Lions Don’t Have Painted Spots

Students protest to keep parking spot tradition

Neelam Bohra, Co-editor

Principal Gordon Butler announced Jan. 12, that beginning next year, seniors will no longer be allowed to paint their parking spots. This caused a large backlash from the student body and led to the creation of an online petition and Twitter account @MHSSavetheSpots.

Butler said a lot of thought went into this decision, which included reviewing what happens in other school districts. North will also discontinue their tradition of painting senior spots.

“Our gracious community spent millions of dollars renovating our building to make it on par with Boyd,” Butler said. “It’s kind of hard to have this beautiful building with a bad parking lot. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a beautiful tradition. It looks great for two weeks, but by September the paint starts peeling off, and by this time of the year, it just doesn’t look as good when you have paint chips all over the parking lot.”

He’s heard mixed opinions on when this tradition actually started and hopes to come up with an alternative the students like.

“Sometimes traditions are lost as high schools evolve over time,” he said. “My hope is that students will work through it with me to think of viable alternatives. We can make senior year special outside of graduation and all the other normal senior activities. It will be through some other rite of passage that’s artistic but doesn’t involve anything that’s permanent or semi-permanent.”

Junior Marissa Troiani disagrees. Though traditions can be lost, she doesn’t think this should be one.

“Buying a parking spot and painting it is a senior tradition,” Troiani said. “It’s your parking spot. Many juniors, especially the class of 2017, feel like they’re getting the short end of everything. We don’t get the new stadium. We didn’t get the laptops. Now, we don’t get to paint senior parking spots, which is really infuriating for everyone who’s been looking forward to this.”

At first, students thought Troiani created the online petition. Though she supports this cause, she says she was not involved. She believes someone else put her name on it. As of now, the petition’s creator is anonymous.

“I don’t know who created it,” she said. “One of my friends knows who it was, but she wouldn’t tell me who because she doesn’t want them to get in trouble.”

Art teacher Amanda Hughes sympathizes for juniors like Marissa but still understands Butler’s reasoning.

“I think it’s a sad thing that this tradition will be gone,” Hughes said. “I feel sad for the to-be seniors. They’ve had everything kind of taken away from them. But I understand why. It’s an eyesore after a little while. Not everybody uses the same kind of paint. Not everybody is an artist. Plus, the mess that it makes in Town Lake is not okay with me. It’s bad for the environment.”

Junior Tom McGowan does not feel sad or cheated at all. Instead, he says this whole argument discriminates against students who don’t have cars.

“Basically, it’s telling kids who don’t have cars that are seniors that they can’t make their own mark on the school,” McGowan said. “It’s not really that big of a tradition, anyway. It’s only been here for the past twelve years or so. And it’s not something the school can change. I’m pretty sure it’s the superintendent’s decision.”

Yet, not all students share this viewpoint. So far, the petition has 1,400 supporters. Multiple comments from parents, students and alumni on its website claim how the parking spots bring joy to the school and should not be taken away. However, Butler sticks to his belief that change is for the better.

“I was notified a petition started, and when I was, it had about 270 names,” Butler said. “So I said, ‘that’s not very impressive, talk to me when there’s 1000.’ Here we are, two days later, and it’s at 1200. What I am excited about is it shows how special McKinney High School is and how many people are passionate about something they believe in. I hope I can capture that passion and come up with a more viable alternative.”

ParkingSpot_AMV_0824215045FixedHe believes getting rid of painted parking spots won’t take away from the school’s uniqueness.

“I want students to understand that change is always difficult,” Butler said. “It really is. I understand that. I know they feel like I’m taking something away. No, I’m just looking to enhance what we already have in place. Our culture and school spirit is never going to be defined by an event or an activity. It’s defined by the 2,764 kids that walk through these halls every day. There is only one original McKinney High School, and that’s what makes us special.”