'Free' parking expires: Students oppose new restrictions

When students return to Carson High School in January, they will no longer be allowed to park in Mills Park across the street, as part of an effort to curb fighting and smoking in the area.

However, many of the students who park or hang out there are opposed to the action.

"It's like a public park back here," said Ryan Chandler, 17. "I don't understand why they're doing this. Yeah, there's fights sometimes, but that's going to happen anyway."

Students use the lot in the park as a way to avoid parking at the school, which charges $25 per semester.

"I'm not paying that," Chandler said. "I'll probably just park on Robinson Street."

Carson High School Principal Ron Beck said the fee was instituted two years ago as a means to pay for maintaining the parking lot.

He said there is plenty of room to accommodate the students who now park across the street.

"We probably have 100 empty spaces in the parking lot, if not more," he said.

He said payment plans are available as well as work programs to help students who can't pay the fee.

"We make adjustments," Beck said.

However, it's not just a matter of finance.

"Why should you have to pay to park when it's a public school?" asked Thalia Dean, 18.

If authorities are hoping that a parking ban will stop students from congregating at the park, they may be disappointed.

"It's stupid," said Ciless Neihart, 16. "Nobody wants to hang out at the school. This is a park. It's what it's here for."

Neihart acknowledged that most students congregate in the parking lot to have a place to smoke and mingle, and there aren't many other options except the corner of the park along Saliman Road, referred to as "smoker's corner."

"If all these people went out to the corner, it would be 10 times as crowded," she said.

Brianna Carr, 16, said other places in town are just as unwelcoming.

"We'll get kicked out of everywhere because for some reason, adults hate teenagers," she said.

Making it more difficult for students to find a place to smoke, said Alex Ortiz, 16, won't deter them from doing it.

"They'll just ditch," he said.

Chandler said he thinks the ban on parking is an overreaction to some students throwing snowballs and acting rowdy.

He said students, for the most part, are obeying the law.

"In Nevada, you can smoke, you just can't buy," he said. "They can (complain) all they want, but it's still legal."


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