Opinion: Are 30-minute lunches enough?


“I’d rather have a longer lunch because we have longer classes, so we would get more of a break maybe,” said Payson Ramos ´24. Photo by: Nicklaus Shelton

Students are left in the dark wondering where their extra 15-minutes went

At the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, Ventura High School students experienced a schedule change of longer class periods due to block schedule. With this change came new 30-minute lunches. In previous years, students enjoyed a relaxing and well deserved 40-minute lunch break, plus an extra five-minute passing period. The VHS student body and staff had plenty of time to eat their food, chat with friends and get any last minute classwork done.

Whether negative or positive, those lost 15-minutes of last year’s lunch have been noticed by all. While a half an hour of lunch may seem like the right amount of time for someone to eat and use the restroom, the reality is that many students get the school lunch. The time it takes to move through the endless lunch line takes up a majority of the short break and lunch. 

Marcia Linn ‘24 said, “If you go to get the school lunch it takes like 20-minutes and if you eat in your car, have a place you sit and eat every day, you only have 10-minutes to eat and then get to class, which I find very unreasonable.”

To some people’s surprise, it’s not that the VHS administration nor the Ventura Unified School district is out to get us. VHS Principal Marissa Rodgriuez said, “The minutes for lunch are in alignment to required instructional minutes and late start time.” This is a result of federal Senate Bill 328 which requires high schools to push start times back to 8:30 a.m. 

Payson Ramos ‘24, said, “I’d rather have a longer lunch because we have longer classes, so we would get more of a break maybe.” 

Linn said, “I think I might be late. I have to run over there, and I’ve been having to pack my own lunches at home because it’s been taking so long and it’s just not great.” Linn’s comment sparks a question many of us have had; what about the students who depend on school lunches, who can’t bring their own food from home? If students who wait in the 20-minute lunch line everyday have to walk around to find a space to eat, they only have five to 10 minutes to enjoy their meal, use the bathroom and relax. This is neither healthy nor sustainable for these students.

It may seem silly to care so much about our break time, but it is important to remember that school consumes a large part of a student’s day, excluding the hours spent on homework after class. In addition, students who play school sports can still be on campus two to three hours after sixth and seventh period ends. Those who are unable to finish or begin eating lunch and have to play a sport directly after school are not having their dietary needs met. 

To sum it up in Thompson’s words, half an hour ends up feeling “like five minutes.” Whether or not VUSD and the VHS administration would be willing to alter the school schedule, it’s important that they take into consideration the complications and obligations of each student’s life when making decisions that affect us all.

One of the long lunch lines at VHS on Sept. 13. “Honestly, I’m not [liking the block schedule]. The lunch line is already long enough just to get school lunch if you’re having to and the car situation isn’t great, especially for the nutrition,” said Marcia Linn ´24. Photo by: Nicklaus Shelton