Back Lot Parking Benefits Students Pro:
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Driving to school is a privilege many upperclassmen enjoy, and having a whole parking lot reserved just for them is something to be thankful for.
There are currently 94 spots in the back lot, and business administrator David Stough said he ensures that permits are sold based on students’ needs, so that there are enough spots for students on a daily basis in addition to a few spots for visitors. According to Stough, security guards walk through the parking lot each day and check the lot for open spots, then tell give their opinion on the amount of permits that have been sold, and whether we need to sell more or less.
The school administration also has their own concerns and reasons to keep students parking in the backlot.
Safety is always a top concern for schools when dealing with student drivers because they are the most inexperienced drivers, often causing more accidents than their adult counterparts. Young drivers between 15 and 20 years old accounted for 6.4 percent (13.3 million) of total drivers on the road, 11 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 15 and 20, a 2014 study by Edgar Snyder & Associates law firm found.
At the end of last school year, a tragic incident occurred when a student was struck in a school zone at Schofield ES in Boston, MA. The student was struck by a driver who was driving at a “slow rate of speed” when the child was crossing onto the school grounds, the Boston Globe reported. This sounds eerily familiar to RHS’ front parking lot, as it has rows of cars passing across the front lot during drop off in the morning. The driver of the car in Boston was an adult, and having inexperienced teenage drivers would make an already dangerous situation even worse.
“The back lot creates less of a safety concern for other students and also lowers traffic in the front lot,” Stough said.
Students parking in the back lot is the safest parking scenario for students, so they can worry less about dealing with any accidents.
Reserving a spot for students in the back lot also makes parking easier for staff. Staff no longer have to search the front lot for parking, then go to the back if they can’t find any spots. With over 200 staff on campus, the front lot, which contains 138 spots, is barely enough space for the the staff who drive to school. If students park in the front lot, it would take away spots from staff members who need to drive to get to work, unlike most students who can be dropped off or take the bus.
Beyond the importance of student safety and consideration of staff, there is the social component to the current parking policy. Having a parking lot for students gives a designated spot to student drivers to talk and socialize which would otherwise create congestion and unsafe conditions in the front lot.
“Having a parking lot just for kids is nice because it lets us [get ready] for the morning, talking and hanging out with others before school. We don’t feel any pressure yet being with friends, unlike when we start to see teachers in the building,” said junior Drew Latos, who drives to school every day.
Parking in the back lot has been embraced by students since it was implemented in 2015 and should be cherished. It is much safer and beneficial to everyone here at RHS.
Back Lot Parking Benefits Students Con:
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Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, designated student parking was moved to the back parking lot, which has proven to be an inconvenience for students since its implementation.
The back parking lot is a great spot for students to interact with one another and complete last minute homework before school begins. However, the negatives of requiring all students to park there outweigh the positives.
The primary reason why students should not be required to park only in the back lot is the traffic that is created at the end of the school day. The school buses are supposed to leave at 2:40 p.m; however, they often leave early, which leaves students stuck in bumper to bumper traffic as the buses depart.
When students are late to their cars, they end up waiting in a long line as they race to get off school grounds. The security guards directing traffic allow the buses to leave first, as well as the parents and staff waiting to pick up their kids. This further delays the students’ departure to get to their after school extracurriculars and jobs.
Despite their scheduled 2:40 departure time, buses regularly begin their departure at about 2:37 p.m. This leaves less than 10 minutes for students to finish their eighth period work, pack up and get to their cars ahead of the buses.
Another major concern is that there are only 94 parking spaces in the back lot, sometimes leaving student drivers scrambling to find a spot. Not every student drives to school every day, so RHS administration sells more permits than they have spots in the back lot. So what happens when everybody makes it to school on a certain day? In this case, they are asked to park on the side of the building or in the front parking lot. This is inconvenient and can cause students to be late to class as they must spend extra time searching for a spot.
Furthermore, there are times when the staff lot is full, forcing teachers to take student parking spots, or even simply because it is closer to their classroom.
When teachers park in the student lot, it also disrupts the free environment students appreciate before and after school. In the morning, students are preparing for seven hours of sitting in front of their teachers, so seeing them pull into the space next to them as they are mentally preparing for the long day can be stressful.
RHS students would be better served parking in the front lot as they did until 2015, because parking in the back is inconvenient, stressful and problematic.