Parking Lot Pandemonium Frustrates Students, Staff

Tara Lawson, Staff Reporter

With one term done, students are already riled up about unwanted guests in the school parking lot.
“Pretty much people are parking in the parking lot who shouldn’t be, and it’s making others mad because they’re taking their spots or creating their own spots, which causes problems when you’re trying to drive,” said Senior Will Garcia.
The first round of student raffle entries for parking passes all received either a term or year parking pass, costing either $60 or $200. A second and third round raffle followed until all the passes were handed out.
However, there are still students who are frustrated because they didn’t get a pass and continue to park in the student lot anyway. Such actions in turn frustrate those who paid for a parking pass.

Deans Sam Smigielski and Paul Thatcher are aware of the issue, and while their number one priority is the safety of the faculty and students in the building, managed by an understaffed security, consequences exist for those who park without a pass or who park in non-designated spots.

Those who violate the parking lot rules are subject to be towed, particularly if the car is blocking entrance for emergency vehicles or is parked in a handicapped spot (besides being towed, a student could face a $250 fine if no handicap pass is displayed).
“Students that paid for parking should be the ones parking here, and we agree with that, so students that don’t have stickers or shouldn’t be parking here, that is one of the consequences that could happen,” Thatcher said. “We sticker, and I think we towed more cars last year than any other year in the history of the school.”
Before a student’s car is towed it has been stickered multiple times and the student’s parents have been contacted and informed that the car will be towed if the student parks at the school again.
“It’s not a surprise to that student when their car gets towed,” said Thatcher. “They know that they’re on the tow list; they know that they’re not supposed to park here.”
According to the dean’s office, no more than 15 cars were towed last year, and so far this year no cars have been approved for towing yet.
Not only has the parking lot situation been a problem for students but for visitors also.

“The bigger issue that we’ve heard is from visitors coming to park because we lost nine or ten spots from construction, so visitors that come into the lot, we will hear about that because they will have to park in the student lot, and [parking spots] could be randomly throughout there,” said Thatcher.
Finding parking can be a difficult task, and having cars without parking passes makes it even harder. Security does not sticker cars for not having passes for the first few weeks of school since some students are still acquiring and paying for passes, but that grace period is over.
Recently, security has started stickering, which has deterred some students from parking at the high school without a pass.
“I have to park across the street at a house, my mom’s friend’s house, and then I have to walk [to MHS] in the mornings,” said Junior Casey Kellogg.
Kellogg has tried multiple times to get a pass by entering in this year’s new raffle system but was unsuccessful. She has gone to the main office twice to try and explain that for morning practices she needs to be able to park in the student parking lot but was turned away.
“For morning practice I have to leave even earlier and then walk when it’s still super dark, and it’s scary, or I’ll be late,” said Kellogg.
The decision to have a raffle for parking passes was spurred on because in past years there have been extremely long lines to purchase limited passes.
“Last year, people were standing in line for over four hours, and we didn’t think that was fair or right,” said Smigielski. “Also, students were having high anxiety during exams, trying to rush through their exams so that they could get in line faster so that they could buy tickets, and we don’t want students’ grades to suffer because they’re trying to get a parking permit.”
Although the raffle has solved the issue of waiting in long lines for a pass, the issue of students without passes parking at the school still remains.
Junior Will Garcia said, “It’s super annoying; if you didn’t pay for a pass, get out.”