A discussion about the safety of allowing food deliveries to students at La Cañada High School and whether the campus should be open or closed was held on Tuesday night.
The Safety, Security and Well-Being Task Force held the talk at the La Cañada Unified School District offices but made no decisions.
The task force is taking information and recommendations from five subcommittees that include students, parents, administrators and board members to create a district plan regarding well-being, safety and security.
The delivery of students’ food orders, popularized by apps such as Uber Eats and Postmates, was the subject of a report by the LCHS Open vs. Closed Campus Lunch Subcommittee.
District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said there is no policy regarding food delivery services on district campuses.
“We have situations where adults are on campus and we don’t know who they are,” Sinnette said. “We need to know who is on our campus.”
Sinnette said the lunch subcommittee had recommended the task force not make a decision on the topic but instead let the high school determine its policy, possibly at an LCHS Discipline Committee meeting. The lunch subcommittee believes there should be a policy either allowing or prohibiting such deliveries.
“Ideally, we would have a policy in place for the 2019-20 school year and we would be asking the Discipline Review Committee that meets twice a year in second semester to articulate the campus policy,” Sinnette said after the meeting.
LCHS senior Adin Ryssdal, who is on the campus security subcommittee, was asked what students would think about the possibility of not allowing deliveries and closing the campus. Students may leave campus to eat lunch, but they must have a permit.
“Oh, they’re not happy at all,” Ryssdal said. He said that school cafeteria tables are full and that getting away for a half-hour lunch is a “big wellness thing” at LCHS. “Being stuck on campus all day is rough. … [Getting away] is a stress-relieving time.”
The lunch subcommittee also wants to implement a new policy that prohibits freshmen and sophomores from going off campus for lunch in the 2019-20 school year. The current policy, Sinnette said, “suggests” that freshmen and sophomores not be allowed to leave campus and is not clear, she said.
Once the policy for freshmen and sophomores is in place, it would be phased in as sophomores become juniors. Starting in the 2021-22 school year, juniors would not be allowed to go off campus for lunch and the school could determine at that time whether it has a closed campus or one that allows seniors to leave the grounds.
“We would be phasing it in so it’s not causing immediate shock to any student,” Sinnette said.
Another recommendation included moving a student parking lot to the front of the high school, and moving staff parking to the Oak Grove Drive lot.
Having a student lot at the front of the school, Sinnette said, would allow the school to better monitor students as they leave or return to campus. In the current drop-off and pick-up designs, parents pick up their kids in a lot where students are parking and exiting.
LCUSD board member Dan Jeffries said suggestions made at the workshop speak to the larger issue of an open or closed campus.
“I don’t know what the community is feeling,” Jeffries said.
The final priority list included fencing at all school sites with the goals of having a single entry point during instructional hours and supporting joint use after hours.
Interim LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said when he first arrived at the district in 2003 from Pasadena High School, he had heard from a mentor that LCHS would “never” look like that campus, where Cartnal went through a metal detector and fencing every day.
The next task force meeting is scheduled for April 9, when recommendations will be prioritized. A final review and approval are expected at a meeting on May 2.