Douglas High to remain an open campus |

Douglas High to remain an open campus

by Andy Bourelle

Douglas County High School will remain an open campus at lunch time, the school board decided at its monthly meeting Feb. 10.

Although the issue has been discussed extensively since the campus was first opened in 1977, the Nevada Legislature ordered all school districts to re-examine their open-campus policies this year. After a brief discussion, the board voted unanimously to keep the campus open.

When the school first became an open campus, administrators already felt the lunch room was overcrowded with 775 students. Douglas High now has 1,458 students.

The open-campus issue was considered again in 1988 and 1995, and both times the school board agreed to keep it open. Lack of food preparation facilities and financial impact were among reasons why boards in the past have chosen to keep it open.

Director of Business Services Rick Kester explained it was a cost vs. benefit issue and asked the board members if they wanted to spend the significant amount of money which would be needed to make Douglas High a suitable closed-campus location.

Superintendent Pendery Clark said nearby businesses and the sheriff’s office were cooperative with the high school regarding the students who leave the campus.

The high school does have a lunch facility, but it does not have the capacity to accommodate all the students.

Douglas High School Principal Bev Jeans explained to the board that it was a privilege for students to leave at lunch time, not a right. If school officials hear of students acting in a poor manner or using bad language, the privilege is taken away.

Leaving at lunch time also builds responsibility, Jeans said, because students enjoy leaving at lunch and are willing to change their behavior for the privilege.

“If they come back late, they’re done going off campus,” Jeans said.

Douglas County School District has 12 schools, and only Douglas High School has an open campus. With 1,498 students, the Douglas High’s capacity is 1,800. The district’s only other high school is George Whittell, with 271 students and a capacity of 400.

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