Recently I visited a Clovis elementary school to have lunch with my grandchildren. I expected to find a cafeteria filled with happy students enjoying their lunch break but was shocked to discover just the opposite.
Instead of relaxing and quietly chatting with friends, they ate in an environment of controlled silence and harassment.
Evidently the school is so concerned with noise, they have gone to drastic measures for control. One measure is using an alarm to signal when noise reaches a certain level. Perhaps a good idea that needs fine tuning because the students were always quiet, but the loud alarm could probably be heard outside.
I also think the cafeteria monitor needed fine tuning in her attempts to maintain quiet. She spent her entire time shouting at them to quit talking, and finally ordered complete silence for the remainder of their lunch period.
I’m certain the school doesn’t realize how unpleasant lunch periods have become, or they would do things differently. It seems to me that positive reinforcement of good behavior would work much better in this circumstance. For example, each month pizza parties or ice cream could be awarded to the quietest class.
Music is a powerful tool, so schools might play it softly in the cafeteria. Also, friendly smiling adults would be welcomed.
I hope my letter encourages parents to visit their children’s schools. I know if I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t have believed it.