The student parking lot causes chaos in both students and staff


Liza McCarthy

The FHC Student parking lot where students face overwhelming traffic everyday.

While the student parking lot is often seen as a scene of accidents and dense traffic, security guard Jack Verhil sees something standing out more distinctly lately: vandalism.

For Verhil, the frequency of accidents and collisions between cars is actually much lower than he would’ve expected in a high school parking lot compared to the vandalism issues he’s come across.

“In the parking lot, the biggest thing I’ve seen is vandalism on other people’s cars,” Verhil said. “There are people leaving school when they shouldn’t be, and then coming back with lunch. Then they decide to throw it on someone else’s car as a joke. At the beginning of the year, we had an issue [of] someone smearing food on somebody’s car. Just [the other day], I identified who vandalized another car, and so I’m dealing with that.”

While vandalism isn’t usually an everyday thing faced by students and staff, Verhil and the students both face the matter of parking lot traffic every day.

Since many students start driving to school when they get their license—typically in their sophomore year—the parking lot reaches its maximum capacity quickly. 

After a long day of classes, students want to be able to get home swiftly, and some resort to performing unsafe procedures to do so.

Slow down kids, don’t drive so fast.

— Nate Evans

“The big thing that is an issue is with the amount of students all leaving at once,” Verhil said, “is that it backs up the line up outside the student pickup, and it causes [students] to be stuck on the service road. Some [students] that are in a rush to get home will go around other cars and drive in the opposite lane of traffic, possibly [risking] a collision, getting hit, or hitting a student crossing the road.” 

To fix the traffic load, the yellow gate behind the middle school was opened up. That lot serves as an overflow parking lot, and no student, parent, or anyone else, is allowed to park on the side of the service drive. This allows high schoolers to have less backup and not have to switch lanes to get around it.

Traffic is unavoidable with the abundance of drivers, but no student should put themselves or others in danger to get around traffic. 

Senior Katie Wilson struggles along with her classmates to leave quickly. She often doesn’t use the service drive because she doesn’t like the cars in the pickup line at the middle school quickly pulling out in front of her, making the whole experience more stressful than it already is. Due to this, she faces the same traffic load that she’s seen every day since she started driving to school.

“I honestly don’t really know [how to improve the traffic] because everyone wants to leave at the same time,” Katie said. “With that many people, it’s going to be busy no matter what.”

The quantity of cars all trying to leave in the same direction is overwhelming for Katie, who shares the popular opinion with many other high school drivers.

Senior Nate Evans faces the same issues on his way out of school. It typically takes Nate 15 to 20 taxing minutes to successfully exit the parking lot. This presses heavily on his schedule because he often works right after school.

He has no time to think about how to fit his agenda together when he has to watch out for other drivers not paying attention.

“It’s actually terrifying leaving the parking lot a lot of the time,” said Nate, who drives a 2001 Nissan Maxima. “Kids will just drive insanely recklessly. I feel like I’m going to get my car absolutely smashed every day. I’ve seen a couple of accidents [in the parking lot.] The usual [is] where a kid pulls out in front of someone else, like [senior] Ben Taylor’s car got the entire front end ripped off last year.”

Hearing of other accidents from simple mistakes is enough to make Nate cautious. 

The student parking lot is aggravating for Nate; he offers sound advice for everyone to think about the next time that they leave the parking lot.

“In the words of Officer Svoboda, everyone needs to calm down and drive slower,” Nate said. “Slow down kids, don’t drive so fast.”