SMART Lunch is suspended. Here’s what we know:

Students in the cafeteria listen to an announcement from Assistant Principal Bradshaw during A-Lunch. Photo by Isaac Janiak Stein

SMART Lunch has been temporarily suspended until further notice due to the numerous fights that have occurred at the beginning of this semester. 

Riverside will return to the three-bell schedule used before the hour-long lunch periods beginning in Lunch in 2019. 

The first people that were informed of this change were teachers. At 4:09 pm on September 22, an email was sent out to Riverside staff stating that the school will now operate on a three-bell schedule, which splits the school into three separate lunch groups for 40-minute lunch periods. 

At 5:30 pm a call was sent out to Riverside families. 

“We are very proud of our SMART Lunch program, but we have had some recent concerning incidents during lunchtime that do not meet our standards of respectful behavior between fellow students,” Woods-Weeks stated in the announcement. “As a result, I am temporarily suspending SMART Lunch and providing continued opportunities for our students to learn our expectations so that they can regain access to SMART Lunch.”

The first time students were directly informed of the change to their schedule was during daily announcements at the beginning of second period, at around 10:45 am. Woods-Weeks outlined both the expected procedure for the day as well as the reasoning behind her decision. 

“It is our expectation that students will rise to the occasion,” Woods-Weeks said over the loudspeaker. “We are dependent on you to do that. To those of you who are doing exactly what you are supposed to do, we thank you and we regret that you have to make the temporary adjustment for the good of our school community.”

She did not clarify what would happen with the clubs and tutoring activities that typically take place during SMART Lunch. 

“We will reset, revamp our program, have those conversations with students who we need to have conversations with,” Woods-Weeks said. “There will be assemblies, and it is our goal that we can get back to fully implementing our smart lunch program as quickly as we possibly can.”

Students eat and socialize outside the cafeteria. During lunch, students were restricted to being in the cafeteria, right outside the cafeteria, or off campus if they have a lunch leave pass. Photo by Isaac Janiak Stein

At the end of the announcements, Woods-Weeks appealed directly to the student body. 

“But I need your help, I need your cooperation, and I need your participation,” she said. “If you have any ideas that you want to share, please know our doors are open, and we welcome to hear from each and everyone of you. You, too, have a voice in this. But sometimes, as a leader, there are executive decisions that need to be made immediately for the good of the entire school body. And I hope you can respect that.”

A FAQ was shared with staff at 11:37 am that provided further information about the bell schedule, where students should go for lunch and lunch detention, and lunch duty schedules. Additionally, it clarified that tutoring and clubs are expected to take place from 8:45 to 9:15 before class begins. 

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