Parking: The Itch Students Can’t Scratch


Students walking Las Fresas first thing in the morning. Courtesy of Samuel Escobar Marin

Students’ safety is being held at stake by parking in Las Fresas. Over the past two years, hazardous encounters have taken place, making parking more dangerous for our well-being. Students have expressed their discomfort of not being able to park in school, but due to school policies, it cannot be overruled.

Beside Las Fresas there is a hardware store with unknown workers, which has already compromised the safety of both students and the cars. These events have caused outrage among students; women’s safety and the small parking space which lead to scrapes, stolen property, and crashes.

The ongoing issue has created an unsafe space for teenagers, especially girls. Women may face specific challenges related to their gender, such as sexual harassment for the most part by strangers. Being part of the female gender can generate a vulnerable environment.

Many teens around the school have suffered from the regular catcalls made by outsiders in Las Fresas, they’re not even words, they are gestures and actions that make the journey to your car uncomfortable.

In our community, we have various situations that have altered the safety of parking outside TCS.

Alumni Daniela Cataldo suffered stalking problems from strangers in her parking experience last year. Cataldo regularly found anonymous notes taped to her car window; this happened for a long period before she decided to talk with school authorities. After an investigation was done, the stranger was part of the hardware store and had a “crush” on Cataldo. TCS took immediate action and let Cataldo park inside with a special permit.

Although actions were taken this shouldn’t be something happening to a teenager, this was a minor issue that never took lead, however, there are cases that are too late to intervene.

Some situations are minor but are still relevant to the safety of TCS students. Maria Correa, Grade 11, has faced several encounters with strangers; intense interrogatories for her number, being followed to her car, and cat calls when walking alone.

This can be happening to many girls, meaning we need to speak up as a community to help others and try to look for the best solution. However, it is important to recognize that men can also be vulnerable to societal issues and that not all women are equally affected by these issues. We need to feel safe in the surroundings of the school. People need to know what is happening, and why people are feeling vulnerable in all possible ways.

Cars parked in the streets have a higher risk of being involved in hit-and-run accidents, vandalism, theft, and countless damages. Even though TCS doesn’t demand us to park at Las Fresas, it’s the nearest parking spot space to the pedestrian entry.

For the past 2 years, the dilemmas regarding student parking have increased rapidly, with more complaints about crashes, stolen property, and car damages. The average amount of cars parked in Las Fresas each day has come close to 40 cars, but a small ratio of cars park in private areas with a parking fee.

Minors have been involved in serious accidents due to the parking area. Senior Ezequiel Orejuela was involved in an accident with a motorcycle that ended up sending the motorcyclist to the hospital. Orejuela was exiting his parking spot when the bike hit him from behind. The impact instantly sent the motorcyclist flying to the ground. Orejuela’s car suffered damages and the biker suffered scratches and loss of blood. The school took care of everything, and the biker pulled through, but this could happen to anyone, and the school should try to avoid this happening to minors.

In the pedestrian street, there is a right-angle curve that endangers students due to its poor visibility. Students who constantly visit Las Fresas identify the dangers the curve has, but students with no experience have suffered great scares due to aggressive driving from others. A bigger incident hasn’t happened yet, but the chances of it happening are very high.

Las Fresas has become a public parking lot, not only for TCS students but for outsiders; buses, trucks, and unknown cars. Every day the number of cars is increasing and every day the students find it more difficult to find a spot.

Paulina Moreno, Grade 11, commented that she has to leave for school at 6:40, in order to find a spot. Due to the lack of parking spots students are in need of looking for other places to park, which consequently creates more tardiness around the school.

Students from Grade 11 to Seniors are constantly suggesting solutions to our school so we can evade Las Fresas’ situation.

A common suggestion is constructing another parking lot available only for students. This would be constructed in a place the school finds appropriate for such a big project. We could include a system where you can only enter with your physical School ID. Also, this could be a solution accessible to Grade 11 and Senior students, making it a more manageable situation for the administration.

However, Parents and students have tried convincing principals to make this idea possible, thus leading the administration to consider it but as of right now, no changes have been made.

It should be noted that the level of car safety, when parked on the street, can vary depending on the location and neighborhood. In some areas, street parking may be relatively safe, while in others it may be very dangerous. In our case, we can say that Las Fresas is an unsafe place to park.

Parents are concerned about their kids’ safety, especially parents who have daughters in school and are really worried about the current country’s situation and are worried about their safety situation. Aside from Las Fresas hasn’t been really open-minded about TCS students parking there which has caused many problems for the school and the families.

We should take action before something big ends up happening, going and leaving school shouldn’t put our well-being at risk.