Why AHS students order off-campus food, and the consequences they face

Tala Hamadah

Staff Writer

    Let’s get this straight—ordering food off campus is definitely a privilege many people love, but is it really worth waiting almost an hour for it to arrive? Some AHS students prefer to ditch their cafeteria food and go for a double-double from In-N-Out.

    Rabia Yasin (12) has been ordering food from off campus using the trending app, DoorDash. She’s been using DoorDash ever since sophomore year, and she calls it a relief.

    “I would definitely use DoorDash even when it gets a little expensive at times. I’d rather have the food I’d like, and not the cafeteria food. Food off campus tastes better,” she shares.

    One major reason students prefer ordering off campus is the quality of the food. They would rather wait forty-five minutes to get the food they like rather than waiting in line for a “soggy” burger, as Kevin Ma (11) puts it.

     “You get to eat what you want; however, I face some bugs in the app at times, but that doesn’t prevent me from getting what I like,” Ma states.

    Yasin saw some bugs as well when she requested refunds, and it signed her out. When she was faced with this issue, she switched to Uber Eats. A handful of students, like Yasin, tend to also order their food beforehand.

     “I order food like the beginning of fourth period, so by the time of lunch, my food is already there,” Yasin shares.

    Other students prefer eating school cafeteria food because there’s less risk involved. “I think I can do with the cafeteria food because I don’t wanna get in trouble if I get caught. I think people who order DoorDash are taking risks [with] the monitors and other staff members,” Salam Abed (12) shares.

   Some students had faced some trouble with the school monitors since students are not allowed to go off campus. Yasin sometimes asks the delivery driver to drop her food off at the main office, so she is considered “on campus” when she goes to pick it up. Yet campus supervisor Ms. Belibda advises many students not to order off campus for safety reasons.

    “I’ve seen students approaching cars in the back parking lot of the school, and it’s very dangerous. The guys who come into school to drop off the food don’t look trustworthy at all. Who knows what can happen when a student approaches a stranger’s car?” she asks.

    It’s also very dangerous, Ms. Belibda states, because the students are crammed in front of the main gate at lunch and the delivery drivers may not be looking forward, instead glancing at their phones, searching for their customers. The only solution to this that has come up is asking students to pick up their food in the back parking lot.

    “We had to close out [the front lot] so students won’t be put in danger when [the delivery drivers] come to drop off food for the students,” said Ms. Belibda.

    The practice of food delivery causes disruption for not only the students but their whole classes. Students often sneak out of classes using the restroom excuse, when they actually pick up their food, stuff it in their lockers, and go back to class. Mr. Musto had a recent meeting with the PTSA regarding this growing problem.

     “I brought it up…because of the discussions we’ve been having amongst the admin team and the campus supervisors about the spike in DoorDash and restaurant delivery,” he said. “I put it out to parents that it looks like we’ll have to restrict that from now on.”

    Mr. Musto heard parents supporting limitations on this. Therefore, new restrictions on students’ ability to order food off campus will soon be put in place. Students will likely be unhappy about this since American is a closed campus school and cannot leave to buy lunch. However, Mr. Musto is sympathetic with students.

    “When this first started popping up a few years ago, it wasn’t in large numbers so we didn’t really pay too much attention to it, but since it’s come to a real issue for our campus supervisors and staff, we feel like this is the action we have to take,” he stated.   

    The problem in our school came to light after a weekly meeting with campus supervisors. They have been saying this was an issue for a long time, but only recently was Mr. Musto able to see it for himself. There are a lot of cars coming in, and a lot of drivers just don’t follow the rules. They even walk right into the rotunda, just to deliver the food for the students.

    The delivery companies DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats do have a strict policy allowing drivers to deliver only to eighteen-year-olds. A majority of our campus students are not eighteen, yet they are still able to get their food delivered. These companies did not reply to a request for comments.

    An alternative solution proposed by students is an open campus. In fact, during the March 13 school board meeting, several students spoke to the board members about it. Yet every time this has been brought up, the board has remained clear that closing campus is the right policy.

    In the end, it’s not about having a closed campus; it’s about restricting danger on campus. And it’s always the job of everyone on campus—from supervisors to administrators to the students themselves—to make safety a priority.

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