Berkmar closes cafeteria

LILBURN -- Because of several food fights in the cafeteria, Berkmar High School students are eating lunch in their classrooms this week.

"Due to the number of students in the cafeteria each day, and the willingness of a few of those students to misbehave in this manner, the privilege of going to the cafeteria and eating lunch is suspended," principal Ken Johnson wrote in a message posted on the school's Web site.

Students will be served lunch in their fifth-period classrooms.

"All students will have the option to receive a balanced meal, just as they do when we serve lunch in the cafeteria, only with a reduced number of choices," Johnson wrote.

Johnson stated he understands the decision may be unfair to the vast majority of students who behave. It's also unfair to the faculty and staff members, he added.

"This action is being taken in an effort to regain proper decorum in our school cafeteria before someone is injured; the primary concern is safety," Johnson wrote. "Ultimately, my hope is that our many exemplary students will use this opportunity to affect some positive change among their peers who engage in this unacceptable behavior."

The decision was not prompted by a fight in the school cafeteria Friday that resulted in one student being transported to the hospital for evaluation of injuries and another student being arrested, said Jorge Quintana, spokesman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

"The school is taking this approach to remind students to be on their best behavior during lunch," Quintana said. "A school is a place to learn, and when there are disruptions or behavior that is disorderly, a school will take action to restore the safe learning environment."