Pick the Picnic

LSE students should be allowed to enjoy lunch outdoors


Maren Steinke, Co-Editor-in-Chief

If we’re being honest with ourselves, screen time for high schoolers is at an all time high. We get up, go to school (usually by driving), are in school for an average of eight hours a day, spending a majority of that time on our Chromebooks, then after the bell rings we go our separate ways. Some to sports practice, some to theater, speech, debate, or the library to study. Later, we go home, eat dinner, do homework, shower, sleep, repeat. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, homework and showers are very important things, as well as having an established routine. But one thing is lacking; relaxed time outdoors. Sure, there’s track practice and maybe a walk to or from school, but the majority of American high schoolers aren’t getting enough time outside. Even younger kids are being drawn more and more indoors, with more than half of the parent respondents in a New York Post survey saying that they’re worried that their kids aren’t playing outside enough. And while we aren’t kids anymore, do we still need our fun outdoor time?

The answer is yes, we do. Vitamin D isn’t only good for your skin (with the proper protection – SPF), but your mind too. Countless studies have provided undeniable facts: spending time outside boosts moods, success in school and can improve the relationships you have with the people you spend that time with. It’s science! But fitting time to spend time outdoors is hard in our crammed busy lives, much less relaxing. That is, unless you’re able to eat lunch outdoors. 

Currently, only juniors and seniors are allowed to leave the school building during lunch time, most leaving to pick up some fast food. Southeast used to allow students to eat outdoors, according to Associate Principal Crystal Folden-Lapin, however, this is no longer an option. The main reason that we no longer have the option to eat lunch outside is lack of adequate supervision, according to Folden-Lapin, as well as not having tables for students to sit outdoors. While these are both valid concerns, so is the need for students to have adequate outdoor time. 

Even Principal Tanner Penrod agrees, stating, “I most definitely understand the benefits of having time outdoors during the day. From a physical and mental health standpoint, this option would indeed be beneficial.” 

As Folden-Lapin stated, the primary issue comes down to needing adequate supervision. “Due to an incredibly tight staffing budget, we’ve had to make some tough decisions regarding staffing at LSE.” 

With all this in mind, there is a potential solution; pick the picnic. If we allowed students to bring picnic blankets and just sit on the ground, it would eliminate the need for costly seating. If a large number of students are interested, staff could potentially close off a part of the lunch area, decreasing the need for security inside and potentially moving two staff members outside. Students could also still scan in and out, to prevent them from leaving campus. This would let students safely enjoy the sunshine during their lunch period while staff are still keeping an eye on people both inside and out. While April is finally warming up to the 70 degree weather we know and love, we should be able to get outside and enjoy it, a la picnic!