Waiting to Get in Line
Between 7:10 and 7:20 a.m., most Atholton students are impatiently waiting to enter the school’s parking lot. Honking, yelling, and complaining are all a part of most students’ normal morning routine as they face the dreaded traffic of the school’s late line every morning.
During the first few weeks of school, traffic in the morning was calm — less than a five-minute wait. But as school dragged on, so did the line of traffic, sometimes stretching as far as Giant. Office administrators often wonder why the line has become so long. To be blunt, the amount of congestion heading toward Atholton parking lots is a direct result of the carpool lane. Parents clog the line and block the student parking lot entrance from arriving students, making many late to their first period class.
However, the tardiness goes beyond the morning traffic, stretching into the lobby, where the late arrival line flows around the corner and out the door. The stress from waiting in line each morning, running to class, standing in another line, and being late creates a negative impact on student’s learning abilities during their first period classes. As a result of being late to first period, each tardy student must stand in a line, averaging about 10-20 minutes long, be marked unexcused, and miss a majority of his or her first period.
The morning late line has become a major issue occurring in the school, which has been addressed in several meetings among administrators.
“We try to come up with new ways to motivate you guys to get here on time. People come in here all the time, complaining about the length of the late line when reality is, had they had not been late, they would not have that concern,” said Mr. Fritz.
From the administrators stand point, the easiest way to avoid being stuck in traffic is to wake up and leave earlier. Although this may seem like a viable solution from an adult’s perspective, students already have a hard enough time waking up early to beat the 7:25 a.m. bell.
During the first week of February, when the weather was uncommonly cold and snow was in the forecast, the amount of students late was four times more than the amount late in the first week of March. This was especially noticeable on February 3 when the number of students signing in late in the lobby was at a record high of 57 students, compared to the 8 students late a month later on March 3. The weather is one of the biggest factors that determine the length of the late line. The days when it rains or snows create the longest lines.
“The two hour delay days were really frustrating for us, because it seemed like although you had two extra hours to get here, you were still late,” said Mr. Fritz “We had more lateness on those days than on a regular day.”
Due to ice, on February 1 schools opened two hours later. However, because of the inclement weather, more people decided to drive to school rather than taking the bus. On the day of this delayed opening, 49 students came to school between the times of 7:25 and 8:00 a.m.
“In my personal opinion, I’d rather have my mom drive me to school, than wait at the bus stop in the freezing cold,” said Junior Emilio Altamirano.
As a result of the increasing amount of parents driving their children to school on inclement weather days, the traffic going to Atholton becomes more packed than usual, and students suffer.
“We are actually looking at changing one of the parking lots. It’s not official yet, but we’re trying to get another entrance to the lot next to the auditorium to ease some of the traffic flow down there,” said Mr. Fritz.
Hopefully, following renovations, traffic will flow more smoothly, and fewer students will be late to class due to congestion.
With April bringing more showers, students should expect the traffic to become worse. The only real solution students have to avoid being late is to simply leave earlier, or prepare for a 6:40 morning detention.