THS parking lot

The parking spaces at Tullahoma High School are now adorned with numbers painted by members of the school’s Marine JROTC program, according to Principal Kathy Rose. The numbered spaces must now be reserved by students who wish to park their cars on campus during school hours.

The rules of the road have changed for all Tullahoma High School students. According to a Facebook post for the high school, student drivers will now have to reserve their parking spaces in either the north or south parking lots when they purchase their parking pass.

This differs from the way the school has previously sold parking permits, as students will now have assigned spaces as opposed to being permitted to park anywhere on campus.

According to THS Principal Kathy Rose, the change is another facet of the school’s safety protocols.

“Our parking lot is not a secured location,” she said. “Knowing who comes and goes during the day can be a challenge.”

By assigning students specific parking places, Rose said “immediate information” about who is on the school’s campus will be available.

In previous years, Rose said students have created their own counterfeit passes or simply forgone passes altogether, which then forced the school to contact law enforcement to identify vehicles.

“This is time consuming and, frankly, not a good use of time,” she said.

Sales for parking passes will begin tomorrow, with separate lines for each parking lot, according to the post.

In the post, students are asked to have several different options of parking spaces in their minds when they reserve their space, as some areas may fill up early and thus become unavailable.

There is also tiered pricing for the passes, which are ordinarily $10, according to the post.

Students in the Renaissance program, however, may have access to reduced pricing.

Those students who earned “Wildcat” or “White” card status in the fourth quarter of the previous year will forgo paying for a pass entirely, according to the post. Students who earned “Black card” status will pay just $5 for their permits.

Passes go on sale tomorrow and will last through the next week, according to the post, with seniors eligible to purchase their permits on Monday and Tuesday. Juniors will have permit access on Wednesday and Thursday, and any sophomores or freshmen who have vehicles on campus will be able to purchase their passes on Friday.

Parking lot enforcement will begin next Monday, Aug. 27, according to the post. Students will then be required to park in the space they have reserved, or risk being towed at their own expense.

Also at risk of being towed are any vehicles without a parking permit or any cars parked in spots they have not reserved.

The way the school now approaches parking permits is not uncommon, according to Rose.

“What we are doing is no different from a college campus where students are required to register their vehicles and purchase a parking pass,” she said.

Further, she added, some students have approached the new system pleasantly.

“A number [of students] seem pleased with the idea that they can choose their own spot, and it is guaranteed,” she said.

Regardless of the imposition it may be to some, Rose said she believed the majority of car-owning students understood the rationale for the change in policy.

“We believe the majority of our students understand that our ultimate goal is the safety of our campus, and we believe we will have very little problem with cooperation.”

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.