Editorial: Parking not permitted

The WSS Editorial Board urges the West community to park in designated parking spots instead of handicapped, staff or other reserved spaces.
Editorial: Parking not permitted
Editorial: Parking not permitted
Gianna Liu

During passing time, daily announcements list the license plates of cars parked in the fire lane, followed by threats of towing. While the West administration has put effort into enforcing punishments, vehicles still park in reserved spots, such as handicapped and staff parking.

Ideally, West would have the capability to monitor their parking lots frequently. However, the school can’t achieve this due to the district-wide understaffing of paraeducators who are assigned to this task. The administration tries to send a warning before towing vehicles, but ultimately, the West community should uphold its moral responsibility of not parking in designated spaces.

Since the start of the school year, West’s disabled students have arrived at their reserved parking spots to find them illegally taken by students, parents or other staff members. West’s traveling lunch staff and other part-time teachers experience similar frustrations. Traveling and part-time staff have tight schedules and should not have to use their time searching for parking. While some may ignorantly park in these parking spaces, others choose to park in handicapped and staff parking, assuming there won’t be consequences.

The WSS received an email from an anonymous account claiming to be a West teacher. The email included reports of unregistered cars frequently parked in handicapped and loading spots at West, despite being illegal. Due to construction, parking is limited by the West Wing, causing staff to park in loading zones beside the handicapped spots. Students also might park in the loading zones to shorten walking distance.

Do not park in the two loading zones next to the handicapped zone. Park in the designated area. (Gianna Liu)

In addition, parents or guardians waiting to pick up students block wheelchair access by parking in loading zones of handicapped spots. This is not only a significant inconvenience for disabled students but also a safety concern. For Aria Warren ’26, a student with cerebral palsy and in need of a wheelchair, arriving and leaving school has additional difficulties due to illegal parking. Audra Warren, Aria’s paraeducator and sister, recalls the many times when she was forced to move parking spots to have room to load Aria into the vehicle despite the dangers of leaving them alone in a busy parking lot. Additionally, parents and staff also park next to sidewalk slopes that connect the sidewalk to the road. This blocks off the sidewalks and hinders disabled students from leaving the sidewalk, preventing them from safely getting to and from the school.

If waiting for a person, do not park in front of the sloped exit of the sidewalk. (Gianna Liu)

The WSS Editorial Board wants to remind administrators, students, parents and staff alike that neglecting students with disabilities violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title III of the ADA requires all places of public accommodation, such as schools, to comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards and reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures. In Iowa, vehicle owners without required credentials found in handicapped parking spots will be fined $200.

Although West has communicated its intention to tow illegally parked cars, the message is easy to miss at the end of West’s weekly newsletter, the Weekly. The WSS Editorial Board advises the West administration to create a more formal letter or advisory video to explain this issue to the community. Even if the West administration does not currently have the resources to give its full attention to the parking lots, the community can contribute by sending a report to alert the West administration in the form of an email, note or call to the office, with evidence such as a license plate or photo. Students should also remind their parents of responsible parking procedures and make plans to avoid traffic, especially while West is still under construction.

The WSS Editorial Board wants to remind the community to uphold their moral obligations, especially when the actions performed hurt others. While it is easy to park in a loading zone close to the school when running late, it is important to park in your designated spot.

 

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