Parking Permits Implemented at NHS

Ann Pomeroy, Editor-in-Chief

With the start of each school year, administrators and staff return to Newton High’s halls with new ideas not only aimed at increasing the knowledge of the student body but also protecting their safety. The newest addition in the NHS safety protocol is the implementation of parking permits for all staff and students. While this introduction was met with heated opinions, administrators stood by their goal to ensure safety even outside of the building walls.

Students were asked to fill out a short permit application with their name, grade, drivers license number, the make, model, and color of any cars they might drive and their own and a guardian’s signature. Initially, there was an option of filling out the application via a Google Form at Chromebook checkouts, however, this proved ineffective as the line quickly became backed up. Administration soon decided the best option was to take student’s paper permit application forms and enter them manually into a Google Sheet which holds and sorts all parking permit information. 

I think that the parking permits are a good idea although I feel many students will lose them soon and not buy new ones,” senior Katelin Koehn said. “I think many students will switch permits because they just don’t care and do not see the reasoning behind why we need them now. I do not believe there has been adequate information on why we need parking permits.”

Parking permits are not a new concept to the NHS campus. Many years ago permits were required, but with multiple changes in administrative roles over the years, the idea of parking permits were put on hold. The current administration believes staff and student safety is a priority and therefore believed it was a necessity to put them into practice once again. 

“The administrative team suggested reimplementing parking permits last year,” Assistant Principal Blake Smith said. “NHS used to have them back in the day and then we got rid of them. [By reimplementing parking permits] it’s a way to easily identify who’s in our parking lot and what they are doing so we can address the situation quickly.”

When word of parking permits first began to circulate, many students were concerned about the safety of their personal information. Where their information was going to be stored and what the purpose was of including all of the information on the form. Hard copies of the permit information will be safely stored by the Student Resource Officer, while virtual copies of the information such as plate number, car, make, model, color, student name and permit number are available to administrators through a Google Spreadsheet.

“At the end of the year, everybody will turn in their permits and then the process starts over again for next year,” Smith said. “Information will be destroyed [after the completion of school year] because students are right, it is personal information that they shouldn’t want getting out.”

As students are continuing to gather their information in order to apply for their permits, administrators will be issuing warnings encouraging students to complete their paperwork. Warnings will also be issued if permits are not properly placed on a vehicle’s rear view mirror as having all permits placed similarly will allow for easy identification of vehicles in the parking lot. Permits are initially free and can be replaced if needed with a $5 charge to a student’s account.

“What administrators are planning to do is for the first two weeks, we understand students are still submitting the forms, getting the forms, so nothing [as far as consequences],” Smith said. “What we’ll do is we’ll start walking the parking lot and seeing who doesn’t have a permit. We’ll put a slip on their windshield giving them a warning. Basically, if they still don’t get a permit then we’ll call them down and say, ‘Hey, here’s the paper, go get it filled out’ that kind of thing.”

Smith says the main goal of implementing parking permits is student safety. In previous years, students have been known to drive through trees and other barriers on campus and cause safety concerns. Additionally, parking permits allow for immediate identification of vehicles that seem out of place within the parking lot. 

The main purpose is to identify who is parked in our parking lot, it’s a safety issue,” Smith said. “If we see a car that’s out there, that looks out of place and doesn’t have a permit, that’s going to catch our eye real quick. In this day and age of safety, we need to know who’s in our parking lot at all times.”