At Andover, car permission is determined by stickers. Upper and Senior boarders with a yellow “FAC” sticker can ride in day students’ cars in and around the town of Andover with permission from a faculty member, as long as both parties have a sticker. These stickers are obtained from the Dean of Students office and are entirely dependent upon whether students’ legal guardians signed the car permission form that corresponds to their student’s grade. Since Massachusetts residents over the age of 16 are able to obtain a Junior Operator’s License, many day students have permission to drive. Because many students turn 16 before or during their Lower year, I believe that Juniors and Lowers should also be able to obtain permission to ride in day students’ cars.
Many times during the term, I have urgently needed school or athletic supplies not sold on campus but was unable to receive a ride from a day student because of the car permission restrictions placed on Juniors. When I ran out of shampoo, I had to ask my host family for a ride. Upon losing my dance shoes shortly thereafter, I needed to request their help again. Other instances in which the car permission limitations placed on Juniors and Lowers seemed illogical to me were when I had to walk 15 minutes downtown for a five-minute haircut, or when I spent 20 minutes walking to Whole Foods because I needed to purchase only one item. Though I understand that the safety of Andover students is always the Andover administration’s foremost priority, excessive regulations can cause much inconvenience for lowerclassmen boarders.
As with any school policy mentioned in the Blue Book, students are more likely to abide by rules that seem “fair,” whereas they are more inclined to break rules believed to be unnecessarily restrictive. If school rules are too prohibitive, some students may feel that they are excessive, unfair, and therefore invalid. This would result in more students breaking car permission rules, a situation undesirable for both students and the administration.
While restrictions on car permission for underclassmen should be reduced, some rules must be in place to ensure the safety of students. Underclassmen boarders could confirm with their house counselors the exact time of their departure and expected return time, something upperclassmen do not need to do. Day students who have received driving permission should be warned to avoid driving infractions, threatened with the confiscation of their sticker and driving privileges.
Nonetheless, more freedom should be granted to the student body, particularly to lowerclassmen, regarding car permission for reasons of convenience, practicality, and efficiency. It’s better for adolescents to take on these responsibilities earlier in their Andover careers, so they can be more prepared for their futures.
Candy Xie is a Junior from Shenzhen, China.