For three years, high school students look forward to the privileges they will receive as a senior. At R.J. Reynolds, one of the privileges seniors look forward to is early dismissal. The tradition of seniors being dismissed at 3:35 pm while the underclassmen wait an extra five minutes, until 3:40 to get out of class has been going on for multiple years. With the extra five minutes, seniors are able to beat flocks of students to the student parking lot or wherever their destination is.
“The extra 5 minutes allows seniors [which make up about half of the student drivers] to leave before traffic gets bad,” senior Daniel Kane said. “It also allows for the underclassmen to have reduced traffic times as well.”
The seniors this year have been looking forward to this privilege since they were freshmen but during the pandemic this privilege was taken away due to students not being on campus. However, it was not put back in place with the return to normal school.
“The change to everyone being dismissed at the same time was to allow the most time possible for instruction while maintaining a safe and orderly dismissal,” assistant principal Karen Morris said.
The five extra minutes to get out of the student parking lot may seem small but they are monumental. The Reynolds student parking lot is known for its chaos and the wait to get out of the parking lot after school sometimes keeps students there past four o’clock.
“I have always looked forward to having this privilege, and learning that I didn’t have it made me a little upset,” senior Ava Ginn said. “I have found that my fourth period rarely does anything in the last five minutes anyways, so this would give me an opportunity to leave faster and get home earlier in order to complete my homework and after-school activities.”
This system doesn’t only benefit the students, it also benefits the administration and anyone who is trying to get their car out at 3:40. By allowing the seniors an extra five minutes to leave the lot, the groups of students flooding to the parking lot will be staggered. Once the remaining students make it to the parking lot after they are let out at 3:40, many of the seniors have already cleared the lot, allowing the juniors to get out more easily. There would be much less chaos, fewer crashes and students would be happier with the situation.
“Releasing seniors at 3:35 would make me feel more safe, because the reduction in traffic would result in less accidents, and a much safer driving environment for all the young drivers in these lots,” Kane said.
Not only would restoring early dismissal for seniors make them happy as they regain their privilege but it would also make the student parking lot a much safer place.