Administration driven crazy by student parking violators


Photo by Caroline Harless

Student cars parked on Victory Lane on April 19. Victory Lane is a popular street for students to park on due to its proximity to WCHS.

By Caroline Harless, Observations Editor

To the majority of 16-year-olds, getting their driver’s license is one of the most pivotal moments of their teenage careers. With a driver’s license comes new freedom, more responsibility and something many students especially look forward to: being able to drive themselves to school. Students who park, either in the student lot or along the main roads, are required to have a permit issued by WCHS. Despite this, many students still choose to park without a permit, an issue that has been causing a lot of problems recently.

With a limited number of spots and an abundance of students who want to park, students not being able to get permits is nothing new. However, students parking without a permit has reached an all-time high, creating problems for everyone. Now people are wondering: What has caused the rise in non-permit parking?

“Student parking has become a big issue recently because the juniors think it’s okay to park without a permit,” WCHS secretary Tina Tomblin, who deals with parking issues, said. “This has resulted in a trickle effect because now seniors are having their spots taken. Seniors paid for their parking, whereas the juniors haven’t, so it’s unfair to the seniors who have to deal with this. Everyone is just parking wherever they want thinking it doesn’t matter, but it’s a bigger deal than students probably realize.”

Only seniors with school parking permits, purchased from the school, are permitted to park in WCHS-designated areas. Lot and street parking permits are assigned with yellow and orange tags, ensuring that students park where they are supposed to. However, there has recently been an increase in parking violations. In the April 23 Weekly Newsletter sent out by Principal Taylor, he reminded students that those who park illegally will “receive violation stickers, MCPD parking tickets and may be towed at the owner’s expense.” Regardless of the consequences, many students continue to park without a permit.

“I have gotten a ticket for parking on Greenlane,” a WCHS junior who wishes to remain anonymous said. “The ticket was $50, and I think a neighbor called for another car and I coincidentally got a ticket as well. Even though I got a ticket, I still park around that area because it didn’t really affect me and I don’t have any other options for where to park.”

With tickets proving to be ineffective, and the number of juniors parking illegally on the rise, the WCHS administration has gotten involved. While students may only view parking as something that concerns themselves, the reality is that this has caused a major inconvenience for administrators, secretaries and security.

“The administration has started a form that we have to complete if someone’s spot is taken,” Tomblin said. “I complete the form and hand it over to security, who go out to investigate. Security then put a parking sticker on the perpetrators’ windows, letting them know that they are illegally parked and there’s a possibility they could be towed. Dealing with the parking issue is like a full-time job on top of my regular job; this process has resulted in a lot of added responsibilities on top of my assigned job duties.”

Despite the extra action taken by WCHS, there still seems to be little change in students’ parking without a permit. If tickets do not stop students from illegal parking, what will? This question is something administrators had to think about when coming up with new policies that will be implemented starting in the 2023-24 school year.

“Going forward, hopefully, our towing will be enforced,” Tomblin said. “Working with the county, towing has been approved and was supposed to start after spring break, but there have been some kinks in it so the process will be implemented next school year. We’re hoping that towing will encourage people not to park where they’re not supposed to because so far our methods haven’t resulted in any change.”

At the same time that this situation has caused many upsets for WCHS staff, students are also unhappy with how parking is being handled. As many juniors have their driver’s licenses and want to drive to school, they feel as though they should be eligible for permits just as seniors are.

“I think WCHS should start giving out permits to some juniors,” the student said. “A few years ago they used to give permits to juniors and they should bring that back. If juniors can get permits, it will relieve problems with students getting their spots stolen and receiving tickets. I think it would be fairer too.”

What started as a handful of seniors having their spots taken, has now turned into a frenzy of juniors parking wherever they want. While administrators try to work out a solution that will eliminate this immense issue, students are continuing to park without permits. Illegal parking has caused more problems than anyone would have anticipated, leaving the future of WCHS student parking unclear.

“It’s sad to say, but students just don’t care,” Tomblin said. “It’s been frustrating trying to solve this problem when students simply don’t listen or care to follow the rules. They see a ticket and may be annoyed, but they just pay for it and move on. It hasn’t stopped juniors from parking illegally. I don’t know what this means for the future of student parking, but hopefully, we can see change before stricter action needs to be taken.”