Traffic ahead 

Reasoning behind school parking, pickup procedures


Photo by Assad Malik

A TISD guard directs after school school traffic. The TISD traffic guards work shifts before and after school.

Story by Stephanie Jumper, feature editor

For as long as schools have different do’s and don’ts of attending, there will be students who ignore policies while skimming the never ending list of rules and regulations. While bending a few rules may make arriving or leaving campus more convenient to students and parents, this may create more problems than it solves. 

School policy states that students are to park in the designated student parking lot. Additionally, pick up and drop off is supposed to take place at the circle drive. However, this rule is regularly ignored, with students entering and leaving school at locations including near the tennis court and Summerhill Square. Rules against this are mainly due to safety concerns.

“We have supervision [at the circle drive] with full security, police and administration,” assistant principal Richard Stahl said. “Crowds are more safe than just single people; there’s also cameras in case anything goes missing or [an] accident [occurs], so we can go back and retrace steps if needed.”

Intruders are always a possibility high schools are prepared for. An abundance of cameras near the circle drive allows for administrators or law enforcement officials to gain control of unfortunate situations.

“It makes sure somebody that shouldn’t be on campus doesn’t make it on campus,” Stahl said. “We’ve upgraded our camera system to high definition cameras that zoom in.”

Not all of the reasons behind rules relate to safety risks. Teachers park in a separate parking lot from students simply to separate the two groups from each other.

We can see scratches in doors and license numbers on cars, so we’ve got a better shot of what’s going on in the parking lot if there’s an intruder. If something like that happens, we could ID him to police.”

— Richard Stahl, assistant principal

“[Students have a different parking lot] to keep students out of the teachers’ [business] or keep teachers out of y’all’s business,” Stahl said. “It’s for privacy reasons more than anything else. Teachers usually work a little longer, so it makes [it] easier for y’all to get out.”

Students are also required to park there in order for administrators to keep track of students’ whereabouts.

“The reason we have you go through a certain drive is to supervise everything so if anything does happen, we have record of it,” Stahl said. “We don’t want students being out by themselves. I know a lot of [high schoolers] think [they’re] grown. I did when I was in high school as well, but that extra little bit of security makes us feel safer. I know it makes parents feel safer too.”

This method of keeping all students in one area may have its safety drawbacks.

“It’s easy to control everything at one place, but at the same time, it does get congested around there right after school,” junior Jane Doe* said. “There’s a lot of people trying to move at once. It makes me think of the middle school. They have it separate by grade. [I wish] there was a way we could have another spot people could get picked up from, but I don’t know if we have room for that.”

Although the current system may have its flaws, the police are constantly adapting for students’ safety. There is often a fine or other punishment students may face as a result of not following parking protocols; this is typically more of a last resort.

“There’s always rules that it can fall under,” Stahl said. “We don’t like to go there. We like to resolve things on a personal basis, which means talking in conference or just visiting with people. We find out that usually works best. Once you explain things, people understand it a lot better.” 

*interviewee prefers to remain anonymous