Paying for Parking: A Just Policy?

By: Shelby McManis

Since the start of the school year students have been questioning why they have to pay $25 to park on the school’s campus.

And questions have been raised about what this money is being used for.

One student, Angela Biron says that one aspect could be that the school needs a way of knowing who is parked on school property, but she feels that, “a $25 fee is not necessary for that.”

Senior Jackson McCoy agrees, saying, “I think the school just wants to make money.”

But McCoy also saw an upside: “I really don’t think it is that bad because when you get older you will have to pay for parking at work, or in the city, so it’s a good way of teaching life lessons.”

“Parking on campus is a privilege, not a right,” said Assistant Principal, Jody Emerson.

Part of the responsibility of parking on campus is paying the $25 to do so. This money goes toward the maintenance of the parking lot, the paving, the plowing, and the grass.

But this raises questions. Do the students and staff who use the parking lot really pay for the maintenance with permit fees? And why is this one expense paid for in this way, unlike almost anything else in our school or community.

For example, if you play a sport, you don’t have to pay for the uniform. Or if you are a resident in a town, even if you don’t use the road, you still pay the same amount of taxes as a person who drives on them every day.

There is also, according to the administration, an insurance logic to having the parking sticker, Emerson says, so that “…if a school bus hits a car, or if one of our vehicles hits a car, we are able to identify whose vehicle it is and make sure that our insurance covers them.” Due to this liability, teachers also have to receive a parking pass to park on the school’s campus.

But why is the school parking lot different from anywhere else on the road, or a parking lot at Shaw’s? If a driver is uninsured and hits a school bus, the issues are the same anywhere, our parking lot included, aren’t they?

One of the other questions surrounding the policy, like others in the school, is whether there is consistent enforcement. The consequences for not getting a parking permit for your car is a $10 ticket. Emerson says,“it’s an expectation that everyone does it, so it’s not fair that some are following the rules and others aren’t.”

Some students, such as junior, Grace Manning, believe that the tickets are not effective because, “no one [buys the permit] and no one pays their ticket back either.”

However, if you don’t pay your tickets back then you will not be able to get your cap and gown for graduation, until you pay your debt.

Many students don’t have a permit, don’t understand why they need one, and may not be convinced by the official explanations. And enforcement seems inconsistent. Is this a just policy?

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