Imagine a group of students sitting in a car, innocently munching lunch while listening to music. Suddenly, a member of the administration raps on the car window and forces the students to abandon the car for no apparent reason. While this may seem like an annoying situation, it is now the grim reality at the school.
The administration has recently begun reinforcing a rule preventing students from sitting in their cars in the parking lot during lunch. According to Principal Wynne Satterwhite, they decided to start especially enforcing the rule to deter vandalism of cars and to decrease instances of suspected drug use in the parking lot.
However, these measures are an ineffective overreaction to this problem, and the administration should alter them so that innocent students are not losing a convenient eating place.
According to Satterwhite, the parking lot is an “attractive nuisance” as there are simply not enough staff members to patrol it effectively. Safety is the the school’s “priority” so the administration decided to bring back the old rule.
Though the administration should be commended for trying to actively prevent such issues, these measures are largely ineffective. For instance, most students, even avid drug users, are not foolish enough to get high or drunk on school property. The number of students using drugs in the parking lot is a slim minority.
Additionally, if students have the desire to get high, this rule is not going to make them to sit around on campus twiddling their thumbs, completely drug-free. They will drive to another location where they will not get caught, like an empty street or their own houses.
“If [students] really wanted to do drugs they’d go somewhere secluded,” senior Chris Galdamez said. “If they were doing it [in the parking lot,] they’d be the dumbest person ever.”
As well as being ineffective in preventing drug use, this rule cannot stop car vandalism. If, as Satterwhite said, there are not enough staff members to guard the parking lot, the administration will be unable to successfully monitor parking lot activity to preclude vandalism before the deed is done. Students will still be in the parking lot and be able damage other students’ cars.
Even more significantly, this rule is too absolute. It basically labels all teenagers in the parking lot as potential drug users and car vandalizers, which is both untrue and degrading.
By attempting to deprive students of the right to sit where they want during lunch, the policy punishes many who have done nothing wrong. As many students like to eat lunch in their cars and not all of them have time to go off campus during lunch, this is an unfair sacrifice.
“[Junior] Taylor Smith and I sit in our cars when its cold outside or windy… and we eat lunch and listen to music,” junior Anne Mielke said. “We don’t have to freeze our butts off outside.”
However, according to Satterwhite, no exceptions will be made to the rule due to weather.
“There are nicer places to eat lunch [on campus] except on rainy days,” Satterwhite said. “[And then students] can go off campus.”
Yet the administration is not going to prevent vandalism and decrease student drug use by sitting in their office during lunch hoping that students obey the rules. Only security monitors can ensure that the rules are enforced; otherwise, it is very likely that students will just do as they wish. If security was provided and students monitored more closely, there would be no need to sweepingly restrict all students from eating in the parking lot.
While it is admirable that the administration is trying to fight problems such as drug use and vandalism, these issues are largely outside of their control no matter how much they want to help students. It should refrain from imposing harsh measures on students that are both restrictive and ineffective. Instead, the administration needs to be more specific in its methods to ensure that while as many vandalizers and drug users are punished, innocent students aren’t also forced to pay for crimes they didn’t commit.
If it really wants to do something to stop students from doing drugs, the administration should try to show the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. Most people avoid driving drunk after listening to the horrifying experience of someone who was a victim of drunk driving. Adding more rules is not going to stop drug use, but changing people’s attitudes about drugs and alcohol will.