Don't forget to pack a lunch

Talk to any senior at Saranac Lake High School, and s/he will tell you that one of the best parts of the school day is lunch. Then, ask them why they like their lunch period so much. Chances are, their answer will somehow involve their off-campus privileges. Why not? Its a rare treat to leave campus on your own free will, and the freedom gives students a taste of life after secondary school; that glimpse into college life is an important one, too. Bruce Van Weelden, principal of SLHS, wants to take that privilege away. At a recent school board meeting, he said that numerous car accidents involving students have occurred during this time period. Because these accidents happened during school hours, the school is liable. Van Weelden made his comments at the urging of the schools insurance provider, Utica National. He was backed by local and state police, as well as a good portion of the schools staff. Theres no question that the school needs to cover its bases in situations like this after all, faculty and staff are paid to provide students with safety and structure, in addition to an education. However, what else do all high schoolers nationwide hear day-in and day-out? We are preparing you for the future. You wont get away with work like that in college. Act your age. Sound familiar? Acting your age, at 17 and 18, means studying hard, working for hourly wages, being responsible for your actions driving. Take away off-campus privileges, under the guise of liability issues, flies in the face of everything that teachers preach to students every day of the week. It says we dont trust you to drive to Owls Nest to get a slice of pizza. It says the school is more concerned about covering its behind than it is in grooming its students for the future. Of course, some students lose their off-campus privileges for legitimate reasons. Perhaps getting in a car accident should be one such reason. And dont the students need to sign a permission slip to leave campus anyway? Why not add a disclaimer to the bottom of the slip that says the school is not responsible for personal injury while students are not on the premises? Ultimately, the school not the parents or the students gets the final say in the matter. Lets just hope that all sides get to make their case and that all avenues are considered before a great building block for the future is taken away from these students. Chris Morris is the news editor at Denton Publications. He can be reached at chrism@denpubs.com

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