By Maeve O’Brien, ’16
Teenagers whirl around Upper Arlington in their cars, celebrating the freedom that comes with earning a driver’s license. However, as of recently, some students have had frequent encounters with the police at parties, within the schools and primarily, on the roads.
Although police patrol the streets to secure a sense of safety over the community, some teenagers claim that their presence on the roads generally arrives with a feeling of paranoia.
Sophomore Christian Weaver acquired his license last summer. He has since encountered the police while driving.
“Whenever I see a cop I’m like, ‘Shoot, what’s he going to do? Pull me over for going one mile over the speed limit?’” Weaver said.
Naturally, new drivers are protective of their licenses. Officer Jon Rice, Upper Arlington’s newly appointed student resource officer, claims that teenagers don’t need to worry excessively.
“The percentage of teenagers who get stopped is generally pretty low; I would say less than 10 percent,” he said.
Within the past few months, students have been penalized for speeding or damaging other cars. As stories of these accounts spread, paranoia has elevated. These interactions involving traffic violations have increased the student body’s weariness of the police’s power on the roads.
Sophomore Zane Laws recently received his license.
“They’ll start following you and pull you over for anything you do, and that’s where I start to feel threatened,” he said.
Despite the perceptions of both police and teenagers, sometimes their relationship is benevolent.
“[Teenagers] are very respectful….” Officer Rice said. “I usually try to calm them down…because they’re scared; they’ve never been stopped before.”