Parking permits: Make your own?


Noah Ismael

Assistant Principal Greg Keller issuing a warning ticket to a vehicle.

by Marissa de La Viez, Editor

Countless rebels stealthily enter the school lot each morning, lacking the validation that they can park legally. (Well, they can be counted, and The Lance staff did just that.) Most students roll in with their paid-for white passes visible in their windshields.  Who pays, and who doesn’t? How should administration solve this problem?

The administration sells parking passes for $30 to juniors and seniors to allow them to park in the lot for the entire school year. If a car does not display a pass, the driver will be ticketed $20.

“I don’t think it makes sense. Someone would just be like, ‘Why would I pay more money for a pass, when I could get a ticket for less’” said junior Danielle Ferris. “I don’t think it’s necessary to buy one, but I got one to be on the safe side.” Ferris expresses the opinions of many. Is no pass worth the gamble?

The pass is a small white sticker with a stop sign and is displayed on the windshield of the car. This gives access to the students to park on the top parking lot on the student’s side and in the bottom lot. Some students who don’t have passes sneak onto the teachers’ side to avoid getting ticketed.

“It’s really unfair to the rest of us who do get the passes,” said senior Josh Millford.  “We have to pay and they don’t. It’s morally right to get it, and I was told that I had to.”

Last year many people went unnoticed the whole year and did not get a ticket. This means the students who don’t pay get the same treatment as those who do.

“I just made my own pass,” said a senior. “If you don’t get a pass, you can park in the visitor’s section and you won’t get in trouble.”

On September 4th after 2nd period, The Lance staff counted 175 vehicles in the top student parking lot and the bottom lot combined.  Of the 175 cars, 114 of them had parking passes. That’s a conservative estimate of 35% with no pass. (This does not include those who left, for internships or work study, after 2nd period.)

“I think they should just not have them at all. Or make them $5. At some schools they’re a lot less,” said senior Mason Strong.

At Urbana High School, their pass policy seems to be a better system. According to their assistant principal Jacob Sclar, parking passes are $20/year and $10/semester. Sclar also says, “The three assistant principals, student support teacher, and the SRO each have an assigned day of the week to patrol the parking lots. Students know that we will be out there, looking for the parking tags.”

When students hear about fees other schools, they may think our policy is a little expensive, but at Loudoun County High School in Virginia, permits are $200 each. Also, Damascus High School, in nearby Montgomery County charges $37.50.

“We’re going to start checking the lots more often. Today we had three of us down there giving out warnings to those in the bottom lot who didn’t have permits. Ticketing will follow shortly,” said assistant principal Greg Keller.

Where does the parking money go?

“If the purpose for the passes is just to make money to buy things for the school, then I think we should get rid of it. If there’s an actual purpose, then we should keep it,” said senior Noah Sommer.

“The money goes into the Student Activities Account, and that money is used for all kinds of different things. The biggest expenditure is probably if we’ve got students in need that maybe can’t afford something. Maybe they need shorts for gym, but their parents won’t buy them anything. That’s where the money goes, typically to students in need,” said Keller.