Open lunch fuels complaints: Georgetown Square’s reaction


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the many restaurant chains located in Georgetown Square nearby the school.

Many community members and local businesses have complained about student behavior during open lunch.
WJ is one of the many schools in Montgomery County that provides open lunch for students and it is a policy that has been reinforced for years. Most students and staff members love open lunch and use it to their best advantage. Not just to eat lunch but also to take a break and unwind from the school day. Many students will walk to Giant or hang around Georgetown Square with their friends.

“I just like the idea of not being stuck in school,” sophomore Laura Mackie said. “If you want to go home and eat you can or if you just want to get away from school for a bit. It gives students freedom.”

The first day of the 2018-2019 school year, Principal Jennifer Baker reminded students to be cautious of other community members during open lunch hours. Despite this warning, Baker received various emails and phone calls, community members have complained about students cutting in line, having no respect of other people and stealing items from local stores.

In an email written to Baker, a customer complained of students not letting her through with her cart at Giant and blocking her car by not using the sidewalk to walk back to school. Another community member called the school, complaining about students who were being disrespectful at Giant and Subway. Students were unwilling to move so other people could walk, speaking foul language and playing around at the registers.

“The people of WJ need to be more respectful to the shoppers at Georgetown Square because most of the time the students will say stuff to disrupt the peace of the people trying to get lunch,” junior Will Goudie said.

Though students are encouraged to use open lunch as a time to relax from the school day and have fun with friends, it is advised that they should still be mindful of their actions when on and off school premises.

“I think the benefits of open lunch far outweigh [the] very small percentage of [negative] things that students might do out in the community,” Baker said. “But I like to remind people that [places like Giant and Georgetown Square] aren’t our campus even though it may feel like an extended campus at lunch time.”