Drastic new admin rules are unwarranted and detrimental

Former Iron Horse Middle School Principal Demetrius Ball replaced Principal Megan Keefer this school year, bringing with him a barrage of new, far-reaching rules. These include revoking senior parking lot privileges, restricting where students can spend their lunch and brunch breaks, assigning students specific parking spots, and enforcing stricter policies regarding leaving class and using the bathroom. 

While we understand the good intentions behind the new rules and appreciate Ball and the new administration’s responsiveness, their approach to making the new policies was flawed. 

Administrators failed to build connections and trust with students before implementing drastic new rules at the start of the year, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. These first weeks of school, students were naturally frustrated to adapt to a new set of school rules with no explanation. Better initial communication would have softened the blows to the community and left less room for speculation and stewing frustration. 

The rules also created unintended consequences, such as a cramped quad with little space or seating for lunch. The new policy that students without fifth or sixth periods must leave in the first 10 minutes of lunch also prevented those students from eating and socializing with friends.

Administrators remedied some of these issues last week by rescinding that rule and opening the main building and part of the back of campus during lunch. But they still need to address the egregious lack of seating. Students shouldn’t be subjected to fighting over shaded tents and crowded tables when administrators could simply reopen areas on campus like the football field, basketball courts and parking lot, all of which were open last year.

The football field would provide seating in the bleachers. Plus, reopening the field and basketball courts would provide a place for students to engage in healthy physical activities  during lunch. Opening the parking lot would give upperclassmen the pleasure of accessing their cars during school hours again, making the most out of their expensive parking permits. 

Seniors this year never got the privilege of sitting in the comfort of their cars during lunch to eat or simply enjoy shade from the heat. The parking lot is a practical freedom that seniors would appreciate having access to. The gates can be closed if students leaving becomes a problem. 

Another parking lot problem was created by the decision to assign students spots, which seems straightforward on paper but caused issues because of a lack of enforcement. Students’ assigned spots are often taken by other cars, leaving those with permits $125 poorer and no parking space to show for it.

Last year, there was no issue with the first-come-first-serve parking system. Administrators need to remove the rule or find a way to ensure students don’t squat on others’ spots.

That said, we do acknowledge that some of the new rules are reasonable. For instance, the policies regarding leaving class in the first and last 10 minutes of class address attendance issues and makes exceptions for emergencies.

Still, while students usually don’t have a say in school rules for their own good, this is one situation where we cannot sit back and watch. We welcome Ball and our new administrators, but we need to set ‘strong boundaries’ of our own for what rules can and can’t fly.