Seniors get green light at lunchtime

"High school seniors were given the right to drive their cars off-campus during lunch time, but first they had to listen to lectures from several school board members.Senior class president Megan Bartlett and other class officers went before the board Monday to seek the annual exemption from the closed campus policy. In past years, seniors have been able to leave campus during lunch under certain conditions.But the Class of 2001 had to deal with the sins of prior classes. We know there have been problems in the past, Bartlett said, before citing the usual reasons why this class, too, should be allowed the off-campus privilege: We're 18, we can fight for our country . . . 35 minutes at lunch isn't too much to ask.Sean Edwards, class information officer, said this class will work hard to stop the problem of underclassmen leaving in cars driven by seniors, and also address parking lot safety concerns.Principal Mike Johnson told the board that, due to past problems, this class has a new, tougher, contract to live with if it wants to continue off-campus lunches. In addition, he said, there will be improved campus supervision of the parking lot.Ray Gabelein, school board member, warned the students that if they abuse the privilege they will be letting everyone down. But he commended their new policies and their presentation. You've gone the extra mile to make this work, he said.School board president Jim Adsley said two juniors were involved in rollover auto accidents during the lunch period last year, and he alluded to community concerns he's heard about young drivers during lunch break. There are safety problems, he said. There's an overall image problem within the community.Johnson said he wouldn't feel comfortable allowing off-campus driving again under the old policy, but he supports the new agreement with the students. Off-campus driving privileges require a 2.0 average and no failing classes, and a number of safety conditions. They've listened to the challenge and expectations, he said.Gabelein described the policy as zero tolerance.The class request was approved by board members Adsley, Gabelein, Barbara Schneeman and Wendy Alexander. Bob Riggs was absent.But seniors won't be leaving campus quite yet. First they will hear another lecture about driving expectations, this one from Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg. "

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