Opinion | Simple solutions to North Cafeteria’s long lunch line issue

The wait to enter North Cafeteria has been a disaster since day one of the school year. With the loss of a lunch period due to the switch to block scheduling, the lunch room filled up fast, and with no plan to counter it, ETHS was left with underclassmen eating in the hallways on their first day. Since then, ETHS Safety uses just one person to scan in a packed line of hungry high schoolers while checking each and every one to make sure they’re in the right place. There are also additional members who are there to make sure everyone stays on the left side of the highway. It seems more important for ETHS to make kids wait 15 minutes to get into lunch then have some students walk to the front of the line.

At first, people just didn’t respect the banisters that were supposed to mark the lunch line. They would just walk towards the door and scan in to avoid the long wait. Even though the same amount of people were entering the cafeteria, the line still seemed to move faster and the lunchroom was full in just a few minutes. But a little over a month ago, safety decided that the hallway needed to stay clear, so the five people walking from the cut could get through the hallway easier. Safety posted another member to make sure no one ducked under the barriers or cut into the line. Just two minutes into the passing period, the line is already spewing out into the main North Wing hallway. 

Since the stricter rules from Safety, more students just abandon the lunch line to eat elsewhere, and the students unfortunate enough to have a class far away from North are stuck at the back of a cramped line waiting for 15 minutes just to eat. All of this so some students can walk down a barely used hallway in a little more peace. On Mondays when the lunch period is shortened, a 15-minute wait can only give students 20 minutes to eat and interact with their friends that they might only get to see every other day. 

“It’s consistently long every day,” said junior Noah Buntain. “At first, I was confused and annoyed but now I expect it.”

On one day, Safety didn’t even start to scan people in until after the bell had rang. By that point, the line was five people wide, and spilling into the hallway. Everyone was trying to sneak under the barrier without being caught, and people were being shoved out of line and pushed backward. By the time the line was finished, I had already eaten almost all of my lunch, with many STILL waiting in the line to buy food. It should never be okay to see students sprint through the hallways just so they don’t have to wait 15 minutes to eat. 

ETHS is blatantly avoiding easy solutions like opening up the staircase by the back door of the lunchroom to actually reduce traffic instead of yelling at people and making them miss half of lunch just so they can scan in their ID. This should be a simple issue to fix. Bunatin has two ideas: “Start scanning people in right when the period ends and have more than one scanner,” Bunatin said. 

These simple fixes would not only give students more time to eat, but it would also fix one of the simplest problems in ETHS and make life easier for everyone who eats in North.