Stolen parking passes cause for replacement stickers

Taylor Kuelthau, In-depth Editor

Parking passes at Downers Grove North are looking different this year.  To symbolize a pass, students were originally given a hang tag that they could attach to their rearview mirror.  However, stolen tags became a problem, resulting in a new form of a pass: a parking sticker.  Faculty and staff are still able to use the tags, but this is the first year that stickers are required for all students.

To begin the school year, students and staff have separate ways of showing that they have access to a spot in the parking lot.

“Each staff member has been given a staff permit to place in their car.  Every student that has been approved to have a student parking permit is registered by name, parking permit number, and vehicle information,” lead security officer Russ Rau said.

Since there is only one sticker for each student, it’s becoming difficult to use the pass for multiple cars.  The original hanging tags were easier to transfer from car to car because students could take them off their rearview mirror and attach it to the one in a separate car.  Now, with stickers, that is no longer an option.

“One time when the weather was bad, I had to take a different car than the one my actual sticker was on,” senior Kate Cremer said.  “I couldn’t take the sticker off, so I ended up getting a warning.”

When a student has to drive a different car than the one they initially registered, they are expected to let the school know.  Though the stickers are difficult to remove from a car windshield, some students have found different ways of getting their pass on their car.

“Students report if they have two cars. Some are taping their passes to various cars, some are removing the sticker and transferring,” Associate Principal for Staff and Students Kelly Zuerner said.

The switch from hanging tags to stickers is due to the stolen parking pass incidents that occurred throughout the 2021-22 school year.  Tags were taken out of cars and used in ones that weren’t registered on the authorized vehicle list.  

“The parking passes have to be easier to move so people are able to drive different cars,” senior Maddie Casey said.

When asked for the number of parking passes stolen last year, Zuerner didn’t have the exact information that was needed.  Officer Powers, who previously worked in the building and is the one who has the number of stolen passes, is now working with the local police station this year.  However, there are current students who still remember the whole situation.

“I remember coming into the building one day and hearing about how a senior I knew had their pass stolen from inside of their car.  At first, I didn’t believe it at all,” senior Ellie Geiger said.

Right now, administrators are both continuing to see how the use of the new parking stickers goes.  As each school year comes to an end, the decision will be made on whether or not the passes will stay or change once again.

We are continuing to evaluate the new parking permit stickers versus the parking permit hang tags that have been used in the past. We make yearly decisions on the next year’s parking permit stickers/hang tags and we will do the same at the end of this year,” Rau said.