I really had hoped to not have to pen a column on this topic yet again this school year, but once again I’m faced with a frustration I know I am not alone in.
School ground ‘drop-offs’… will someone please explain to me where the confusion lies in this process. It does not require a college degree or special orientation to understand two very simple things: the sidewalk is painted yellow and the sign which reads Passenger Loading Zone (with specific hours).
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I took my test to operate a motor vehicle at the DMV, but I’m pretty certain this was covered. The sign is (literally) black and white and the curbs are not faded, yet somehow we still have people parking in the spots others intend to use appropriately.
In fairness, it is only the second week of school and some may still have yet to learn they are not any more special than the rest of us. Perhaps that’s a bit direct and a little harsh for some of our readers. If so, I apologize. School, however, is just one of the many places our children will travel during their lifetime and have rules reinforced – this example is not indicative of that.
Monday morning as my duo and I approached our campus at our regular time I was a bit taken aback by the early congestion. As we trolled forward the problem became apparent. Two vehicles had been parked in the loading zone of our school. To make matters worse, they had been placed just the right distance from one another impeding use of that entire strip used for drop-off. This then resulted in a back-up as everyone had to then wait to clear the crossing guard and use the longer drop-off area.
Thankfully, I did not see children fleeing cars in the street, so as not to be late. That happens too. Another no no, but a sort of chain reaction of one bad choice leading to others.
Ironically (or maybe not) on this special Monday the drop-off delays led to even more fun for the children who were now rushing a bit more than normal to reach the playground or class lines before the appropriate bell.
I myself had a few things to deliver to my daughter’s classroom and did not want the children to be late waiting for mommy. Once they were dropped off safely, I proceeded to park and return to the campus. Heading toward the campus I heard what I vaguely remember as the Emergency Alarm. Approaching the school I began to notice everyone (parents, a few students and staff members) were camped outside. Apparently an alarm (I think) was tripped at the school and no one was permitted in until all the proper checks and procedures were completed.
Truthfully, I considered leaving and coming back at another time. The items I had were not pressing or urgent. It could wait. Then I thought of my first grader, so eager to get to the playground and see her friends. Now, a bit late due to the drop-off delay and God only knows where when the ‘buzzing’ started.
Now, before any reader starts penning any letters to this semi-helicopter mom there are a few things I must remind you. This is just the second week of school. First grade is not dissimilar to kindergarten or junior high for that matter. It’s a whole new world for the little kids.
The first year of their school life is spent confined to one very small quadrant of a school campus. To put it simply, they’re in their own little bubble. Safe on their own playground, with their teacher watching. Surrounded only by their own classmates or maybe joined by one other class. The transition from that bubble to the rest of the campus is huge, both literally and figuratively.
All that aside, what if something really had happened on the campus and I chose to leave. I’d never forgive myself. Twenty-five minutes later, the staff was given the okay and we (students included) were permitted back onto the campus.
As I met my daughter and her class in their designated line-up area, her teacher shared the stress she felt as a few students from her class were unaccounted for. The children had not yet been to class, so role had not officially been taken … how was the teacher to know? Again, they’re first graders still finding their way in all of this ‘big’ school stuff.
Leaving campus another mom spotted me and shared that she happened by my daughter as the alarms were sounding. The mom inquired if my daughter knew what to do and she honestly replied, “We don’t know about this stuff, we’re just first graders.” From the mouths of babes.
Ultimately all was fine. The brief emergency encounter helped place all back in perspective, but still begs the question.
What is it and why do some believe the rules just simply don’t apply to them or it’s okay this one time? This brings me back to my final thoughts from last week’s column. I would rather my children learn patience and responsibility. I would rather they learn to follow the rules and respect others. I would rather they learn the sun does indeed not rise for them and does not set because they must retire to bed. Life brings challenges, obstacles and rewards and the best way to get through each is to be the best you possible each and every day.
Finally … for the sake of all others in the drop-off please read the black and white and remember yellow is a ‘caution’ color. So, please cautiously allow your child out of the car and proceed. Thanks.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.