As the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year begins, new policies are taking shape here at San Lorenzo Valley High School. As everyone knows, the recreational use of the parking lot at any point in time during school hours is now prohibited.
This change is intended to prevent the increased use and dealing of drugs on school property that occurred last year from repeating. The new policy is being accepted by students to various degrees, some rejecting its validity and others supporting it and agreeing that the causes for its implimentation are fair.
Many students who hung out in the parking lot last year understand the reasons behind this crackdown. The second semester of the 2014-2015 school year in particular saw an increase in the use and dealing of substances including marijuana, Xanax and various prescription painkillers on school property.
In an attempt to stomp out on-campus drug usage, the school’s administration has decided to implement this new ruling.
Rumors of the new policy spread through the school in June, but many did not believe them. The disbelief turned to outrage when the new rule was confirmed at the beginning of the school year. Many students, mostly seniors, tried to rebel against the policy or to find loopholes in the rule.
One such loophole was students hanging out in the backs of pickup trucks after dropping the tailgate over the sidewalk. Students were technically out of the parking lot, but the school administration was not amused.
Many students think it isn’t fair that if they leave their homework or notes in their car they are not allowed to retrieve it and their grades will be affected. While some students may feel that way, the administrators assert that failure in this context is the fault of students who did not prepare properly.
Senior Adriano Odello shared a few of his thoughts on the matter. When asked about how he feels about the current situation and new policy, he answered,
“Well, I sure do miss the social aspect of spending lunch in the parking lot with all my
friends, eating out of the back of my car with the hatch open for shade. The interior of the school does not offer the same kind of social interactions due to the separation of many areas and the lack of space in the halls.”
Many have become frustrated with the crowded hallways, especially with the upperclassmen being accustomed to the privilege of using the parking lot during lunch and brunch.
Some students even suggest that perhaps Ms. Van Putten should give the students another shot to prove that they can be trustworthy.
Odello agreed that students should be given a second chance. He said, “She absolutely should. She should trust the well-behaved majority to report any incidents, and give them a chance to practice the life skills learned under her administration.”
While this may seem like an ideal solution for many students, rebuilding the trust between student and staff is not as simple as that. Although the usage and dealing of drugs on campus was by a minority of the student body, the staff cannot just blindly trust the students to report any witnessed occurrences involving drugs to the office. This is especially true since the school’s drug problem goes beyond just last year.
Even if the privilege was re-established and the students stayed true to their word, there is not any way to know if the agreement would be enough to cut the drug problem from the school.
Although the liberty of using the parking lot may have not been abused by the majority of students, the escalation of the on-going drug problem had gotten too out of hand for the staff to allow it to continue.
The new policy will be put to the test in the coming months, with staff and students alike eager to see positive results and hopefully a mutually-agreeable resolution in the future.
Ms. Van Putten could not be reached to comment on the situation in the parking lot or last year’s drug problem.