Students are now being forced to help clean the cafeteria during lunch as a consequence for multiple violations on Menlo campus. Staff photo: Emilio Simbeck.
By Emilio Simbeck
Several Menlo students, who have been cited for different “violations” on campus, have recently been sentenced to service work in the cafeteria. The administration at the school does not believe in kids serving detentions to pay for penalties, but rather work where they are benefitting others and giving back to the community.
This form of punishment has not always been a staple of Menlo, but is not entirely new either. “I have done this from time to time, both in the old dining hall and around campus, depending on the different kind of violation,” Dean of Students Tony Lapolla said.
There are multiple reasons why a student may be asked to work in the cafeteria, but the majority of them come as consequences for cutting lunch lines or parking infractions on Menlo grounds, Lapolla explained.
Lapolla is a supporter of the notion that students should be put to work as punishment, as opposed to sitting silently in a room or being forced into tedious punishments. Furthermore, he doesn’t think what he is asking of students is that harsh, either. “You are giving back something,” Lapolla said. “I don’t think that I’m asking too much; I ask [students to volunteer for a few] days for 15 minutes each day [per violation].”
Many students are frustrated with the penalties they’ve been given, and perhaps feel that they had no other options than to break a rule. Senior Jackson Polverari, who has been handed out six days of labor, falls under that category. “I have been cited twice for the grievous offense of backing my car into a Menlo parking spot.” Polverari said. Polverari, who drives a very large truck, has had his car hit (and left without a note) by other cars in the lot when he doesn’t back in, and finds it infuriating that he can’t do so.
Fellow senior Ty Corley also found it confusing when he was given a ticket for parking in an empty space on the dirt, which was not inhibiting any spaces. “It’s interesting because I [parked on the dirt] all last year and early on this year and never received a ticket, and now I get a ticket and am facing disciplinary actions,” Corley said.
Corley’s other ticket came from him parking in a visitor spot during school hours, although he came late after a free period and there were no other spots available. Although irritated with the punishment, he is glad his service is helping. “It is [making us help] out in the community, which I think is good, but some of the reasoning for these violations is shady.”
Senior Toni Rende was also given service for parking in visitor when the student lot was full. “I thought parking in visitor would be better than being 20 minutes late to class,” Rende said.
Lapolla decided to bring the punishment back in response to students racking up multiple violations, and not changing their ways. “I had a meeting with the security department and I was surprised by the number of people who get a number of parking violations,” Lapolla said. “There should be some consequences.”
Prior to his intervention, security really didn’t have any other way of enforcing their rules besides handing out more meaningless tickets. The tickets they give out do not go into any local or government database, and are exclusive to Menlo grounds.
Luke Anderson, a senior who is facing multiple counts of the three-day cleaning punishment as well, recently forgot to attend one of the days. Now, his off-campus privileges have been revoked for two weeks. It seems as if the student-punishments will not be slowing down soon.