Wait Your Turn

By Connor Norton and Grace Bell

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As seniors, we have spent three years waiting to park in the Back Parking Lot (BPL). We have trekked from past the field house, braved the consequences of parking in the teacher lot, and arrived at school just as the sun rises to get as close to the BPL as possible. We’ve waited our turn.

We’ve stayed outside of the BPL fences, even when it meant parking what seemed like miles away, and when a sorry student violates the senior’s right to the BPL, their car has suffered the consequences. We’ve continued to uphold and abide by this Tam custom, not only out of respect, but because we have to.

Not only is it custom, it’s the rules. In order to be allowed to park in the BPL, you must have a permit. There are a finite amount of permits for students, and seniors get priority. Therefore, if there are more seniors than permits, only seniors will get the permits to park there. This tradition isn’t just some frivolous idea that has followed graduating class after graduating class, it’s supported by the Tam administration. This adds validity to the custom, which should not be ignored.

When someone disrespects a tradition, it’s inevitable that there will be backlash. When juniors or sophomores park in the BPL, it is almost guaranteed that their car will be messed with. When we say messed with, we are not attempting to trivialize vandalism. What is done to these few unlucky cars wrongfully parked in the BPL is not vandalism.

Vandalism, according to California law, is defined as, “Maliciously defacing, damaging, or destroying somebody else’s property.” Odd parts found in the BPL or a senior’s trash from lunch is placed somewhere on the car. Trashcans box the car in. All one has to do is remove the trash or roll away the trash cans. While it’s definitely inconvenient, it’s not hurting the car and seems a far cry from vandalism.

Some may argue that while these acts aren’t vandalism, they’re disrespectful to the owner of the car. Respect goes both ways; it must be earned.

When you disrespect a tradition or people, you can’t expect to have this go unnoticed. To actively disrespect the entire senior class, who have waited their turn to park in the BPL, and not expect retaliation, is both ignorant and naive. People who park somewhere they know they’re not supposed to, and who park there in defiance of a tradition, and school rules, must realize the risk they are taking. They know their cars will get messed with––stories passed down from class to class let us know of these repercussions––yet it doesn’t dissuade them. Those willing to take this chance, knowing what they know, shouldn’t be upset when the inevitable happens.

This custom shouldn’t create any conflict in our school. It’s simple enough to follow and incredibly predictable. To those who don’t want their cars messed with, don’t park in the BPL. There is no loophole, no junior or sophomore that is the one exception. If you aren’t a senior or part of the Tam staff, you have no right parking in the BPL during school hours. We don’t condone the harassment that occurs when students take it too far but we support the underlying principles of this senior tradition.

Do what every respectful Tam student has done before you and wait your turn.