An Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School

In Family, General, Opinion, Parenting, Safety by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Dear Parents of Children at ______SCHOOL NAME______,

I think it is wonderful that you have elected to pick your child(ren) from school. For the past few weeks, I have had the luxury of doing the same. After a hard day at school, what could be better than having the parent-limo ready and waiting to whisk children off to after-school activities or home to do homework.

But recently, I have become a bit alarmed by the behavior of some of the parents picking up kids.

While I’m definitely NOT a perfect driver, nor always courteous or patient, I have realized by watching others and pointing out actions to my own kids that we all might not be presenting good role models to our children who will hopefully become nurturing parents and responsible drivers eventually.

I would like to offer the following points as suggestions to those dropping off or picking up children from school.

Be aware

In the sanctuary of the school area, kids feel practically invincible. They may dart out between cars without looking. They may be, gasp, looking at their phones instead of their surroundings. So as drivers, we need to take extra caution as we wait. Cars are a bit more sturdy than the fragile bodies of children.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - crossing the street

Get off your phone

It is ok to text or call your child to let them know that you are there. If you must be on a call, don’t tune out your surroundings (see the previous point.) I don’t want to have to roll down my window and yell at you to get off the phone. Although I may get a large banner that says “Get Off The Phone!”

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - on phone in car

Double-parking is ok, sorta

If you have to double park, try to leave your huge SUV at home and take a smaller vehicle. If you can’t do that, pull your large car as far over so that others can get by you. My car is obviously less expensive than yours so if I scratch yours, it will probably cost less to repair mine. And the last time I checked, if you are double parked and blocking the flow of traffic, you are breaking some sort of law or ethics somewhere.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - big car

Be courteous

If someone is trying to back out of a parking spot, show some courtesy and let them out instead of blindly driving by, oblivious to everything. I once sat for almost 5 minutes waiting for someone to let me out of my space, despite having my rear lights on and practically hanging out the window begging someone to let me out. My neighbor seems to be the only one who lets me out!

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - parking lot

Don’t honk

Unless you are about to hit a person who darted out in front of you or another vehicle is going to crash into you, try to preserve the silence by staying away from your horn.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - car horns

Be patient

We are ALL in a rush. You may be racing to an appointment or something, but your urgency is pretty much like mine. I, too, want to get my child to their next location. We have all over-played the saying “better 5 minutes late than never” but in this case, it’s true. You WILL eventually get there, unless you race around and get into an accident or hurt someone.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - traffic

Karma counts

I am a firm believer of karma. One of the reasons I will let you race ahead of me (even though I grumble about it under my breath) is because some day when I’m looking for that great parking space at the movie theater, I will get the space…and you won’t.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - Buddha & Karma

Leave entitlement at home

Just because you have a better car/job/house/etc. doesn’t mean that you are a better person. Or give you the right-of-way. Or the permission to block others. That person picking up the kids might not be a parent but rather someone working multiple jobs trying to make ends meet by picking up kids after school. Or the pick up person may be someone down on their luck with lots on their minds. Or it may be a grandparent or friend of the family. It shouldn’t matter. Treat everyone as your equal.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - fancy car

Watch those school busses

Yes, I know, getting caught behind a school bus is a nightmare. But the bus drivers deserve a little respect for having to drive loads of screaming children from place to place. And, do you know the laws about passing a school bus? If the lights are flashing yellow, it means that the bus will be stopping soon. That does NOT give you the permission to race around them as there may be people waiting to get the children off of the bus. If they are flashing red, you must stop and NOT pass them. And laws vary by state!

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - school bus

Make it a teaching moment

Take a moment to think forward a bit. Would you want your children driving the way you are? If you do, great! But I do hope that you aren’t teaching your children to be A**HOLES behind the wheel. Teach them the points above and how to be safe when driving.

HTD Open Letter to Parents Picking Up Kids from School - teaching

 

I realize this letter may come off as a bit of a rant. In many ways, it is.

And I don’t expect anything to really change. For those of you who took the time to read this open letter, hopefully one or two points sparked something within you and you might tweak your actions.

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But if you agree with any of the items here, point them out as you drive your children. Show them the difference between bad and good behavior. Teach them how to be patient and courteous.

Most importantly, be the better person and let those who are rushing around have the right away. Wave them through. Let Karma be their teacher.

Sincerely,
A concerned parent who picks their children up from school from time to time

P.S. If you have other suggestions that you would like to add to this list, feel free to do so.
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