L-D High School to remain closed lunch campus for grades 9-11

Underclassmen will have to stay in school during lunch, as the Lead-Deadwood School Board followed a recommendation to do so.

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LEAD — Most students will have to stay put when the lunch bell rings at Lead-Deadwood High School.

Citing safety concerns with time constraints, following a discussion introduced by Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Leikvold, the Lead-Deadwood Board of Education expressed a desire for the district’s high school lunch to remain closed campus for grades 9-11. 

“You have our support,” said School Board Member Bob Nelson, Jr.

Leikvold began the discussion by asking the board if they had any interest in opening up the campus for lunch to ninth, 10th, and 11th graders.

Currently open lunch is for 12th graders only.

“Over the course of the last couple of years, we have a lot of challenges to that approach and parents are of the opinion that they can excuse their kid from lunch whenever the heck they want, and they can go and do whatever they want, whether it’s drive 60 miles an hour to Taco John’s and back, which, I don’t think is great for a 14- or 15-year-old. Probably not great for a 17-year-old,” Leikvold said. 

He said with the “vaping epidemic going on,” he is certain many students are heading into town and vaping while away from school.

“The problem is, whether or not we want our school lunch program to be viable or not,” he said. “It can’t operate with people coming and going as they please with unpredictability, how many kids are going to be there, where they’re going to be there.”

Leikvold, who is also the high school principal for the time, mandated that ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students must stay on campus and that they must be in the cafeteria.

“And if your grandma shows up and wants to take you out for lunch for awhile, or your older sibling comes back from college and wants to go out for lunch with you, they need to call ahead of time, meaning in the morning, and then, you need to come down and sign out and leave,” Leikvold said. 

He said in the last year, some students left and then their parents called at 2 p.m. to excuse them. In some cases parents called to excuse their students for lunch for the rest of the year.

“We told them ‘no,’” Leikvold said. “So, I am throwing it out to you. Do you want me to open lunch? And if the answer is no, then I need help.”

Leikvold said help in the form of telling parents that if students don’t like cafeteria food, they can bring their own, but unknown and unpredictable numbers make the lunch program hard to operate.

If students and parents insist that the food is unacceptable or that the social situation at lunch is unbearable, there is another option.

“We will give them an alternative,” Leikvold said. “The option we’re going to give them is the CABIN. They can go eat up there.”

School board member Tera Mau said she didn’t see any reason for seniors to leave, either.

“I like the idea of doing it for all grades,” Mau said. “I know that’s tough, but if we’re telling the rest of them they can’t leave, why should seniors get to?”

“I just want to throw it out there and it’s not going away and it’s not easy in 2019,” Leikvold said. 

“I think it’s fine for them to stay there,” said School Board Member Amber Diers. “I think it’s a safety thing. They should stay in the school.”

The board decided to follow Leikvold’s recommendation.

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