DHS to transition to closed campus lunch

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Decatur High School students will have a closed campus for lunch next school year.
Decatur ISD trustees voted unanimously Monday night to close the campus starting with the 2018-19 school year after receiving an update from Superintendent Judi Whitis on dining options, facilities and scheduling.
Currently, sophomores, juniors and seniors are allowed to leave campus for lunch.
“This is a discussion that’s taken place for quite some time, and it’s based on the security and safety of students,” said Decatur School Board President Wade Watson.
The decision comes almost three weeks after a Decatur student was involved in a lunchtime accident on Hale Street that killed a man and injured a woman. The student was charged with manslaughter last week for running a stop sign and exceeding the speed limit.
“That’s certainly a factor in the decision. It’s time to do it,” Watson said.
Whitis went over options to increase the seating capacity in the cafeteria. The district may look at alternative seating in the future classroom addition or in a picnic area.
She also mentioned the school was looking at alternatives to the traditional lunch room, including a bistro area offering grab-and-go options for students throughout the day.
Whitis said the Director of Child Nutrition Shelly Laaser has been involved with planning food options.
The school will need to adjust scheduling with two or three lunch periods between 11:30 a.m. and 1:05 p.m.
Trustees will hold a May 7 workshop at the high school to look at facilities.
“Considering all aspects of student safety — kids are under our care before they come to school and throughout the school day ­— I think it’s very wise,” Whitis said about the change to a closed campus. “The other side of that is all the logistics we have to think about to effectively and efficiently make it happen.
“We want a smooth transition and want to make it appealing and provide healthy options to kids. It’s what we make it with variety and options we provide for kids.”
Trustee Rex Hoskins, who seconded the motion to close the campus, said it was time for the change.
“I wanted to make sure the kids had a place to eat and we could feed them.”

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