Lunch passes are a rip off

Lexi Kava, Entertainment Editor

As the new semester just rolled in, so did the deadline for buying a new lunch pass. Students scramble through their wallets and backpacks, desperate to find five dollars, and for what? To be able to leave the school at lunch, that’s what. In a calculation a rough estimate of $9,600 dollars was concluded as the amount the school profits from just our student lunch passes alone. What are we paying for with this money?

This tiny sticker costs $20 per year. The school estimates that they sell about 450 per year. If all of these are purchased for all 4 semesters, that’s over $9600! Photo by Lexi Kava.

The concept of having to buy a new lunch pass EVERY quarter is so much of a scam that it’s almost criminal. As if it’s not enough to shake us free of $20 just to park in the school parking lot, the school also has to steal $20 more dollars from every student who just wants to go to lunch every quarter. Going to lunch is a rite of passage earned by upperclassmen, so why do we have to pay for it? This is pathetic and wrong.

Juniors and seniors have reached the age where most parents make them pay for their own gas and school needs, parking and lunch passes included.  This means that Northern is basically stealing $40 a year from every junior and senior, who most likely has to pay for it themselves from their minimum wage job or beg their parents for some cash. It is in incredibly unfair concept.

Going to school is a requirement by law. We have no choice to be here, so the school taking advantage of that is infuriating. For those of us who have to drive due to extra curriculars or having to get younger siblings ready for school in the morning, we have no choice but to park in this parking lot, so the school makes us pay for it. It is a rite of passage for the upperclassmen to be able to leave at lunch, but they make us pay for that too. It is a pathetic way for the school to steal money from broke high schoolers.

Not only do you have to pay for the ability to leave at lunch, you apparently also have to pay the school $5 a quarter just to be able to sit in your own car. Because paying $20 to park there wasn’t enough, the school needs $20 more dollars to let you sit  there at lunch. Just when it looks like the whole situation just couldn’t get more pitiful, they have people parolling the parking lot during the beginning of the quarter, kicking people out of their cars who didn’t have a pass, even if they didn’t leave the school. Senior Lexi Miller said “I think [lunch passes] are awful. I pay $20 for a parking pass for on campus parking, but have to pay 5 dollars for a off campus lunch pass to even just eat lunch in my car. I was taken out of my car just because I didn’t have my lunch pass in the middle of my lunch.”

Now some in favor of the passes may argue that they are for the purpose of safety. I agree that something like a sticker should be put on student IDs for safety and legal  purposes, however, the only requirement for that should be permission from the student’s parents, not money. The amount of money a person has already dictates enough in people’s lives. Schools are supposed to level that playing field and having policies that exchange money for privileges is the complete opposite of this.

Fundraising is the school’s major reason for charging money to park and leave at lunch. When asked, a school representative indicated that the money from parking passes was being used for a variety of purposes, including the GRIT program and the freshman motivational speaker. Now I’m all for giving the freshmen a little motivation, but why should the juniors and seniors have to pay for it? Start a fundraiser somewhere else or ask freshmen parents for money for freshmen guest speakers, but essentially forcing the juniors and seniors to pay for it is wrong. “For seniors, 4th quarter passes are a waste of money because we aren’t even here for half the time anyway. Also, after a week goes by they don’t even check anymore. Essentially the school is getting 40 from each car. Have more fundraisers. People are willing to donate if they aren’t being scammed,” said Miller.

The concept of the lunch pass is a complete and utter scam to the point of feeling criminal. The school is cheating senior and junior students out of $40 a year just to park in the parking lot, and go to lunch. It is infuriating and it needs to end.