I was having a particularly spicy week last week, which is rare for me. I’m generally quite steady day to day. Happy, content, and easy. It really takes a lot to get me upset. I am not one to be ruled by my emotions.
Until I am.
You GUYS. Can we please just talk through some proper school drop off/pick up etiquette? Because I am dying a slow painful death in my Jeep. I know I can be a stickler for rules and my type A OCD personality can lean a tad extreme at times but this particular topic has to do with safety and just common decency and there is some stuff that just needs to be said. After posting a five second clip on my Instagram story about, perhaps, wanting to stab
people things with forks when the rules aren’t followed I received an overwhelming response of direct messages agreeing with me. AMEN! YES! I GET SCHOOL ROAD RAGE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE! WHAT IS WITH ALL THE CUTTING IN LINE! WHY DOES IT TAKE EIGHT MINUTES TO UNLOAD A CAR!
I’m with you my friends. I see you and I am with you. So without further ado, I bring you my school pick up (or drop off) etiquette. Ironically, much of this goes back to the basic social rules we learned in our early elementary years. Let’s revisit them together, shall we?
Rule #1: LINE LEADER STATUS
Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. If you want to be the first one to collect your child and therefore the first one to leave the line you need to earn that. The line leader job isn’t just handed out to anyone. If this is important, you need to put in your time and arrive early and wait. Our school dismisses at 2:40, I’ve found that arriving around 2:10 or 2:15 generally puts you in a prime spot. If you can’t wait that long or you do not care if you are the line leader then come when you may but you must accept the next (Kindergarten) cardinal rule….
Rule #2: NO CUTS NO BUTTS NO COCONUTS
And this is where I break down. You guys, I just CAN NOT. For a few days I actually really tried to step outside my own shoes to try to understand why someone would cut through a line of people, gather their kid, and drive back off the whole time completely disregarding the line of other people waiting, not to mention disrupting the flow of the entire line. I’ve been racking my brain. And this is the best I have come up with.
- Your home is on fire. Ok, I suppose if my house was on fire I would definitely be in a more anxious mood but I would probably ensure that the fire department is handling things properly and, yes, definitely get my kids in a more hurried yet still orderly fashion but not necessarily to rush home. Plus, your home can’t be on fire every day can it? Maybe different sections? That should really be checked out.
- You have a standing appointment at 2:42. Ok, this would just be weird. But maybe there is something really important going on in our area at 2:42 that I am just not aware of. Am I missing out on something awesome? Please, tell me. And can the time be changed to, I don’t know, 3:00? 3:15? Maybe?!
- You are giving birth in your car. Again, couldn’t exactly happen daily but let’s pretend it’s happened once. Yet even then, I don’t think I would drive to pick up before the hospital, better yet I would hope I wouldn’t be driving at all. I just can’t see this one happening. I’m really grasping at straws here.
- You or a loved one in your car is about to die. A terrible thought, but again one that could possibly excuse the cutting in line behavior although again if this was happening to me I really would assign the responsibility of pick up to someone else and would be, perhaps, driving to the hospital or dealing with the paramedics.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Those are the only things I could possibly maybe wrap my brain around as a reason why I would ever cut in a line of other people. So what I feel this really boils down to is that there are people that must honestly think their time is more important than other’s which just makes me ……… confused. You do realize we are all picking up children, getting them a snack, changed, off to activities, homework, etc? I really don’t think anyone’s schedule is more important than the next person. Actually, I know that.
Rule #3: PLEASE DON’T DRIVE 45MPH IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT
I’m going to be real honest here. I have a lead foot. I drive fast, and have a record of speeding tickets (which I can never get out of to save my life) to show for it. I 100% blame my father. I drive exactly like him and assume zero responsibility for this behavior myself. Mike will barely get in a car with me as he legit DRIVES LIKE A SNAIL but that is a whole other topic for a whole other day.
Yet even myself, the one with the lead foot, knows when to reign it in.
And that would be in a school zone. With small children. And teachers. And aids. And proper signage. And a POLICE OFFICER. Red flag, red flag, red flag. Nothing about this environment screams speed.
See, I have a Kindergartner at this school. And he’s barely five. And he still like, falls over all the time. So it would just make me an overall happier less anxious person if I knew when he was walking outside at pick up that there weren’t massive SUV’s whizzing by him. Just saying. Also, I’m sorry. But young kids are just…..dumb, at times. Especially boys, which I have. Logan, my eleven year old, walked IN FRONT OF MY MOVING JEEP at pick up once. Thankfully I was going like 5MPH but still. You just can’t predict these young crazy minds sometimes, especially when they are breathing in their first few free moments of post school bliss with their friends.
Let’s just pretty please slow it down.
Rule #4: THIS IS NO TIME FOR HELICOPTER PARENTING
Look, I get it. You want to make sure your kid is all set and safe and buckled and has his/her lunch and snack and water bottle and gloves and homework and one last kiss and one last hug OH MY GOSH but at drop off or pick up is not the time to do this. It needs to be swift and I’ve decided the only two reasons to ever get out of your car are 1. If your poor child is on crutches or 2. If your child plays the tuba and it weighs more than their actual body. That’s it. Otherwise, you stay in your car and you encourage your child to get in or out as fast as humanly possible. We can do this. They can do this. I really do have faith in all of us.
Rule #5: BE KIND TO THE AIDES
Because it’s the dead of winter in Chicago and they are standing outside in the freezing cold essentially keeping all of our children, alive. I just think it’s kind to quickly smile and say thank you. A nice simple gesture.
That’s it. I’m off my soap box. Not sure I can show my face at pick up again. Boys? Maybe it’s time to take the bus.
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That’s one thing I love about my sons school is they have a system and if WORKS! They know which kids ride the bus so those kids go out first to get on their buses. Than 5 minutes later the kids who walk or ride home are escorted out and guided to their walking paths. Their principal even walks several blocks with them in his safety vest to make sure they get off the main road safely! Than here is the GENIUS part of it! The kids who get picked up in cars are all kept in the cafeteria waiting. They have staff outside with walker talkies and inside with them. The first staff member outside will announce the students name and give them a number 1-4 and that is the number of the designated spot to stand at waiting for the parent to drive up to that spot. If the staff doesn’t recognize the parent or know their child’s name they ask them. But after several weeks of daily pick up they have most every parent and child’s name memorized! This is the first and only school my kid has attended that I don’t despise the pick up line becaus it’s so smooth and effortless!
That’s great! I’m so so glad it’s easy for you.
YIKES. Is this how it was when we were kids? My mom never picked me up or dropped me off, ever. We took that damn bus even though we literally lived 1/4 mile away from the school. Kudos to you for dealing with this junk, though. I can absolutely see how frustrating this is.
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I mean, it’s not fun. Where is Gordy when you need him?????
Courtney I dealt with the same last year at NBE picking up my son. People cut in line and felt entitled to get that spot by the door. At drop off I saw many go down wrong way in order to park. She is one of the moms featured in your blog. I have same OCD personality as you are and feel lots of parents in this district feel self entitlement to break rules and do whatever. It extended into middle school this year for us. My son started six grade and it is same attitude at pick up and drop off. Same people cutting in. I do not think you can stop this. People wont change. I just ignore the ignorance in this district
Yes, I heard middle school gets worse – yikes! Sorry you dealt with it all as well. Not here to call out any names, just hoping maybe people will think twice about things when picking up their kid! 🙂
We live close enough to our elementary and high school that my kids can walk (thank the good Lord apparently!), so…. the funniest part of all of this was that your husband DRIVES LIKE A SNAIL. I was driving the other day, husband in passenger seat, kids in the back and I’m all like “Do you realize how slow you drive? You drive LIKE A SNAIL.” I ACTUALLY said that – why was I even criticising his driving when I was driving?? Anyways, moments later……..I got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. Legit got a ticket! Karma man……
Anyways, your post was very funny and I laughed and laughed and was thankful I don’t have to deal with that stress on a daily basis! I guess just remember that soon your kids will be old enough to drive themselves….sniff sniff….and you might actually, dare I say, miss it…..I mean your oldest looks like he could already drive! Lol
Your comment made me laugh so hard! Sorry about the ticket but such a funny story behind it. And I will completely miss driving them around, I’m sure of that!
I love this post! So funny and so true!
Hopefully a lot of the parents can read this and realize, we all have somewhere to be.
No problem my dear. 🙂
I don’t have children but can relate to this post 100%. As someone who also is a rule follower people who don’t make me crazy. Driving to the store yesterday when it was snowing and the roads were icy I was going about 25 in a 30 mph zone when a small car passed me in a no passing zone! Yep, guess it was life or death?
Thanks for this post – it’s a fun, light-hearted way to address the nonsense that happens in school pick-up lines everywhere (so it seems!) I really wish people could just take the time to follow rules, respect other families and school staff and lead by example!
Thank you so much Stacy!!