OPINION: Overcrowding creates traffic jams at Jupiter High


A surplus of students at Jupiter High has resulted in long traffic lines before and after school, in addition to long lunch lines. 

Newly-enforced tardy rules are causing students to rush to school, resulting in congestion as early as 7 a.m. At times, the car lines stretch for nearly a mile. 

“It’s a six-minute drive from my house to school, but it ends up taking half an hour,” Ellie Baxter, senior, said. “In my opinion, I think it’s unfair you only get four late passes to class, which becomes serving lunch detention after the fourth.” 

Dr. Colleen Iannitti, Jupiter High principal, is aware of the long lines in the morning, but also understands the importance of getting to school on time, now that students have had time to adjust their morning routines accordingly.

“I am concerned about how long kids are taking to get here to school,” Iannitti said. “We never changed the rules. We just didn’t enforce the rules [at the beginning of the school year] because we wanted kids to get an opportunity to figure the timing out.”  

During the 2020-2021 school year, 500-600 students were eating school lunches. This year, school breakfast and lunch were made free for all students, and now, nearly triple the amount of people are getting food. Ailey McRary, freshman, said she’s usually late to her sixth-period class because of the long lunch lines.

“[The lunch lines] are too long, and they take up way too much time so I can’t socialize with my friends,” McRary said. “Sometimes, I just don’t get lunch because I don’t want to be late.”

Because of a shortage of lunch staff, there are fewer lunch lines than in previous years, resulting in longer waits.

“If they were fully staffed, we would not have a long line, so it’s really a staffing problem,” Iannitti said.

Students are cutting into the lines to have enough time to eat their lunch, often causing further delays. 

“A bunch of people cut [the line], so I think they should have people there to supervise,” McRary said. “[The wait] goes from three minutes to 35 minutes.”

Students have come up with possible solutions to this issue, such as the idea of additional places to buy specific food and beverages.

“Personally, I think there should be more vending machines where you get drinks and snacks such as Cheetos, Sprites and sparkling ice drinks,” Nicholas Georgeou, sophomore, said. “[The vending machines] will also be more profitable for the school.”

Although there are few solutions now for the excessive lunch line, Jupiter’s staff has developed ways to ease overcrowding in between class periods.

“We got 26 new portables last year, so that really helps with the overcrowding in the hallway,” Iannitti said.

As more and more students are getting punished for being late to school, the frustration is growing among the student body.

“Instead of punishing students for something we can’t control, there should be more energy put into trying to help the situation,” Gianna Grieco, junior, said.