What makes RBHS diverse from other high schools in Columbia is that RBHS has always been known for our motto: freedom with responsibility. For years, seniors and juniors have had the upper hand when it comes to having freedom at RBHS. All students have a lunch period and most students receive a free period in their schedule, allowing them to study for classes and leave school to eat. Despite the fact that all grades have lunch and a free period, only juniors and seniors are allowed to leave campus. While some students are allowed to leave to go out to eat and use their AUT for important things, underclassmen like Amanda Andrews are forced to stay at school.
“It’s ridiculous that sophomores aren’t allowed to leave because really, what is the difference between a sophomore leaving and a junior?” Andrews said. “Some sophomores are the same ages as juniors and have their license so it doesn’t really make sense. I can get that upperclassmen are more mature, but some of them aren’t and the fact is that being a sophomore should entitle more responsibility and freedom.”
Despite the fact that sophomores are not allowed to leave campus during lunch and AUT, some leave anyway, going against CPS rules. Typically when a sophomore leaves RBHS when they are not supposed to and the student is caught, the school will contact that students parents, according to assistant principal, Dr. Tim Baker but some students can get away with leaving, like sophomore Dalton Nunamaker.
“I’ll leave for Aut and lunch because I think I deserve to with my good attendance, participation in extracurriculars, and grades. I just go out to eat and sometimes I have to go home and get something like yesterday I had to go get my lunch from my house so I was able to eat, “ Nunamaker said. “I’ve never gotten in trouble for leaving. Last year one of my friends got in trouble but nothing really happened so I don’t know how enforced it really is. I think the rule is ridiculous and trustworthy students with good grades and attendance should be able to leave campus on off hours or lunch.”
Despite the negative views on the policy, Baker has said that there has not been a problem with students leaving during AUT or lunch.
“As far as I know we haven’t had any issues with students leaving this school year,” Baker said. “If we find out someone leaves, the first thing we would do is probably contact their parents but secondly, if it was a continued thing, we’d issue some consequences eventually.
Originally the plan was that RBHS would be a closed campus all around and students would not be allowed to leave at all. The decision for freshmen and sophomores to stay on school grounds was a compromise made by the school board instead of all classes being unable to leave.
“A compromise was made that just freshmen and sophomores hadn’t quite reached the level of maturity yet to where, as a parent to feel like they were safe outside of school. It was a safety issue more than anything else,” Baker said. “Personally, I have mixed emotions about the issue [of freshmen and sophomores leaving]. I am a parent myself and I feel like my kid could handle leaving campus for lunch but I fully respect other parents who just think: ‘You know what, I want my kid supervised from school starts until the end and I support those parents.’”
By Caylea Ray
Photos by Devesh Kumar