Should There be Assigned Seats at Lunch?

There is a common debate on whether lunch tables should be assigned, or student-picked. Most reasons for a seating arrangement at lunch has to do with inclusion and making friends. These things could also be avoided in other cases.

It is believed by some that having assigned seats at lunch eliminates the stress and worry of trying to find a seat. Experts agree that developing social-emotional skills is very important and should be prioratized. The table talk at school lunch tables gives students the opportunity to get closer with peers and demonstrate how to make conversations with others in the future. Breaking down groups allows students to blend, encouraging meeting new people and making new friends. With all ages and social groups, this overall benefits the school’s culture.

On the other hand, 98% of teens say they have one or more close friends, while only 2% say they don’t consider anyone to be a close friend. Some ways to make kids feel included are providing different options in completing assignments. Suggesting many ways to go about the students’ learning helps the kids feel responsible for their learning and comfortable with their atmosphere. Another way to include all, is to have recognition of the students’ personal life out of school. Having games and fun activities can include many and help bring school into a positive environment in kids' minds. All of these ideas are things schools can do to help kids feel comfortable, welcome, and included in school without changing a seating arrangement.

In my opinion, I think including students in ways that are more controlled by teachers is much more effective than hoping the kids at lunch tables are kind and encouraging to others. What do you think?


Do you think there should be assigned seats at lunch? Why or why not?

Would blending all social groups encourage new friendships? 

What are some other ways to include all students? 

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  • Great topic choice and super job Ellerie!

  • I don't think that there should be assigned seats because I don't think it is helpful to any students at all. I think blending people might help encourage new friendships but I think most people would rather talk to the friends that they already have.

  • I don't think that assigned seating is helpful to students. They are not in a class so lunch is their time to relax and get ready for the rest of their day. Students choose to sit next to their friends so they can be open and they don't have to worry about how otheres feel about them while also eating. 

  • I do not think assigned lunch seats benefits students. A lot of students who have few friends also have social anxiety. Forcing them to sit with people they are not friends with does not spur conversation and friendship. It excludes them from the few friends they do have. Activities are a better way to encourage friendships. 

  • I don't think that there should be assigned seats at lunch. By this point, everyone should have at least one friend that they will tolerate sitting by. I think that blending all social groups could create friendships as well as rivalries.  Some other ways to include students is to just invite them to your free seating table.

    • Yes I agree, conflict and friendship would occur. It depends on what people will think is more important. Everyone having a friend? Or everyone getting along. I know there will always be some rivalries, there always is. It's just up to what people see fit for the school.

  • No, I don't think there should be assigned seats at lunch. I think lunch would be very boring if there were assigned seats. Blending all social groups would probably encourage new freindships and help the people that aren't very social to make more friends. Other ways to include all students could be doing games all together or doing more group activities in class.

  • I do not think there should be assigned seats at lunch because where people will sit will work itself out. People should be able to make their own decisions by the time they are in high school. Lunch is the only time when we can freely talk to our friends and sit with our friend groups. 

  • No, we shouldn't have assigned seats. It was awful in middle school. We already blend in with other classes. I stay by myself during lunch all year last year and I was perfectly fine. This year, I actually sat with friends and it was fun. 

    • Yeah there is totally that possibility that kids that don't sit with anyone right now don't WANT to sit with anyone. They could, and probably are perfectly fine with it. Blending during a super social hour can probably have a better outcome than in classes.

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