Monday, October 20, 2008

6 Rules for Parents Dropping Off or Picking Up Kids from School

I dropped the kids off at school today and there was more traffic than ever around the school. I think it's the first day of camp for the fifth graders. There were so many cars parked, parents milling around, and so on.

In a few minutes, the bell would ring. So the people dropping the kids off but are still in traffic are just as anxious as I was to drop the kids off in time for them to make their classes. My kids (brother and neighbor) are in 6th grade. So they got out of the car while traffic was not moving, cross the residential street, and got to school - all under 7 seconds.

The mother driving the car in front of me wanted to drop her daughter off too right there and then. But this is what she did.

Traffic built up and the cars were at a stop.
She PARKED her CAR right there in the street where cars drive through.
Got OUT of HER SEAT.
OPENED the door FOR her YOUNG daughter.
CARRIED DAUGHTER'S BACKPACK.
GOT DAUGHTER OUT OF CAR. <-- traffic started to move
LEFT CAR DOOR OPEN. <-- traffic had moved, son in car yelling "mom!"
WALKED DAUGHTER TO SCHOOL <-- clear street ahead of her, son closed car door
LINGERED AROUND DAUGHTER. <-- still clear street, son yelling "mom!", my hand on horn

Traffic had built up behind her, and cleared in front of her. At the point where she stopped, the cars that built up behind her were across the back field of the school -- too far to walk for younger children, so it's not like the parents wanted the kids to get off then.

I understand if her child was older, like mine, able to get to school BY THEMSELVES. Her daughter was not, but she wasn't that young either. She was capable of crossing the street safely. This mother just had to do the motherly thing and more! She could have just brought the daughter across the street (which is pushing it) and drove on. But noooooo. She did the whole shebang just like she would have if she parked her car at a curb, clear of traffic. Plus, it wasn't like her daughter was clinging to her for dear life. The daughter disappeared in the crowd before she did. This mother was the one hanging around.

I wanted so badly to honk at her. But I didn't for the sake of the son inside the car (who looked young too, maybe 7th grade). He's probably so humiliated, and late for his own school. And I didn't for the sake of everyone else around me - look at rule #6 down below.

But seriously, GET REAL PEOPLE! PARENTS WAKE UP!

I always say parents are the worst drivers when dropping off or picking up kids. So here it is.

6 Rules for Parents Dropping Off or Picking Up Kids from School


1. In a 3 or 4-way stop, take your turn at the right time. Don't go out of turn and cause more traffic.

2. When a child is crossing the street, stop! Don't even risk an accident.

3. Don't drop kids off in the middle of traffic if traffic is moving, or if they can't get out and get through before traffic moves (ie: they're too young to go without you). You'll cause more traffic.

4. Don't park at red lanes. That's illegal.

5. Don't honk your horn at your kid when picking him/her up, causing the kid to run through traffic without precautions. Do you want your kid to get hit, while you sit safely in your car (in traffic) ready to step on the gas pedal?

6. Don't be horn happy or expletive happy (don't cuss! no profanity! it's a G-rated zone! what kind of example are you setting?). Everyone's just trying to get through that morning/afternoon.

Parents/guardians/anyone who drops or picks up kids in school, here's the bottom line:

Unless you have a woman in the middle of labor or someone dying in the car, you are just as pressured as the rest of us. You are NOT more important. So stop acting like you are. Follow traffic laws to make this time easier for all of us and avoid accidents. Pay close attention to avoid accidents. If you only strive to be a decent human being, you will reduce that tension headache and stress you have put on yourself everytime you go to school to drop off or pick up your kid.

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