It’s 8:05 in the morning and you’re struggling to get to class before the bell rings. When you think about it, walking to class doesn’t seem that hard, but when you’re against a huge wave of students walking in different directions, you can kiss your “never tardy” award goodbye.
This year, West Potomac has an enrollment of close to 2,400 students and the number is predicted to increase. Because the school year has just started, student services says that a rough estimate cannot be made because students are still enrolling.
Overpopulation has always been one of the many challenges for most schools in the U.S. In 2013, Fairfax County stated that overcrowded classrooms have been the number one problem in the county. Because of this, there has been too much reliance on temporary classrooms in nearly 1,000 trailers. Recently, Fairfax County announced that they are building a new elementary school because of the overcrowding issue.
Going to school is also tough. Normally, in most school buses, one seat is for two students but this year, because of our growing population, buses are so full that some students have to sit on the aisle.
“It’s really annoying that I have to run to my bus all the time,” says sophomore Kevin Reyes. “Because if I don’t, then that means there won’t be any seats left for me.”
Fairfax County bus drivers believe that it’s very dangerous when the bus is too overcrowded especially when there are not enough seats which can lead to minor injuries.
“You have to really pay attention to the kids, and make sure they’re not doing anything they’re not supposed to be doing,” says bus driver Cherish Walker.
Though school buses are very overcrowded, our hallways are much worse.
“Having the school being overpopulated just sucks,” says freshman Ephraim Takyi. He adds that he can’t even make a turn to go to another hallway or open his locker either.
Some students would even compare hallway traffic patterns to that of the Beltway.
“It was literally stop and go,” says junior Mary Peterson. “It’s really aggravating.”
However, some students think that complaining about the overcrowding problem won’t do any good.
“Yes, it is annoying but what are they gonna do? Kick ⅓ of the students from school so you can have more elbow room?” argues senior Giovanni Gomez.
As for the teachers, it can be difficult trying to remember a ton of students.
“It’s a little stressful. It’s hard to get around of everybody,” says math teacher Maura Neumeister.
“Everybody is walking around with a 20 pound book bag on, which takes up space,” adds math teacher Kevin Johnson. “People can’t move, it looks like an airport in here, which is also a major issue because not everyone gets their own locker so they have no choice but to walk around with a heavy backpack.”
Though most students seem to hate the overpopulated school, students like sophomore Fatima Zia believes the increase in enrollment is a good thing.
“I like it, I feel like we’re coming together. More students means more people are getting education and it means they will become something one day and it will make the economy better,” she says. She added that it makes her feel “more human.”