Parenting Pet Peeves: School Drop Off and Pick Up Practices

car lineIt all started when I received an email about how a Montclair mom was pissed at all the poop around her child’s bus stop: “This morning I picked up 6 separate piles of dog poop at the corner of High and Virginia. Most of it was right where the kids wait or get on the bus.”

She was so upset she made this sign, which she put up at the spot.

The same mom is upset at all the speeding in that area as well: “People fly up and down High all the time. They don’t stop to let people cross at the cross walk. And I’ve also seen at bus pick up or drop off that cars routinely ignore the school bus stop rules even when there’s flashing lights and the bus stop sign is extended. It’s insane. Then the dog poo minefield on top of it all… Making our children’s bus stop unsafe.”

I hear her. I have a few of my own “Parenting Pet Peeves” when it comes to drop off and pick up practices. I’m talking to you Hillside dad who constantly double parks his car at pick up and blocks the road. Pull over and park like the rest of us!

I posted the question “What are your parenting pet peeves at drop off and pick ups?” to friends on Facebook and couldn’t believe how many responses I received. Parents are peeved about a lot of things:

One Montclair dad wishes parents would have more patience, “Relax and let me parallel park. It takes 30 seconds.”

Another mom wants parents to understand how a Drop Off Line works: “Drop off lines are just that, drop off. And sorry to say, dads are the WORST. They park the car, get out, open the kids door, get the kid out, usually without a jacket, so we have to wait for the jacket, hat, and mittens, then maneuvering the backpack… drives me crazy! Drive up, unlock the door, teacher opens it, gets the kid, closes the door, and you are off.”

Another Drop Off Line pet peeve is, “Parents who pull ahead of you because their time in line is always more valuable than that of the fools waiting their turn.”

Or more attitude: “Along with poor parking behavior, I can do without the overly entitled parents who give you the stink eye when they’re being pests.”

And winter adds additional aggravations: ” How about when the snow isn’t plowed all the way to the curb, so you have to pull over (or park, for preschool) sticking out into the road next to a huge pile of snow that you have to climb over with your kid?”

Many parents were concerned with safety:

  • “Drivers that block the crosswalk and prevent others from using it. Parents that don’t model safe street crossing behavior — i.e., they just dart out into the middle of the street.”
  • “People who let children out in the lane of crawling traffic and not AT the curb. UNSAFE and irresponsible. Waiting 5 more minutes won’t kill you, lazy parent, but it might hurt your kid.”
  • “Speeding!”

And some parents think things would be better if more families kept their cars off the road:

  • “It makes me a sad people don’t make the time to walk or bike to school weather or unusual circumstance permitting. People can’t readily see the health and happiness benefits of making this happen for themselves. We have so many cars (including my own when I drive) that it makes walking and biking more dangerous that it would normally be.”
  • “I would add if it fits in the discussion that driving is the least safe way to go to/from school vs. busing and walking. wish our schools made more of an effort to have something besides driving be the norm.”
  • “Honestly it is people that don’t teach their kids how to ride the bus and drive them everyday. It makes pick up and drop off for those who are walkers and drive on bad weather “days more difficult.” That parent also went on to discuss Montclair’s problem with “Ghost Riders’ on the busses:  “Ghost riders are the reason the buses are half full. It is a flaw in our system. The bus routes are created and every kid on the route is counted even if they don’t take the bus. We would save a chunk of change if people could opt out of the busing and the routes could be changed.”

Do some of these things aggravate you? Tell us your drop off and pick up pet peeves in comments.

(Photo: Flickr/jcestnik)

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  1. Folks who drop off their kid then make a K-turn to go in the opposite direction, inconveniencing both lanes of traffic for their convenience.

  2. when my kids were in elementary school the local police filmed a safety around schools program that was shown on parents night, PTA meetings and local cable tv..they still update it and show it….didn’t matter…parents illegally parking and if questioned would say ill only be here a minute…idiling, parked in yellow striped spots, driveways, it didn’t matter….I found grandparents some of the biggest offenders (who’s gonna go at some 75 yr old?). The same people that complain always seem to find a way of justifying their actions when they do it.

  3. Oh Lord, I can’t even imagine this. Luckily my kids were in before and after care at their elementary schools so I never had this problem. Only once did I ever have a similar issue, at the Pre-k – I parked across Orange road, on the Hillside field side, and I think at the time the signs said No parking 8-4 (maybe they still do?) Well it was like One minute to 8 and I was heading back out to my car and there was the meter-man with his book in hand. Luckily I got a pass but it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Now if only those meter people would position themselves where they are really needed, like in some of the places described in this article, they could rack up the tickets. If they’d work a different shift every now and then, say 12-8, on Forest Street near Walnut, and along Walnut itself, and Label Street, and on Chestnut by the ice rink. Plenty of lawbreakers out there! And maybe a few tickets would curb the shenanigans.

    Honestly it amazes me the lack of common sense people have when it comes to their cars. If you cannot completely pull over to the side of the road for parking or any other reason because of snow, *go somewhere else!* You are blocking traffic! Do you want your car to be clobbered? Because I know people who wouldn’t think twice about that (no NOT me, I love my car.)

    Also, on *no* planet is it a good idea to park right at a corner, whether or not there is a sign telling you that it’s prohibited. That’s just a Bad Idea, people!

    Finally, a lot of the behaviors noted above seem to be nothing but Bad Manners. Where has common courtesy gone? Are we that jaded and self-centered that civility has gone the way of the mammoth? Is this only an East-coast phenomenon? (I can’t speak to the West coast anymore, too far removed now. Conan??) Do I need to move to Nebraska?

  4. Glenfield is awful, kids get dropped off on both sides of the street. there is often no space to pull over so cars stop in the middle of the road to let out kids/passengers. so traffic is blocked both directions.
    My kids walk to and from school 95% of the time and they seem to be in the minority.
    Kids who live far should take the bus. I can understand not letting a 6 y.o. walk by themselves a great distance but middle school kids should be able to handle it. If they can’t get up in time get them an alarm clock.

  5. I never can believe how many parents do not use crosswalks. Jaywalking in general is a pet peeve of mine, but when I see a parent jaywalking with his or her child, it really gets to me.
    It is especially upsetting when the parent is AGGRESSIVELY jaywalking (stepping in front of a moving vehicle without any hesitation or caution as if he or she has the absolute right of way), which I see quite often around Hillside & the preschool. Is your child’s safety really worth the thirty seconds to two minutes you save by not walking and waiting at the crosswalk? And do you really think your child is not going to internalize and then repeat this behavior when you’re not around to monitor the situation?

  6. Sadly, this is just more of the Jersey “it’s all about me” and general lack of common sense attitude. This kind of stuff really isn’t such a problem other places I’ve lived. In addition to the things mentioned, actual road rage incidents between cars who “dare” slow down in active school zones and the people behind them are common, too.

  7. I saw a crossing guard in GR almost get run down yesterday because the driver was fiddling around with their cell phone. This area is becoming more and more a vehicular deathtrap for pedestrians as well as drivers.