Opinion: Don’t have an off-campus pass?


VHS students showing their off-campus passes at the parking lot entrance. At the start of lunch, a long line often forms at the parking lot entrance. This image was taken in the middle of lunch, when less students were making their way to the lot. Photo by: Ruby Lacques

VHS administration keeps pushing the boundaries of its power; when will it stop?


On Feb. 24, the morning announcements made two changes to the VHS student parking lot rules. As of Feb. 27, students arriving during break cannot stay in their cars and students are now required to use an off-campus pass just to walk to the lot and sit in their own cars at lunch. This is ridiculous. Students with cars have every right to freely spend their lunch comfortable and warm in their personal vehicles. An off-campus pass has certain attendance requirements, which will prohibit some kids from enjoying their lunch, which is short enough as is.

The changes are unfair for students who are unable to be at school every day and on time due to family obligations. Furthermore, the crowd of kids trying to get into the lot takes up time, shortening the brief lunch that students already dislike.


Security guard Chris Lacea said, “I wouldn’t be a fan [of the policy if I was a student] only because I know everyone is hanging out with their friends. There’s not many areas to hang out here on campus. But as far as me being a campus supervisor and working for the school, it is beneficial in a way because of the fact that we had that fight [in the upper lot]. It’s more for safety. And if it’s seniors and juniors, [they] are more mature, [they] understand [that] it’s a privilege to be out here in the lot, maybe some of the younger students don’t understand that…Think about it, if you count the amount of cars there was before we new implemented the rule compared to now, there are less cars, there’s less students, so technically it’s not that it’s a pass that’ll [stop fights], because…like I said there’s less traffic,so if you take [fewer] people in an area, there’s less chance of people fighting.”


If this new policy is in response to recent parking lot incidents, then the VHS administration should focus their efforts on sending a security guard or two to sit in the student lot, where they can protect kids themselves instead of trusting a sticker on an ID card. 


As of Feb. 27, students are required to show their second semester off-campus pass to security before entering the student parking lot. Graphic by: Jane Armstrong

The problem isn’t strangers on campus; it’s the lack of support for students. Almost every problem we have experienced on campus and in the student lot involves people enrolled at VHS, so how will campus passes stop anything? Also, why are all students being punished rather than VUSD and our own administration taking time to brainstorm better solutions for the recent problems on campus?


Lacea said, “I think it’ll be a hit or miss. I mean at the end of the day, sometimes everyone can have their days, [and] mood swings. It can work, but it also [might not] work. We’re hoping it does work that way. It’s not like we’re implementing a rule just because we’re being bad towards [students].”


This news came as a huge surprise to students. If you are responsible enough to get your own license and drive a car to school, you are responsible enough to sit in it at lunch. The lot is a place where upperclassmen, in particular, spend their time and can socialize with a variety of different students. It is one of the most popular places on campus to eat lunch and should not be restricted without a clear cause. Restricting students from accessing their own property is unethical and unjust. With many of the students who drive to school being on the verge of adulthood, we expect to be given more freedom as we mature, not less. In a matter of months, many of us will be in new towns, states or even countries figuring out life on our own with unlimited freedom. The majority of us are responsible young adults who deserve to be treated as such. 


Jack Gallo ‘23 said, “I think it just takes up more time. They should probably extend [lunch] more if they want us to wait to individually pull out our passes and show them. I think it’s unnecessary for the fight, [the senior lot] should just be for seniors because we don’t have lockers, and that’s where we put all our stuff, in our cars.


The rule is unnecessary and time-consuming. Security doesn’t enjoy having to check hundreds of IDs at lunch, and students don’t appreciate having to take the time to get them checked. The rule is a poor attempt by staff to combat a larger problem. Car tires are being slashed, and windows are being broken by VHS students; who’s to say a sticker would stop them? Checking students’ IDs won’t change anything. There is a larger problem at hand. Don’t punish the entire student body for the irresponsible acts of a few students. 


Gallo said, “No [There won’t be any benefits] at all. There are fights everywhere at school.”