CRLS’ Open Campus Policy

Community Probes Pros and Cons


Willa Rudel

Pictured: Harvard Market, located on Cambridge Street near CRLS.

Charlie Bonney, Sports Editor

Arriving back at CRLS for the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, students were greeted with a morning announcement telling them that trips to off-campus stores during class hours would not be tolerated and that disciplinary actions could be taken against students who did not comply. This unsettled some students and also brought the open-campus environment of CRLS into question. 

Junior James Shaw told the Register Forum, “I think the enforcement of the rule is somewhat excessive. There are better ways to incentivize students going to classes than patrolling around. What’s the difference between being inside the hallways and outside?”

It’s great that [open-campus lunch] starts freshman year and teaches [independence]

— Aviva Gould '20

The CRLS Student Handbook specifies off-campus rules for CRLS students. The rules state that students found off of the campus outside of the designated times can face “detention and possibly an out of school suspension.”

When asked if he often sees students in his store during class time, the owner of Harvard Market, Mo Hamza, said, “Not at all. If it happens and we find a kid here, security always kicks them out.”

Hamza’s business is only one of several establishments around CRLS that are filled to the brim with high schoolers on any given weekday. Mona Lisa Pizza & Grill, Broadway Market, Angelo’s Pizza, Starbucks, and Darwin’s Ltd. are all businesses that are a part of the CRLS culture. 

Aviva Gould ’20 commented that, without an open-campus, “people would lose their independence. It’s great that [open-campus lunch] starts freshman year and teaches [independence].” She also mentioned that she is aware that other schools have more restrictions on their open-campus policies. 

Many CRLS students may take the open-campus environment for granted, but CRLS is one of just over a quarter of high schools in America that has an open campus, according to a report by the Public Health Advocacy Institute.

I like that I’m able to eat off campus because I can leave the building.

— Dellina Medhanie '21

Dellina Medhanie ’21 told the Register Forum, “I like that I’m able to eat off campus because I can leave the building and not feel secluded for however long I’m in school for.” This sentiment reflects the feelings of many CRLS students who enjoy leaving the school to eat lunch.

At many other high schools around the country, being able to leave to campus is a privilege, not a right. Instead, some schools use off-campus lunches as a reward for high-performing students or only allow juniors and seniors to leave school for their lunch, according to the New York Times

Director of CRLS Safety and Security, John Silva, said the “[open-campus] presents a lot of challenges, every time something crazy happens people want us to lock up, but it’s a school, not a prison.” He added that the school tries to maintain good relationships with the local stores in order to keep students safe outside of the school.

Fortunately for CRLS students and local businesses, the open campus policy does not seem to be ending anytime soon, and the school will continue to provide students with the opportunity and responsibility to make their own choices.

This piece also appears in our October 2019 print edition.