Does Silent Lunch Eliminate Freedom of Speech or Teach Discipline?


Kalama Dinning Hall, where middle school students are seated at assigned tables to eat school lunch.

Amber Arima, Staff Reporter

During the quarter four of the 2016-2017 school year, seventh graders at Kamehameha Middle School weren’t allowed to talk during lunch. Vice Principal, Mr. Kyle Atabay, initiated this policy due to the disrespect of some students when told to be quiet. Eighth grader, Liliana Ciraulo, said, “I felt it was slightly unfair to punish everyone because only a few people were being loud and obnoxious to cause it.”

Since students weren’t allowed to talk, they attempted to create other methods of communication such as whistling. Actions such as this angered Mr. Atabay, which is why this policy continued until the last day of school. Eighth grader, Aria Dayton, said, “Silent lunch sucked… lunch is a time where you should be socializing and getting to know your fellow classmates.”

Luckily, when the 2017-2018 school year started, students didn’t want the no talking policy to continue, so they weren’t as loud and showed more respect. Eighth grader, Kaitlynn Beatty, said, “It was very different for my grade, but eventually we learned a lesson from it.” Although the strategy that the middle school staff enforced was unfair, students learned that they have to listen and respect their teachers or there will be consequences.