Open lunch: Juniors and seniors at Marietta High School have it, their Belpre counterparts are getting it, and some students at Fort Frye High School want it.
"Since we have (grades) seven to 12 in one school, I think it would be nice to let the juniors and seniors have open lunch," said Fort Frye senior Abby Morgan. "Seniors get treated the same way as seventh-graders."
Safety is one reason schools opt for closed lunches, but Fort Frye senior Drew Layton thinks there's an easy way to address the risks brought on by increased traffic around lunch time.
"I think we could have it here, and they'd just let us walk to the places and that would take away a lot of the accidents," he said. "That way you don't have to worry about a whole lot of people trying to drive."
Restaurants like Subway and McDonald's are within easy walking distance of the Beverly high school, Layton said.
Morgan would prefer driving.
"McDonald's is kind of a far walk if we only have half an hour to get back," she said.
For now, the discussion is purely academic. High school Assistant Principal Beth Brown said opening lunch is not under consideration at this time.
In Belpre, however, seniors who meet certain requirements will once again have that opportunity, perhaps as soon as Oct. 1.
"I think it'd be amazing," said Belpre senior Hayden Lowe.
Lowe said lunch gets crowded at the high school, and there are plenty of restaurants within easy driving distance. That means students wouldn't have to rush to get their lunch. Lowe said he doesn't think open lunch would mean an extra safety risk, noting accidents can happen anytime people are driving.
Belpre junior Cayden Blizzard said he hopes to see the privilege extended to juniors as well, something that is being discussed. Because students will have to meet some requirements to earn open lunch, he said it's a reward to those who are responsible, as well as a potential learning experience.
"I feel it's a good boundary relinquish ... to not only teach the child to manage their time but (that) with good duties come good perks," Blizzard said.
Marietta High School students enjoy the open lunch privilege, and many recognize the responsibility that comes with it.
"It's kind of your own responsibility to make sure that you don't make bad mistakes," said junior Kelsey Adkins, who eats lunch off-campus from time to time.
Senior Austin Muir said open lunch represents "freedom," but sometimes it's a time crunch.
"Forty-five minutes isn't enough time to get out of class, get food and get back," he said, before revising his statement: "It is enough time, but it's kind of stressful."
Junior Amanda Chalfant makes a 10-minute drive home for lunch and said she's been able to get home, eat and get back to school with no problems.
"I have so far; so it's working out," she said.
Frontier High School senior Garrett Buegel said he would "go out to eat every day" if he had the option. But with the school located on Ohio 7 between Newport and New Matamoras and a half-hour lunch period, there's not a realistic lunchtime destination, even if it was allowed.
"We aren't close enough to anywhere to have open lunch," he said.
Frontier freshman Kylie McIver may be one of the only students at the school who could walk home for lunch if the school had open lunch periods. She said she likes that idea.
"Then we don't have to be stuck in the school all day," she said.