Students Neglecting Responsibilities in Cafeteria

For most students, summer is a time to relax and enjoy their freedom from the responsibilities that come along with attending high school. These summer habits make returning to school in the fall that much more difficult, and this year is no different. Some students seem to have forgotten how to act responsibly and ethically after eating their lunch in the cafeteria, and neglect cleaning up after themselves.

When students purposefully leave a mess in the cafeteria, they push their duties onto someone else and force them to clean up a mess that they did not make. Mark Patterson

spoke about this issue and whose responsibility it becomes when a mess is left behind, “The responsibility to clean up the trash is that of the individual who made it. Unfortunately, there is a small handful who consistently leave a mess behind. We understand that accidents happen and sometime people just forget something, but the messes that are purposefully left behind with the idea the that the custodians can just clean it up is ethically wrong.  I find it very disappointing that some people think this way,” said Patterson, who often has lunch duty.

Sophomore Amy Fehr also expressed that when she goes to lunch and sees trash left behind, she feels like the students who left their mess behind should have been more respectful. “When trash is left in the cafeteria where I eat, it makes my lunch less enjoyable and instead of focusing on my lunch I focus on the mess left on my table,” said Fehr.

It can be difficult for custodians to clean up the trash that is left behind in the nutrition center as Loudoun County High School operates on a back-to-back lunch schedule. With only a few minutes between each shift, custodians have a big job trying to wipe down the tables, pick up any trash left behind, and replace the trash cans in a limited time frame.

The students who do choose to leave behind a mess for the custodians to clean up only make their job increasingly difficult. Additionally, they increase the likelihood that the nutrition center will not be clean in time for the next shift, and students will not have a clean environment to eat their lunch in.

In order to fix this issue, the few students who do choose to leave their mess behind need to recognize that it is disrespectful and rude to expect others to clean up after them. Patterson realizes that the vast majority of our students show pride in our school and do a great job at keeping it clean, but to eliminate the messes left behind, everyone needs to adopt an ethical norm that we are responsible for our own messes.

If all students do this, the nutrition center will be cleaner and students will have a much more enjoyable environment to eat their lunch in. Most importantly, if everyone cleaned up after themselves this would greatly reduce the amount of work expected of the custodians.