Parking Lot Panic: Upperclassmen Express Concern Regarding New “No Sitting in Cars” Rule


Charlotte Murphy

In an email to students on Thursday, March 18, Assistant Principal Tola Dada announced that students are no longer allowed to sit in their car during an open mod.

The week of March 15, Westside High School administrators asked students not to loiter in the parkings lots before, during and after school hours due to lack of supervision. Assistant Principal Tola Dada initiated this change. He said there are other spaces to go for students during open mods.

“At Westside High School, we have, I want to say, ten IMCs where kids can go,” Dada said. “Students can do homework, read, get help from a teacher. They can also go to the courtyard and get a snack or something to drink, so there is ample space for kids to go when they have an open mod.”

While this may make it easier for supervision, many students are not happy with the changes because they do not find the IMCs as useful as they should be. Senior Dayton Kell said she has been sitting in her car during open mods since she was a junior and found this change very frustrating. 

“I was sitting in my car, as I have been since junior year, with no issues, and the security guard told me we aren’t allowed to anymore because it’s ‘loitering,’ and I also have heard from other students [that] a couple of deans have been out there,” Kell said. “Some [students] got in-school suspension for a day and some just got told to leave or go inside. I felt it was not reasonable because we aren’t disturbing anyone and not everyone has a place to go during open mods or [enough] gas or time to leave and come back.”

Kell is not the only student who has had a bad experience with this new rule. Junior Adam Rice said he believes that it is also unreasonable for kids who aren’t causing trouble.

“I agree that certain kids shouldn’t be allowed to sit in their cars, but the kids who have done nothing wrong are getting screwed over,” Rice said. “I almost never use [the IMCs or courtyard] because either I’m home or in my car because I have the ability to.”

While Westside does have many spaces for students in the school, they tend to get crowded easily and teachers are strict about food and talking. Junior Ella Henningsen said she likes to go to her car for a break and to relax. 

“I feel as if it’s kind of pointless [to go inside] for the students that are just waiting a couple of minutes before class and there’s no reason that we should have to go wait inside, especially when IMCs are always full,” Henningsen said. “Teachers [also] get upset about eating [in IMCs] and it’s just so crowded, so sitting in my car with friends is a lot easier and gives us a chance to take a break from the school’s IMC and courtyard since they are busy.”

Some students also said they think this is wrong because the parking passes are paid for and they should be able to use them how they feel. Senior Dayzee Mayfield said she goes to her car to eat lunch and decompress because she pays for her spot. 

“I use that time to go sit in my car and eat lunch because I don’t eat lunch in the cafeteria because of food choices and I don’t think it’s safe [because of COVID-19],” Mayfield said. “We [also] pay for our parking spots at the school for the year and we should be able to use the parking spot how we please because it’s our money.”