On March 1, the Leigh High School administration implemented new rules to address community concerns with student parking and drop off. Within a few days, students formed strong opinions on these changes.
The administration genuinely intended to solve the issues brought up by the community, and it was not some malicious act to inconvenience the students. However, while fixing one issue, it caused more traffic for the lot in the morning. To find a solution that works for everyone, the administration should reach out and collaborate with the students affected by these rules.
While these changes affect student drivers, closing the far gate of lot C was meant to solve is an issue with parents dropping off their students.
“We intended to stop the dangerous cross traffic in lot C with students walking from their cars and parents dropping off students; closing the gate has accomplished that. It does take longer, but it is safer for the students,” said Assistant Principal Robert Warren, who leads the parking lot changes.
The issue of student safety is certainly the most pressing, and Warren noted that these changes are still an ongoing process. With student safety addressed, solving the new traffic issue should be the next step.
Students have not remained silent with their displeasure towards the traffic these rules have created. Juansi Santaella, a junior at Leigh, started an online petition on March 4 to reopen the far gate of student lot C, and has since received hundreds of signatures.
“I started the petition knowing it won’t change the situation but to show admin how many people are affected by this. I really do hope we as a student body can have our opinions heard. I honestly just wish that next time a big decision is made the administration could consult those who are truly affected, the students,” said Santaella.
While the establishment of a “main entrance” to the student lots was meant to make the morning drop-off safer, it turned out to create a bottleneck effect that makes it more difficult for students to get into the parking lots.
“Closing the gates makes the streets more backed up and harder for everyone to get where they need to go. Also, people are so focused on getting in the parking lot now than ever because of the fewer entrances they ignore other driver, which maybe lead to car accidents and others having trouble to cross the street, out of fear of people lack of attention,” said Josephine Marriner, a junior at Leigh, when explaining why she opposes the new parking lot rules.
While the new rules improved safety of the morning drop-off, the implementation adds traffic and makes it more stressful, which can pose risks to student safety in other ways, such as distracted drivers. Rather than encouraging students to park in the lot and out of the surrounding neighborhoods, the traffic has created an even bigger aversion to using the student parking lot, causing students park in the community to avoid the traffic.
The administration should address this new issue and move forward to find a solution that works for everyone. Students may have very inventive solutions, which deserve to be heard. For example, a crossing guard near the school entrance in lot C may allow for the far gate to be opened. The administration should engage the students in this decision because they are the ones largely affected by this. Establishing communication between the administration and students will create a solution that works for everyone because further changes need to be made. There were definitely issues with the old system, but the new traffic is something that should be addressed. It’s the responsibility of the students to be a voice worth listening to. To earn the respect of the administration, students should behave in a way that is worthy of that respect. Instead of saying “I hate this,” students should say, “This is a problem, and this is how we should fix it.” It’s the most productive kind of behavior, and that is necessary in situations such as this where we want to get something done.