One of the first things most high school students in Wise County do before school starts is park their car. The maintenance behind these parking systems is more than just a third wheel.
“To some degree it helps control rude behavior,” Bridgeport High School teacher Candace Warren said. “It helps increase the safety of the students.”
A Decatur police officer makes run-throughs in the parking lot to check for possible misbehavior.
“I think some students are more respectful than others when they see law-enforcement present,” officer Cristina Schwabe said.
Most schools charge a parking lot fee for one year. This enables the students to park on campus.
“We charge $5, and that goes into the principal’s fund and that pays for the re-stripping and power washing of the parking lot,” Bridgeport officer David Snodgrass said.
Alvord and Chico also pay $5 to park. Decatur charges an annual fee of $35.
“So basically the money goes towards re-stripping the parking lot, buying citations and parking permits,” Schwabe said.
The procedures in maintaining the lots are believed to have little effect on students.
“I really don’t think it affects them,” Snodgrass said. “But I know the high school has a proactive approach.”
Some believe the Decatur parking system allows latitude for students to misbehave.
“I think it gives our students a lot of freedom to make wrong choices,” Decatur teacher Teresa Powell said.
With the upcoming budget cuts, concerns arise in how the systems will be maintained.
“It is a self-sustaining fund so the budget cutbacks should not have an effect on the maintenance,” Bridgeport’s Snodgrass said
Some students, however, feel that the fee is excessive at best.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Decatur senior Casie Morgan said. “It’s too much money to spend just to park your car.”
Students like Decatur junior Tamara Green believe the parking needs better traffic regulations. With only two exits, the parking lot is difficult to drive in and out of, especially around lunchtime.
“I have seen more maniacal and frightening scenarios where people are reckless and almost crash into each other on a daily basis in this parking lot, than I have seen almost anywhere else,” Green said.
Unless another exit is built in the parking lot there’s no prompt solution for the traffic. However, Green feels that students can help alleviate some of hectic traffic during lunchtime.
“I think an immediate improvement would be if each individual person could reduce their aggression and show some common courtesies to other drivers,” Green said. “That alone would solve the problem.”