Sandpoint High School reflects on the new prohibitive parking lot restriction


Peyton Mullen

Loitering is no longer allowed during school hours.

Olivia Lynch, Copy Editor

In the past week that has marked the start of the 2019-20 school year, a new rule that targets loitering students has hit the oddly uneven pavement of Sandpoint High School’s parking lot. 

Directly from the Sandpoint High School Student Handbook, the words that have both infuriated and consoled the staff and student body states, “For the safety of all students and staff, students are prohibited from loitering in the parking lot between the hours of 7:30am-2:48pm. This includes sitting inside or outside of vehicles, hanging out, or standing around in all SHS parking lots. Students may retrieve items from the parking lot but not remain in or around vehicles.”

In other words, students are no longer allowed to hang out in the parking lot during school hours, including lunch. If violated, the rule may result in parking pass restrictions. 

Vice Principal Dickinson states that this rule was put into effect after numerous attempts to reach out to students in order to improve negative student behavior, which includes boxing, vaping, drug use, and reckless behavior. On top of this, Security Officer David Watkins says Sandpoint High School is responsible for any type of dangerous or illegal behavior that takes place on school property.

In contrast, junior Cecil Giard disagrees with the new restriction. Giard said, “If I’m paying to park my car at a public school, I should be able to sit in my own car.”  Giard said he usually sits in his car at lunch and now must find a new place to eat lunch. He and many students feel this way, but teacher Scott Fitchett gives a new perspective on the rule. 

Fitchett says that the rule has a “dual purpose goal”. One part of the goal is to keep inappropriate things from happening, which could create a myriad of issues, including lawsuits that the school could face if anything seriously bad happened on school property. 

The second part of the goal is to attempt to create a positive school culture and have people want to be here and be together. “If everyone’s spread out at lunch, there’s no way for these kids to create connections or interact with anyone but their chosen group.” Fitchett says that he hopes that we can make the shift as a school to consistently choosing to be inside the school during lunch, but doesn’t know if it’s realistic as of now.

So, where do you stand? Is the new rule a step too far for the administration, or is it a step closer to a connected student body? No matter the direction your mind takes you, it’s set in stone; the rule isn’t going anywhere.