A shot of the parking lot during 3rd period. A number of students at Johnston High School park in the lot using fake parking passes.
A shot of the parking lot during 3rd period. A number of students at Johnston High School park in the lot using fake parking passes.
Jacob Kim

The problem with fake parking passes

The parking situation at Johnston High School is somewhat of a controversy among underclassmen. Many students are upset because spots in the parking lot remain vacant throughout the course of the day and the school hasn’t handed out passes to fill the rest of it up.

It wouldn’t be as big of an issue for some if the school didn’t hand out the amount of tickets that they do. “I think it’s pretty dumb that the school tickets us when the lot is half empty,” Sam Lorenz ’19 said. Lorenz has received six tickets since the beginning of the school year . The policy for the amount owed per ticket corresponds with the number of violations a person has. The first ticket a person receives is worth $10, the second is worth $20 and every other violation after that is $30. In other words, Lorenz owes the school $150 in tickets (and counting). “I just don’t get it,” he said.

Because of the heavy amount of tickets handed out, some students have taken matters into their own hands to park in the lot and made fake parking passes.  Though the amount who have one are far and few between, there are even less willing to discuss the topic due to fear of potential exposure. However, there was one student who was willing to talk, though they preferred to remain anonymous. “The main reason I have one is because the walk from city hall to the high school isn’t worth the walk for me,” the student said.

Although the student understands they can park on the side road, which is relatively closer, it requires them to arrive around 7:00-7:05, close to 45 minutes before the day begins to snag a parking spot.

The student says they created the pass sometime this past winter, presumably after one of the colder days Johnston experienced. They state that they forged it through going off of how one of their friends passes looked. “It wasn’t really a complicated process,” they said. “I was just good about detailing it right and I thought it looked pretty close.”

Johnston High School associate principal Randy Klein is well aware that forgery of parking passes occurs. In fact, he’s had several instances where he’s found passes and been forced to take additional legal action. “Typically, they can be charged criminally because it’s a theft of services,” Klein said. “A student can be charged criminally, and we always confiscate it, obviously. Then they’re not eligible to receive (a genuine pass).”

However, that punishment only applies for the respective school year. “We’re not that mean,” Klein said.

The reason forgery of passes is a bigger issue than it appears is because the parking situation at JHS is already such a mess. “We have way more students that want to park here than what’s allowed, so we try to take it pretty seriously, especially when they start making fake tags,” he said.

In an effort to make it harder for students to get away with parking in the lot when they’re not supposed to, the school tells the safety monitor, Dannie Spann, to be unpredictable when checking students cars for passes. “We tell him to mix it up so nobody really knows if he’s coming or if he’s not coming. If today’s the day, then go. But we try and tell him to do it as often as possible so we can eliminate students parking where they’re not supposed to.”

Although the amount of parking, or lack thereof, at Johnston High School is the source for a lot of frustration for sophomores and freshmen, they understand that it’s necessary for everyone to eventually get their turn in the lot, even Sam Lorenz.  “It’s not fun walking now, but it’ll be better next year once we have passes of our own,” he said.

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  • white cheddar cheez itsMay 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    omg poor sam lorenz 🙁 wish the seniors would give their parking spots up to underclassmen so they can park there 🙁 seniors should just walk ugh 😑