Lunch Frustration: Construction, Traffic Congestion and Food Options Garner Complaints


Maci Weathers, Staff Writer

The Randall campus is quiet and orderly. Then, the 12:22 p.m. bell rings. The flood gates open, and teenage drivers pour out of the parking lot like they’re fleeing a natural disaster. It’s lunch break at Randall High and it’s best to avoid the roads.

Many student complaints are associated with the lunch period: Construction, heavy traffic, food options, and the amount of time students have for lunch are among a few. When it comes to lunch, most everyone has a suggestion on how to fix these problems, but Principal Steven Singleton sat down with us to explain what can and cannot be changed.

Complaint 1: The lunch period is shorter this year- Prior to implementing Flex Time, the second lunch period was 12:09- 12:59 p.m. Now, second lunch is 12:22- 1:05 p.m., a difference of seven minutes. Seven minutes is a lot of time when you think about it in small tasks: the amount of time it takes to walk to your car, get out of a congested parking lot or drive to a nearby food establishment. Is it possible to add seven minutes back by either taking minutes off Flex Time or taking away the five minutes between first and second lunch?

Singleton’s Response:  Singleton said because of the size of Randall and for sanitary reasons, the schedule set in place is the best fit for Randall High School. Due to state law, which requires a minimum of 48 minute class periods, class periods cannot be cut to accommodate a longer lunch. In addition, the five minute clean up period between first and second lunch is needed for sanitary reasons. To help keep the cafeteria in health compliance, the janitors need this time to clean up and prepare for second lunch. Shaving time off Flex Time is not something he said he wants to do, as it is essential for struggling students to have that extra time with their teachers and for special events such as assemblies.

Complaint 2: Construction and increased enrollment delays traffic.- According to TX Dot, construction is going to be a long-term problem. In addition, student enrollment is at an all time high. More students, means more hallway and traffic congestion, and congestion means delayed commute times. Can anything be done?

Singleton’s Response: Singleton said he has been working with TX Dot to set up safe ways for students to get in and out of Randall. A sidewalk has been built for students who walk to places like Pak-a-Sak and McDonald’s. To offset construction and traffic delays, Singleton suggested that students plan ahead for lunch. A few options are to use apps that allow you to pre-order food, or have a parent drop off food at school. Singleton also suggested that students be patient and drive safely in order to help make lunch at Randall a better experience.

Complaint 3: Pricey, not-so-great on-campus food options, and limited off-campus food establishments- The food on-campus is not always great and can be expensive. Often, students can get more bang for their buck at off-campus establishments. If the goal is to get more students to stay on campus for lunch, then could more lines and more appealing food options be brought in?

Singleton’s Response:  Recently, students were encouraged to fill out a survey which allowed students a chance to voice feedback about the food offered at school. Singleton suggests that students give their honest opinion about in-school lunches in order to change what is offered in the lunch lines. As for off campus options, Singleton suggested that students keep this in mind: If you don’t have time to eat there, then why go there? He suggested to eat somewhere close and plan ahead, and discouraged students from eating while driving.