Mustang Country

This week I would like to address the gate program
– not to be confused with the G.A.T.E. Program (Gifted And
Talented Education).
This week I would like to address the gate program – not to be confused with the G.A.T.E. Program (Gifted And Talented Education). More like the gate problem. For those who are unaware, at Gilroy High School we have a gate. It’s big, it’s black and it’s impossible to miss. Rome has its Coliseum; San Francisco has its Golden Gate Bridge; and GHS has its gate.

The gate has been there for quite some time for the students’ protection. Before we get farther into the issue, I’d like to back up and say that personally I have no problem with the gate. I like its “don’t-mess-with-me” personality that reminds me a lot of my younger self. It’s a solid, well-built gate that’s keeps everything and everyone either in or out. The issue I would like to address is the one involving the parking lot and the gate.

As we have all heard in the past, Gilroy High lacks lockers for its students. I don’t have a problem with this either. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a locker in which to put my books and magazine clippings of super models, but I am realistic. With recent budget cuts, it is just too much to ask. So, you ask, why don’t you just put your stuff in your car or in a friend’s car?

There are rules against that, and that’s the problem. There is a yard supervisor, much like the man in the “Wizard of Oz'” whose job it is to watch the gate to the parking lot and not let anyone go past. Not only does she tell you that you cannot go to your car during breaks, but also she says it with a certain negative tone reserved for dealing with students.

Here is my philosophy: if you want respect from teenagers you have to treat them with respect. Trust is there for the students to lose. I find it insulting that I am spoken to in an accusatory tone when I have given up most of my lunch period to get my math book so that I can be prepared for the next period.

Of course, there are those who say students will ditch school if they are allowed to go to their cars. Believe me folks, if I wanted to ditch school why would I do it by walking out the front door? Give GHS students more credit than that.

I take particular issue with these rules and there are several simple solutions to making everyone happy.

I could just park my car on the campus. That way I would leave my books in the car and, if need be, drive to some of my farther classes. I’m pretty sure someone would have a problem with a green mini-van parked in the middle of the quad though, and yes, that solution works only for me.

There used to be a loose system of collateral a few years ago, meaning that you would leave something to pick up when you came back from your car. This system would work great because not many students would drive off without their licenses or cell phones. On one occasion I offered to leave behind my left shoe and be forced to hop 200 yards to my car and back. Yet, I got rejected by the gatekeeper as if I had asked her to the prom.

Those familiar with our parking lot know that we have a gate entrance that leads from the school to the parking lot, and one that leads from the parking lot to the street. Now if the concern is ditching class, why not place someone at the outside gate instead of at the inside gate? This would keep people from driving off. The school administration would say they don’t want students hanging out in the parking lot. Well folks, we have the new security cameras, we might as well use them.

This is not too hard to conceptualize. All we are doing is moving the gatekeeper to the outside gate where he or she can stop cars from going out and leaving the other gate open for students to make trips to their cars. Rules can be enforced to prevent students from loitering in the parking lot. You are probably saying, wow Dave, it’s so simple why hasn’t anyone thought of it before? My sentiments exactly.

The current system just seems kind of silly. We spent thousands of dollars on cameras. If the school would like to watch me go to my car and come back on campus, it can easily do so. If I were to just hop in my car and peel out of the parking lot, it can see that, too. And I even have my last name on my license plate. I don’t think I would be able to get away with much.

What the issue really comes down to is respect for the students. It is the job of the educational system to prepare students to be good, honest citizens both now and when they leave Gilroy High.

At GHS the future will take us anywhere, so long as the future does not leave the parking lot.

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