their given lunch and purchase from nearby restaurants. Tenth to twelve grade students may walk off campus in order to go to any nearby restaurant in Downtown Chandler. Several local businesses that are around Chandler High are Elmer’s Tacos, ShareTea, Truland, Jack in The Box, and Little Caesar’s. Many students look forward to going off campus during lunch time, as they may prefer other food options that the school cafeteria does not offer. However, this may all change in the following years. Chandler High School is currently reviewing the policy having to do with off-campus lunch. World History and US Government teacher, Trevor Hammond, points out that the privilege to leave campus during lunch is a “big part of the high school experience,” but he also acknowledges the drawback to allowing students to hold such independence. Ensuring that students are in a safe environment is definitely a priority for every school, especially for an open-campus school like Chandler High. Based on Mr. Hammond’s feedback, we feel that CHS will eventually remove off-campus lunch. 

We posted a poll on Instagram under the official Wolf Howl account, consisting of two multiple choice questions and an open-answer poll. The goal for this poll series was to obtain as many opinions from Chandler High students as possible. Out of the fifty responses, we found that 58% of students either frequently or always leave campus for lunch. Both ShareTea and Elmer’s Tacos are preferred the most by approximately 80% of the fifty-six student responses. The open-answer poll asked CHS Instagram users to state how they would feel if off-campus lunch was taken away. One user said “That would be really disappointing. And it would really affect local companies”, and another said, “I’d protest for it to be open again.” Meanwhile one student states “I would prefer lunch if it were to close.” After reviewing each individual answer, it was evident that the majority of CHS students would not be happy if the school transitioned to a closed campus. 

At this moment, it is quite difficult to determine whether or not this event will play out for the following school years. However, there is a chance that the school year 2022-2023 will be the last one to uphold off-campus lunch for tenth graders and above. Not only will this affect students, but it will also affect local businesses who financially depend on student purchases. Additionally, it is not known if Chandler High would be able to handle the need for every student to buy school lunch. Many aspects will change if the school decides to officially remove off-campus lunch for everyone.

Photo by Gabby Miller
Photo by Gabby Miller