For Kids, By Kids: Should Claxton fifth graders have assigned seats at lunch?

In our March 20 “For Kids, By Kids” issue, the youth speak for themselves. In this collection of essays, Claxton Elementary fifth graders debate whether they should have assigned seats at lunch.

No

I don’t think the fifth graders should have assigned seats — because lunch is a time [when] students should be able to talk to friends quietly. But the problem is, it is way too loud in the cafeteria.

A lot of teachers would probably say we should have assigned seats because they think that we’re the loudest ones in the cafeteria. I disagree.

Lunch is a time [when] you should be able to talk to friends — kind of, get a break from schoolwork while you’re in school. It’s also a time where you eat your lunch and talk where you’re allowed to talk too.

It’s kind of a break [where you don’t] have to do work unless you didn’t do your homework. Then you should have to do it at lunch.

Other grades are loud too. Why are we the only ones who will get assigned seats at lunch? We will talk more in class because we didn’t get to talk to our friends at lunch. It will be much louder in class. Or maybe it won’t be that loud because the teachers will probably give us silent lunch and/or laps. If we get assigned seats we will probably learn not to ever be loud in the cafeteria again. …

A lot of kids don’t want assigned seats. … What if you don’t get along with the person that the teachers put you with? Then there will be problems. — by Cherish Reid

Yes

Most kids say they should be able to sit where ever they want. But lately the lunchroom has gotten very loud. So I would like it to be quieter. …

Most kids say “no assigned seats,” because of things like not being able to sit next to friends, or sitting next to somebody you don’t like. Others might say that lunch is supposed to be a free time to talk. For these reasons, most kids say they should not have assigned seats.

I disagree, because by sitting next to someone you don’t know or don’t like, you could make friends with them. Even if you’re not sitting next to your best friend, you can always talk to the people around you. The lunchroom would not be as loud. If we do this, the teachers will combine all the fifth-grade classes at lunch, so we can sit next to the other classes. You also have to learn some time in your life to be with someone you don’t like.

One solution is that you can talk to the people around you. Another one is that you can talk at recess and not only lunch. My last solution is that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we have assigned seats; but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we don’t have assigned seats. I strongly think we should have assigned seats. — by David Mahan

No

The problem is that the cafeteria is way too loud. Some people have complained about our noise level and said we aren’t being good examples to the younger grades. Other people say that we shouldn’t have assigned seats because they think lunch is like a break from school when you can socialize with friends so you don’t do it in class. I have thought about both opinions and decided I don’t think we should have assigned seats at lunch.

The fifth-grade teachers have considered giving us assigned seats for a few of these reasons: Usually, when you choose where you sit, you sit by your friends and you’re usually louder by your friends. Also, if you have assigned seats you might make new friends out of your usual social bubble.

I disagree. Although some of these reasons make sense, I think kids need lunchtime for taking a break and relaxing from schoolwork and stress. Another reason is, if you get assigned [to sit] by someone you really don’t get along with, you might get in trouble cause of them. Also, if really loud people get assigned seats by each other, then it will be über loud and that won’t help the situation at all.

So, considering all my thoughts, I hope you agree that the fifth grade should not have assigned seats in the cafeteria. I think that a solution is laps or silent lunch [for those who are too loud]. — by Lucy Tax

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