What to Do About Senior Parking?

What to Do About Senior Parking?

As Dr. Boulton always says, diversity is our strength. This school is proud to be the home of students with many different cultures as well as family life and living situations. Do all of our school policies respect this? The senior parking permits have become a significant issue on campus. This is not a petition to expand the lot because I understand that is not an easy task and would take much more time and effort to resolve. I see the motivation behind creating an equal opportunity with a random drawing, however, I believe we need to change our system to create a fair distribution of parking passes. There are only about 80 spots available and over 500 students in the senior class, so it is impossible to please everyone. Instead of using a random draw, we should select those seniors who deserve spots more than others. If the ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere of peace and justice at school, we can start by distributing parking passes fairly rather than equally. 

A friend of mine, Will Haden, is appalled that even though he lives in Eastside Costa Mesa and has six classes a day, he was not selected for a senior parking pass. What most upsets him is that there are seniors with designated passes who live within a shorter distance of the school and are not at school for as long. His drive can take upwards of 20 minutes with traffic, and not having a secured spot means leaving significantly earlier to find parking around the school. I believe he deserves a designated parking spot for what he endures going to and from school every day.

Another issue regarding distance is unnecessary pollution to the environment. Castaways is one example of a residential neighborhood that houses several students from our school. It would lessen the environmental impact if people carpooled together, rather than all driving separately. Zoey Palmquist and Amra Barton are good examples of this. They are both seniors this year, but only Zoey received a spot. Because they live within a close distance of each other, they carpool to school. Not only is this less harmful to the environment but it takes less parking away from those who live in more isolated places.

A solution we should act upon is creating an application that demonstrates how deserving one is of a spot. Students would list their address, family life, and class schedule. Similar to the application for the Junior Mentor Program, I believe students should be required to submit an essay expressing why they deserve a senior parking spot. Not only will this allow us to justify who receives senior parking passes, but it might steer students away who do not care enough to write the essay. The essays would be graded for content rather than writing ability and applicants with the most compelling essays would receive spots. 

Students are given a fair opportunity to take advanced classes and participate in extracurriculars without priority going to those with better financial situations. Why should parking priority be any different? Before applications can be submitted for parking passes, people are given the option to pay a large sum of money for a spot. I don’t believe this is fair because there are people who need a parking spot more than others, but don’t have money to spend on it. I believe this option should be eliminated because it is only giving power to those fortunate to have higher economic status. This is not the lesson we should be teaching youth in our community. 

The issue with money comes up again with the random draw. There have been cases in which students take advantage of the random selection to make money. They apply and proceed to sell their spots for profit. This is unjust, unfair, and should not be tolerated. We can avoid this with a more complex application process that would eliminate greedy students purely interested in profit.

Although it seems like a small issue at our school, everything students experience in high school impacts their views and perspectives on the world. Teenagers should not be in the mindset that money or luck will get them whatever they want in life. By creating a fair playing field, a new process will check students’ privilege and puts in perspective how much we exaggerate the severity of our situations.