Spaces should be based on extracurricular load

Abby Peters

Starting second semester, parking at Grady will be limited due to the removal of the dirt parking lot with the start of construction on Grady’s expanded campus. 

This limitation has caused concern over who should have prioritized parking. Solutions such as giving parking to seniors, having a lottery and first-come-first-serve have been proposed. However, the most fair way to divide parking is to give students with the busiest schedules priority.

For the students who do not receive parking, administrators and community members have suggested students walk, bike, carpool and take the bus to school. This is unrealistic for many students. Walking and biking to school while carrying materials required for sports practice is heavy and annoying. Carpooling requires schedules to line up perfectly, and with the different assortments of extracurriculars Grady offers, and this rarely occurs. The bus only takes students to and from school at regular hours; so, students with any extracurriculars are unable to ride. Being able to park at school would be much more convenient.

Two years ago, lacrosse sticks and baseball bats were deemed weapons, and students were told they could no longer carry them in the hallways. These students had to find a teacher willing to let them keep the equipment in their rooms, hope the teacher was there every day and rush to get to the classroom after school before the teacher left. Aside from classrooms, students can also try to find a car to store their equipment, but this is made hard by timing and trying to get from the bus drop off on 8th Street to the student parking lot on 10th Street.  

Many sports, including girls and boys lacrosse, baseball, softball and swimming and diving practice at offsite locations. Although Atlanta Public Schools provides transportation, many students would rather drive themselves to practice, which is against APS policy, so they can arrive on time, begin practice with a community coach and are able to take themselves straight home afterward. Also, for girls lacrosse, transportation is only provided one way, to practice but not back to Grady after practice.

Some teams also practice in the morning before school. Students are not able to take the school bus to these practices; many parents do not want to get up at 6:30 a.m. to drive their child and walking to practice alone that early is dangerous. If athletes were able to have their own cars parked at Grady, getting to and from practice would be so much easier. Grady could alleviate this problem by implementing prioritized parking to students with schedules made busy by extracurriculars or who have to leave early for dual enrollment or work. Parking should not be based on something as insignificant as seniority.

To ensure this parking policy, students could apply for a parking space via a Google form in which they provide a schedule and explain why they feel they deserve a parking spot. To regulate the spaces, the school could start selling parking passes like they have in previous years and have a teacher in the lot who walks around and checks passes, similar to metal detector duty. Giving parking to students who really need it is much more beneficial than just giving it students based on age.