Students vs. Admin: Red Bags and Tables

For those of you who have not noticed a change in the SAS cafeteria since the beginning of the year, there have been a few policies changes that students are trying to push back on. The two biggest are keeping your sports bags, lunch boxes, and any type of bag on to the side or under the tables and the table change in the senior section, having a table missing from the end that was there at the beginning of this year.  “Because SAS does have so many things that everybody involved in, there are a few things  that each individual places have something they take pride in, when those are taken away from us and we don’t really see the clarity behind that, especially on the first day of senior year, it was almost like they (the administration) was asking for trouble.” Senior Willow Martin.

Within the first day of school, you could find a handful of Varsity athletes looking for their bags 

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Mr.Ly confiscating bags from the Caf. Video by Devon Yem, Gif by Sydney Dumke

in the front office as well as getting a warning for detention. The students were not told these new policies about bags and have been told by the administration “In season athletes please remember you can drop your bags in the training room” or that they can carry their bags around with them to class. On Friday, August 31 Vice Principal Mr. Ly sent out an email to the whole student body titled Our Cafeteria in this email Mr.Ly stated: “After talking with several students and reflecting, we feel we could have done a better job of informing you all that we were going to be strictly enforcing the rule.  We believe in the rule because we want the cafeteria to be a more welcoming and safe space for everyone. But we really should have communicated the change more proactively. This did not need to be such an unpleasant surprise for so many of you.” 

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A varsity bag and backpack sitting at a table in the senior section. Picture credit Sydney Dumke

Next tables, students, mainly seniors have been frustrated with the new seating arrangement upstairs in the caf having tables moved on the second day of school. The tables along that rail we moved because of a “security issue” After a few days of going back and forth moving a table into the spot for the lunch block and a broken bike lock later a sign was put up in that exact spot saying: “For safety reasons, a table cannot be placed here. Please note also the students are not permitted to move any of the cafeteria furniture.” 

“For safety reasons, a table cannot be placed here. Please note also that students are not permitted to move any of the cafeteria furniture.”

Reading this some students took it upon themselves to measure according to the standards and regulations about how much room is needed and the measurements showed that when the table was both horizontal and vertical along the railing there was more than enough room according to the regulations. Some parents decided to take it upon themselves to talk to Mr. Ly, however, not much came out of the meetings. Students are still trying to push back on these policies with things such as the student forum brought out surveys during lunch and had questions for people to answer and explain why they want what they wanted to push back on, rather than just letting the situation go. I asked some of the upperclassmen on What their view is on the situation with the tables in the Caf? “I don’t think they thought it out very well because there are 1200 kids in the high school an I think the caf was built for maybe 600; so I feel there need to be more tables. I do understand that some of the tables were rearranged due to safety hazards, but I think there should be an alternative.” Senior Catherine Edds another senior adds in, “If you’re trying to break down barriers there are these natural barriers that are formed in high school, that people help like-minded people out so if you try to break those down artificially it’s not going to work.”

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One of the two signs that Mr. Ly put up on the railing. Picture Credit: Sydney Dumke

According to the High School Student Handbook under the section about the cafeteria: Several food options are available in at SAS. While in the cafeteria, students are expected to be respectful of other people, the cleaning staff and the facility. Please do not sit on the tables, leave food or trash, leave bags unattended, throw food or other objects, or play music audible to other cafeteria patrons.  Please also keep conversations at a reasonable volume. Consistently violating our cafeteria norms may result in disciplinary action.

The debate between the administration and the students is still ongoing.

Author: Sydney Dumke

Sydney Dumke is a senior at SAS and her first year working at the eye. Sydney was born in Texas, but has lived in in Hawaii, Italy, Washington State, Florida, and Guam. SAS is her 10th school. Sydney plays for the Varsity soccer and Softball team. Some of her favorite things to do are make YouTube videos and watching Netflix, and photography. She can be contacted at dumke49144@sas.edu.sg

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