Drop off and pick up at . You know where I’m going with this: The seemingly endless line of cars waiting to drop off children in the morning. Cars lined-up along the curb waiting for children to emerge and be whisked away to a practice, tutor, orthodontist appointment or just home faster than the school bus can carry them in the afternoon.
Navigating the school parking lot at Middlesex can be a nightmare, whether you arrive at 1:50 for a 2:22 dismissal just to get a good spot in the pick-up circle or you arrive (as I do) at 2:25, park your car in the lot and walk to the crosswalk to meet your children.
There are rules for the parking lot, of course, which are intended to keep the students, teachers and the parent drivers safe, and to instate some semblance of order and decorum over a daily event that could easily dissolve into chaos. We are regularly reminded of the rules via parent communications, at MPA meetings and sometimes, by a gentle rap on your car window by someone who is so annoyed by your parking lot transgression that they’ve gotten out of their car to remind you of the rules.
Truth be told, the vast majority of us abide by the parking lot rules and etiquette. And while we consider those who break the rules (parking in the handicapped spots, blocking other cars from pulling out or past you, jumping the line by squeezing between the two lanes of cars) to be troublesome, annoying, frustrating and in the case of parking in a handicapped spot, law breakers, no one’s life is put in jeopardy when they occur.
But there is one rule that, at least during this past week, seems to be getting broken more often. It is beyond frustrating, annoying and troublesome and while probably not illegal, it should be. You may have seen it happen just a few cars ahead of you while waiting to make the turn into Middlesex: a car stops, doors fly open, children quickly exit and then dart across the road like tributes making for the forest at the start of the annual Hunger Games.
We’re all busy. Some of us leave younger children home while doing the Middlesex drop-off and we’re eager to get back as quickly as possible. Some are trying to make a train. Others face yet another drop at DHS. All of this becomes more stressful when the drop-off line is longer than usual because of extra orchestra, chorus or band practices, midterms or group projects that are due. But all these reasons aside, violating this rule puts children in danger and exposes an unwitting driver headed in the opposite direction to the very real possibility of an accident.
Regardless of the circumstances of our mornings or the schedules of our middle school students, I think we can all agree that having them run across a busy road, scale a hill and then navigate the parking lot—all while carrying an overloaded backpack, is not the best, or safest way, for them to start the day. So let’s take the next logical step and agree that this is one rule we all should follow.
Editor's note: This blog post originally was published at 5:58 a.m. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.