Archive for Friday, September 29, 2006

Homeowners want no trash left behind

High schoolers not deemed best of neighbors

September 29, 2006


Dan Rolf wants to be a nice guy about all the high school students who linger on his corner before classes and during their lunch hour.

"I don't want to be a grouch about this," Rolf said. "Lawrence High is in our neighborhood."

But their trash - half-eaten hamburgers, Styrofoam trays, fast-food sacks and cigarette butts - is getting to him.

The students often make it difficult for his family to use their own sidewalk and driveway leading up to their home at 1945 Ohio.

"It's pretty obnoxious when my wife can't walk down the sidewalk," he said.

LHS is only a block to the west from his home.

"It seems like something needs to be done," he said. "There needs to be a long-term solution."

Kathy Deel, 1940 Ohio, said trash is a daily problem.

"They leave their lunch sacks out on the street or on our yard," Deel said. Cigarette butts and drink cups are also left behind.

Deel, who has lived on the street for 30 years, said she hadn't complained to the school about it for a while. One year, LHS sent over someone to pick up the trash after school, she said.

Rolf, 30, the director of the architectural resource center at Kansas University's Marvin Hall, bought his house earlier this year. When he, his wife and their 3-year-old son moved in last March they found they had visitors out in front of their home every school day.

Neighbors complain about trash left in their yards.

Neighbors complain about trash left in their yards.

"It was a total surprise," Rolf said.

It's not so much the crowd of students Rolf has a problem with. He has lived in densely populated neighborhoods before in the San Francisco and Kansas City areas. It's just cleaning up the trash and dealing with people coming onto his property, he said.

Last spring, he talked to those gathering outside his house and asked them to pick up their litter. That seemed to work some. But it's a new year, a new group of students and he's back to square one.

"No matter how many times I talk to them, it's going to be a different group next year," he said. And that's why a long-term solution is needed, he said.

Jerry Schultz, a member of the Centennial Neighborhood Assn. steering committee, said the problem has come up in the past.

"I'm always keeping an eye on that, too, because I'm just a block over on 20th and Tennessee," Schultz said.

"The school will work with us. They have in the past, anyway," he said.

Steve Nilhas, LHS principal, said the school tries to work with neighborhoods.

"When you concentrate 1,500 people (which includes some 1,300 students) in an area of two square blocks, there are always going to be some concerns," Nilhas said.

"We want to exist in this neighborhood and be good neighbors," he said. "So certainly we're going to do what we can to make it better."

Neighbors who move near a school should be treated with respect by the students, he said.

As a start, LHS will install some additional trash cans in the LHS Annex parking lot along Louisiana street near 20th Street, he said.

"We put it in the announcements from time to time," he said. "We talk to kids that park out there they need to take care of trash."

Even though students haven't been suspended for littering in the neighborhood, the school does take an interest, he said.

Nilhas said there has been some discussion about keeping students on campus for lunch.

"That's something the community will have to decide about how they want to handle that," he said.


mom_of_three 11 years ago

Some students evidently think they are invincible, leaving trash and gathering where ever they would like. I have seen students cross against the light, and shout obscenities when the drivers honked in objection of squealing their breaks.
I know this doesn't apply to all teenagers, but it makes me wonder.

jranderson 11 years ago

I live up the street from the man in this article and I had recently decided to write the school a letter about this problem. After this article I hope I don't have to. I am not necessarily FOR restricting the students from completely leaving campus for lunch, but maybe to restricting them to only designated areas. My daughter and I go to the park at 19th and Louisiana and it is commonly pretty trashed from High School kids too. BUT atleast there's someone to clean it up. I have had trash thrown IN my car! If you abuse a privelege you should lose it. Even teenagers have the ability to respect others property. Whether it's at school or home these children are clearly not learning it.

billybeanbag 11 years ago

I think I'd get out the hose.


Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

do not mean all day or anything just long enough to bark and pee and scare the heck out of the kids of course a fence might work but somepeople do not like those. did not mean chain chain but like a dog run type thing like the old cloths lines at apt. buildings, would never want to do anything to hurt the dog.

KS 11 years ago

Tychoman, I don't buy the argument of space problems. Even back in the ice age when I was in HS, we had many, many lunch periods. Rotate.

KS 11 years ago

The answer to this is simple. Have closed lunch periods. Why should the taxpayer fund a cafeteria only for students to go off campus, smoke, doing whatever, etc. and leave their trash? I have never understood the concept of kids leaving school during the school day. Guess I am just too old fashioned. Have a nice day.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

well everytime someone sees these kids throwing trash or hanging out in someones lawn just try calling the school. I would think if you are calling over and over and over and there are many people doing it the school would get tired of it and do something about it.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

pictures set up a camera or just sit there and take pictures and turn them in to the school and police once a week, I would bet the school and police would get sick of it after awhile and do something or just be a mean sob and cuss and scream at the kids, could get a big dog and chain it up in the front yard.

Tychoman 11 years ago

KS, creating a closed lunch period creates a space problem. The cafeteria's always full even with students going off-campus for lunch--which to tell a trade secret, not a whole lot of people actually go off-campus for lunch.

Correction to the article: Ohio Street is EAST of LHS, thus the high school should be a block to the WEST of the house.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

that cross against the light really pisses me off, and when I have my six year old in the car even more so because she sees them do it and then I am telling her not to do that and of course she is going but they are it is just dumb.

countrygirl 11 years ago

Open lunch period is a privilage, not a right. In my house, if you mess up, you lose privilages. Of course, you have to wonder what some of these kids are being taught at home. If see their parents toss their cig butts on the ground and thrown the half full soda they no longer want out of the car window, the kids are going to think it's Ok to do the same thing. Maybe even on a larger scale. I get sick to death of picking up kids' trash from my yard, and I don't even live close to a school.

Redzilla 11 years ago

Now there's a selling point for small town life. When I was a kid we lived across from the high school. Anytime we saw someone littering, my grandpa just called up the principal and told him the kid's name. Next thing you know, the litterbug was getting swats in the principal's office. Good old days.

classclown 11 years ago

I suppose there will be people who will make the same arguments about them as they do with the folks that complain about the noisy parties from the college children.

Such as the college children state that since college children party, if you live near the college then YOU are stupid and this town would not exist if it weren't for the college(as if) so you just need to put up with it.

So the argument will be, high school kids are messy blah, blah, blah, and if you live near the school then YOU are stupid blah,blah, blah.

Remember this is Lawrence. You can't really expect anyone to be responsible can you?

bulldawgs 11 years ago

Hey, if you close lunch, it will kill business in downtown lawrence and force businesses out of

mom_of_three 11 years ago

When I was in high school 20+ years ago, our high school was close to downtown, and the cafeteria was very small. We have rotating lunch periods, and were still allowed to leave for lunch. We later moved to a bigger school and lunches were closed.

I don't know if closed lunch periods would matter, since I have seen students gather before and after school, leaving their trash where ever they are. Some of them choose to stand in the street before school, and I ran through a puddle once (because I was avoiding students) and splashed a couple of girls. I heard a few cuss words in my direction, but I was laughing too hard to pay attention.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

I live a couple blocks from an elem. school and even at young ages the kids are just throwing trash in yards, tearing up plants what ever they really want. Last year on the last day of school instead of going home and throwing all the left over junk from school away at home they just came along and decided that my trash can was as good as any and filled it up with all the jumk they did not want mom and dad to see, so it is not just a highschool problem.

CeeCee 11 years ago

I drive down Tennessee from 12th street to 19th street every day to take my daughter to school. She calls it the 'Cup Neighborhood.' Every morning she counts the cups laying on the ground. She usually counts around 40, sometimes around 60.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years ago

How nice that they're going to put trash cans over by 20th & Louisiana... which is not where the problem is. Maybe they could work with the city to put some cans near the houses mentioned in this story. IMHO the littering has a lot to do with laziness; if a trash can were convenient it would cut down the problem.

BTW I live in the Oread neighborhood and am always picking up trash from the college students... I just don't understand how these kids are being raised, that they think it's okay to just drop your trash where ever you are.

ksmattfish 11 years ago

"But their trash - half-eaten hamburgers, Styrofoam trays, fast-food sacks and cigarette butts - is getting to him."

Man, those kids aren't just littering his lawn, they appear to be almost everywhere in America. They really get around. Aren't there laws and fines to deal with littering? Possibly enforcement of the laws, and handing out a few tickets is in order. A couple hundred dollar fine doesn't deter businesses from dumping what they like where they like, but I imagine it'd put some serious hurt in a teen's wallet.

kmat 11 years ago

Closed lunch periods!!!

While kids are at school, the school is responsible for them. How can they be responsible for the students if they allow them to leave the school? We give these young kids too much freedom.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

When I was a kid, my mother taught me that going into someone else's yard was not allowed. It was disrespectful. So we didn't do it .

What is wrong with kids now, that they think they own the world and can just wander onto anybody's property whenever they damn well please? These same kids would have a fit if someone else was doing it to THEIR yard, leaving trash in THEIR car.

I agree, country girl. I see lots of adults that throw their trash wherever they happen to be. Kids learn it from their parents.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

I see those kids in front of that house nearly on a daily basis. I wonder how it's so easy for kids to smoke in public. It's illegal for them to buy cigs, but not for them to smoke them? I don't get it. And, the cops do sort of harrass them, a little, so why can't they get them to stop altogether?

Three words: Automatic sprinkler system. Set to go off at noon every day, regardless of the weather.

"My daughter and I go to the park at 19th and Louisiana and it is commonly pretty trashed from High School kids too."

Some friends of mine who have small children have curtailed their trips to the park at 19th and LA. It's too dirty, and filled with kids who don't know that it's bad form to yell profanities when there are 3 year olds around. The little kids are disturbed by the bad behavior of the high-schoolers.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

Teenagers have minds of their own, so to say they get the idea to litter from their parents is absurd.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

Actually, OldEnuf, it's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to even have possesion of cigs. I would guess that the police aren't even trying to enforce it. Maybe it would cost more in court and police costs than it's worth, considering they'd probably only get a slap on the wrist. And it probably wouldn't stop them from smoking, either.

govols 11 years ago

My grandparents had a sign in their yard that reflected their attitude: "Students and dogs, keep off grass"

mom_of_three 11 years ago

savethedaffy -

very intelligent post and a good idea.
Hope something like that comes about. I have a kid at LHS, who had basically the same feelings and thoughts.

estespark 11 years ago

If it's such an unbearable nuisance and a daily moral assault to live near LHS you should probably move.

This is the same kind of person that would move near an airport and then bitch about the planes.

Bailey 11 years ago

"Daily moral assault?"

Actually, I live on Ohio and I know the people in the story and trust me, they would be the last to complain about this problem if the LJW hadn't asked them about it.

I don't think any of them claimed it was a "daily moral assualt." Rather, we're claiming this is a mess that we have to pick up daily, and I don't think it's too much to ask that high schoolers pick up after themselves like the rest of us, and if they don't, that the school and/or school resource officer do something about it.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

I think, instead of people having to move to get away from the high school, that parents should just be responsible enough to teach their little darlings respect for others, and make sure they do it.

Make the little buggers responsible for their own actions, instead of trying to put the blame on others.

thisiknow 11 years ago

I was one of those LHS students that never got to school early enough to get a parking spot in the parking lot, and parked on the neiborhood streets. Back then---we did not trash the yards because we were told by the school not to. Also back then, the kids had some respect for the yards they had to park by. If I lived in the neighborhood I would jot down the tag numbers that parked in front of my house. If I had a problem I would use the tag numbers or park something of mine in front of the house so noone could park there.

estespark 11 years ago

The moral assault remark was in reference to the posted comment about the students cursing/underage smoking.

My feelings on this matter break down to this

(1) Seriously, what do people expect when they live within close proximity of a high school. (2) It falls back on the parents of the littering children.

acg 11 years ago

On my 3rd day of school at LHS I was walking across the school lawn with my best friend and she was drinking a pop and she threw the can on the ground as we were walking. This chick behind us grabbed the can, ran up to us and told my friend that the upperclassmen would appreciate it if the sophomores would not come along and trash their school. She pointed out several trash cans and told my friend to throw her trash there, instead. My friend got lippy with the girl and basically told her that she had a different idea of where the can could go, basically somewhere that wouldn't see the light of day. Well the girl hauled off and punched my friend right in the nose. Blood squirted everywhere. She handed my friend the can and walked her to the trashcan to throw it away. I will never forget that incident. We need more of that girl hanging around because I tell you, after that incident it's always made me think twice about littering and who might catch you at it, and how serious they might be about keeping things clean.

Tychoman 11 years ago

There are four lunch periods with barely enough time to eat lunch. Closing lunches will do nothing, since only a small number of students leave to go off-campus.

KS 11 years ago

It is a simple matter that if one does not police themselves, someone else will. It happens everywhere in our daily lives. I still say have closed lunch periods. The kids have no reason to be outside smoking, etc.

alm77 11 years ago

If it were my neighborhood, I'd just put a trash can out front and unlike mommaeffort, I wouldn't complain when they used it. How hard is this problem to solve, people? Really, it's almost 2:00PM and no one on this board thought of that?? I'd also sit on my front porch everyday (if I was home) to watch them. And SO WHAT if you have to talk to each crowd every year? Talking sounds like a great way to solve a problem.

jonas 11 years ago

Jeez, was this a slow news day?

In other news, people tend to dislike unpleasant things.

mom_of_three 11 years ago


OMG, where to start...... As a parent, I would be appalled if my kid left trash in another yard, as that is not what she was taught.

Of course, if I was your parent, I would be appalled by your post......

weterica 11 years ago

mom of three,

OMG, I'll start here:

If I was your parent I would be appalled by your lack of ability to spot obvious satire.

weterica 11 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

Satire - is that what you call it.....

Maybe you will be better at it next time....

estespark 11 years ago

I for one am glad they pulled weterica's vicious post. (kidding)

Yawn. I was taking a nap but was awoken by a fire truck leaving the station I live next to. I'll prolly write a letter.

Laura Watkins 11 years ago

Yeah...I had open lunch my senior year of high school...

Well, let's just say that nothing good can come from open lunch.

weterica 11 years ago

mom of three-

Did you see the "On the Street" question today?

So, I assume you turn to insults?

Thanks for getting my post removed! (WINK WINK)

lunacydetector 11 years ago

i think it's a form of rebellion by our youth, now that there are complaints about the trash they leave behind. when i was in my youth, we didn't have teachers telling us how to be good earth nazis, but now that's all the kiddies hear. so they rebel.

Becca 11 years ago

Wow, that's insane. Did these kids think that the people living in these houses were their maids or something? Or are they just stupid? This is why they banned open lunch period when I was in high school. Most kids couldn't be trusted to behave properly while in public. Of course, I wouldn't have fallen under that heading, I never left school during lunch. My mother couldn't afford to give me the money for gas in my car, or Taco Bell.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

No, Westerica, I do not turn to insults, unless provoked. And mine were no where near as bad as your "satire".
and I am sure I am not the only one who didn't read your post as "satire"

mom_of_three 11 years ago

And I see nothing I need to make amends for.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

it was not the fact that they threw trash in the trash can but is your trash can on your side walk? so that leaves the whole you know lack of respect issue yeah I just love all sorts of people just walking thru my yard up next to my house and doing whatever they feel like just makes my day. Besides why not go home and throw it away or find a trash can at the curb why walk up to a strangers house and do as you please.

weterica 11 years ago

hahahahahaha. okay. Good job! (WINK WINK)

davisnin 11 years ago

Add on to the cafeteria if you need to. Open lunch and leaving early on wed. baffles me. Giving school kids more unsupervised time is ridiculous. Does no one remember they did as kids? Let the seniors leave if they're taking some sort of college class, but don't encourage them to go hang out for a while and come back(drunk or high). I went to Basehor and the teachers there managed to get things done without an extra hour on Wednesday. Then again we didn't have a downtown to loiter on and steal from.

savethedaffy 11 years ago

I'm a senior at LHS and it's pretty sad that my school has done nothing to correct this problem. It's not only a problem in the neighborhoods, but in the Annex parking lot (20th & Louisiana) as well.

I see the annex every single day. Everday I count AT LEAST 10 pieces of trash. What a wonderful reflection on Lawrence High and its student body. You would think that throwing your trash away or recycling just becomes an everyday habit for most people, but I guess not. I see students hanging out before school, during lunch and after school in the Annex parking lot and in the neighboorhoods everyday. Don't be deceived-- it is not just lunch time.

There is a fine for littering. Just because I am a teenager, and my fellow students are choosing to be beyond apathetic, does not mean I believe the establishment clause in the constitution protects their right to throw trash wherever they damn well please. I believe we deserve to live in a clean environment -- the students and the neighbors. Fine them. It's a law. That's the only way they are going to stop. Put a dent in their pocket -- they will no longer have the money to purchase the cigarettes, food and whatever other crap they seem to be throwing around. But it is the school and neighbor's job to let this be brought to the attention of the authorities able to distribute those fines.

hckleberry 11 years ago

Do most teenagers even know the meaning of RESPECT these days? Not only with this recent trash situation, but with all things in life. I THINK NOT

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

highscool gets out earlt wed. and thurs. but the whole early out wed. sucks anyway.

Confrontation 11 years ago

I think that the parents of these brats should have to pick up the trash with their mouths and carry it to the nearest trashcan. Kids usually get this type of disrespect from their idiot parents, so I think the parents should taste the punishment.

Dayna Lee 11 years ago

Put out trash cans, if you are home-sit on your porch, call the cops, turn on sprinklers, put your dog out on a leash, take pictures of the ones doing it, build a fence.....This neighborhood should try several of these ideas. Some of them aren't gonna work, but there has to be a combo that does. Also, it never hurts to have teachers remind kids that if you want to be treated like grown ups you have to act like grown ups. I can't imagine LHS with closed lunch, but these teens need to be careful- this town loves to go to the extremes!!!

Example: still no cookies on friday.

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