Middle School Students Continue to Leave Messes in Malone Dining Hall


Reyha Parsh and Diana Blake

Even after the Westminster Middle School administration planned and put on an assembly regarding lunchroom expectations at the beginning of the school year, Westminster Middle School students have been leaving huge messes in the lunchroom for the currently short-handed cafeteria staff to clean up. 

Students who already break other lunchroom rules and expectations tend to be the ones also leaving messes. “I perceive that if there is ever a table with a big group of kids who are already breaking the rules by having more than six people at a table, those are the people who tend to leave a mess,” says Middle School English teacher Peyten Williams, who was in charge of the assembly.

After seeing the messes being left in the lunchroom, Williams claims that she feels “sad, frustrated, and sometimes a little hopeless.” 

Students are quick to point fingers at certain grades and genders who leave more messes in the lunchroom. “I notice that the 8th grade boys leave more messes at lunch,” says 8th grader Charlotte Bell. “I was sitting at this table with a bunch of guys, and when it was time to go they left a huge mess, so me and my friends had to clean up after them.” 

Students are making more messes in the lunchroom this year than previous years. “It definitely happens more this year than in the past, because last year we could only eat in our classrooms, so it was easier to not make a mess,” says Bell.

Westminster Upper School students agree that the Middle Schoolers have been creating the problem in Malone. “It’s really sad to see when people aren’t there and they just leave their trash for someone else to clean up,” says 10th grader Emma Grace Roe. “I know in Middle School it was more on boys’ tables, but I know both genders can do it.” 

“I hope it gets better,” says 11th grader Theron Boozer, “because it just feels awful that the staff need to be the people who are cleaning up after all of us, when we are the ones that are causing this huge mess.”

The Middle School administration has considered a range of solutions to help solve the problem. “I think my first suggestion would be assigned seating in the lunchroom to help mix people up, and no lines,” suggests Williams. “I know that people are talking about building a lunch room for the Middle School because part of the problem is the crowd, and we might have lunch duty for teachers so that teachers who aren’t eating lunch are walking around and making sure others pick up after themselves.”

Williams mentions a possibility of another future assembly to help students get to know those who have to clean up after them. “I would actually like to do one with the people who clean this building or the people who work on the grounds,” says Williams. “I think the more we can remind kids that they are a part of a community, the better.” 

However, this idea may not help solve the issue, as Middle Schoolers admit the last assembly was almost immediately forgotten after it took place. “It helped for like a week or two but after that people forgot about it,” says Bell.

Students may take advantage of the cafeteria staff because of their lives outside of school. “I think that could definitely be true if you have people picking up after you, versus if you have to clean up after yourself,” says 8th grader Jason Dural. Williams adds, “If parents could start to give their kids chores, the kids could learn to help and that would be great.