Adults parking in student lot

Walker Prince

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Walker Prince

The issue of adults parking in the student lot is becoming a more prominent issue. Many students are frustrated and have had enough.

It’s 7:35 a.m. and you only have a few minutes to get to class. As you drive through the parking lot, you breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of an open spot. However, as you get closer, someone else suddenly swoops in, and takes “your” space. You continue to circle the lot and as you do so, to add insult to injury, you see that the person who beat you to the space is not even a student, but an adult! As you keep watching, you see them get out of their car and walk in the opposite direction of the school. They head across Rockledge Drive and into the office building directly across the street.

As the student population grows, parking is at a premium. And for students, such as senior Phillip Papadopulos, “walk off” parkers are becoming an increasing problem. Papadopulos has an abbreviated schedule so he arrives at school later than most.

“I’ve seen it happen twice. One time I saw a man come out of the lot and walk across the street, and another time I saw a man appear to try and hold a parking spot by standing in front of it. It is super frustrating because I come late at school and already we don’t have enough spots for everyone, but to have adults take the parking is just infuriating. On top of that I’ve only seen them park in the student lot, not the faculty where there are more empty spots,” Papadopulos said.

This is not an uncommon occurrence in the student parking lot. Assistant Principal Jeff Leaman says that it’s nothing he hasn’t seen before.

“In years past we have had that occur. We continue to send staff out there in the morning timeframe so when people [non students] are arriving early and going over, they know they can’t park during the school day,” Leaman said.

Staff also uses ticketing to combat the problem. However, this has proven to be more difficult this year.

“We used to have Officer Jackson, our school resource officer who could be out there in the morning time, but we don’t have that anymore,” Leaman said.

Montgomery County abandoned its School Resource Officer Program at the start of this school year. Across the county, police officers are no longer stationed in school buildings and only respond to schools on an as-needed basis. This means that parking enforcement of the rules now falls to administrators, teachers and school security guards.

“One strategy would be, as we’re doing right now, you know, just checking in on a regular basis. I think we can probably do a little bit more regularly than what we’ve been doing.
I think that’d be a big factor in it, especially since we’re only doing it in the morning and sometimes at the end of the day, maybe to do another rotation there,” head of security Anthony Williams said.

Leman wants people to alert security and administration if you see this happening, “If students see anyone parking in the WJ student lot who isn’t a student, they should let us know [and] let security know.”