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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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A number of parking problems have developed with the beginning of a new school year

Senior Royalty. Senior Sam Resnick has a decal and parks in the senior lot everyday. Photo by Rebecca Schneid

The start of the new school year has presented a variety of parking problems for both students and staff. With close to 850 students, the class of 2019 is one of the largest MSD has ever seen, and with only 385 spots in the senior lot, some seniors have been left without a place to park.

“The issue this particular year has a couple of folds; one, this is our largest senior class in quite a while so we don’t have enough spots for everybody,” Principal Ty Thompson said. “The second set of problems is the fact that with the new buildings potentially coming in on the south side, we had to allocate some parking in the north lot for those staff members.”

Senior spots sold out in less than a week this year; however, more seniors are on the waiting list than usual with no guarantee of ever receiving a decal. 

“We deserve to be able to park in spots we have been waiting to get since freshman year,” senior Alondra Gittleson said. “I have to walk to and from the junior lot and sometimes have to ask friends who have senior spots to drive me to my car.”

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According to Coach Lauren Rubenstein, who oversees senior parking, 11 juniors were permitted to park in the lot specifically for dual enrollment courses. Many of them request this parking space in order to leave school mid-day.

However, some juniors do not see the problem with the limited number of spots. They feel that if the school allows juniors to park in the lot when they dual enroll, they have the same right to a spot as a senior.

“It’s not that I feel that I should be allowed to park there or not, but this summer it came to my attention that I could park there if I was dual enrolled,” junior Max Wolfman said. “Because of that reason, I bought a pass and now I’m allowed to park there.”

Seniors must meet certain requirements to receive a decal, such as holding a valid driver’s license and having proof of vehicle insurance and registration. They must also maintain an unweighted GPA of 2.0 or higher and a good disciplinary record. More than half of the senior class meet these qualifications.

Failing to uphold these qualifications puts one’s spot at risk of being taken away and given to someone on the waiting list. On top of these requirements, this year, a new rule was introduced wherein those that exceeded five tardies would have their senior lot privilege revoked in an effort to resolve the lack of parking spots. However, no one has lost their parking privilege because of this rule yet.

This school year has also come with struggles for faculty when it comes to parking, for new security measures have changed the dynamics of the parking lots designated for staff. Although the east lot stays open until 8:00 p.m., finding a space is difficult and the south lot is closed daily by 4:00 p.m.

“The gate where I normally park is closed soon after school, so my car will be locked if I have a club. However, if you come in at the last minute or right when you’re supposed to be here, it’s hard to get a spot in the front lot,” Media Specialist Diana Haneski said, “I prefer to park in the south lot, but if I don’t leave in time, I’ll be stuck or have to inconvenience someone. I end up parking in the front, but we can’t all park in the front.”

Additionally, 40 spots in the senior lot have been reserved for faculty and staff to use. The additional spots are meant to combat the problem of the loss of faculty parking once the construction of the new building begins.

“There is really no designated plan for [which staff] get to park in the senior lot,” Thompson said. “It does seem like many staff that are on that side of the school are parking on that side, so the 1300’s, 800’s, even some portable teachers are parking over there because it is closer.”

Some teachers have already begun to use their reserved parking spaces; however, the additional security has made it harder to enter the school as well.

“All the gates that used to be unlocked aren’t anymore, and sometimes I have to walk around the 1200 building to enter the school if there’s no one near the 1300 gate,” English teacher Chelsea Briggs said. “The senior parking lot is always open for after school activities, which is why I park there.”

These parking problems have become an inconvenience to some. Although circumstances have limited the alternatives administration can pursue, students and faculty will be required to become flexible with these changes. 

This story was originally published in the October 2018 Eagle Eye print edition. 

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