Parking lot problems, protest of dissent?


Katie Hernandez

Seniors Morgan Gholson and Grace Gibbons pick up trash at the Student Political Engagement Club (SPEC) parking lot pickup event on Oct. 14, 2021.

Elisabeth Poock and Katie Hernandez

Throughout the past year, there has been an increase in the amount of trash from students in the parking lots of Ankeny High School (AHS). From food wrappers to chewed-up gum, the pathway into the high school is regularly covered in litter. 

An establishment’s appearance can reflect on the students who are a part of the school. Students and teachers are intrigued by the sudden rise in the amount of litter in and around the school. Math teacher Deborah Cote-Glander, is invested in the trash situation around AHS and wants to know the cause of such a rapid change. She believes that it might be linked to student opinions. 

“I see a lot of masks and we know that our community is divided over should we wear them or not, and I know people are angry about it,” Cote-Glander said. “I know students are divided and I wonder if that is part of it.” 

While it is hard to tell the concrete cause of the littering, it is apparent that the rise of trash coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

AHS faculty are not the only ones concerned with this problem. Additionally, a student-run organization, Student Political Engagement Club (SPEC) has taken matters into its own hands by hosting a parking lot pickup day. 

Senior and SPEC member, Morgan Gholson, attended the trash pickup day. She believes that the litter creates a poor view of AHS and gives off a negative student experience. 

“I feel like it’s just laziness,” Gholson said. 

Gholson believes that laziness is a pandemic that needs to be addressed. Even as laziness is a possible cause, students also may not have proper access to resources to be able to throw away their trash.

Numerous faculty members have also noticed a change in the environment of AHS and have proposed a variety of ways to improve the trash situation. The most prominent idea is the addition of more trash cans throughout the school and parking lot, with hopes and the likely possibility to gain additional access to them in the future. 

“I think we need to figure out a way of how do we work together in our school building so that the few taking part in the TikTok challenges aren’t taking away from other things we view as necessary to keep our school clean,” Counselor Mici Vos said.

The administration believes that students need to work together to solve the issue and hold each other accountable. 

Associate Principal Kelsie Goodman says that making trash cans readily available is a great idea. This is just one of the possible solutions to solving the littering problem. Through trial and error, AHS can become clean again. 

As students and faculty have noticed an increase in the amount of trash in and around the school, it has become a passion for those who want to help restore the school to what it once was. 

“Maybe as a student body we cannot change the whole world, but we can change our school,” Cote-Glander said. “I believe that.”