Before I had a child old enough to attend school I used to daydream about having a kid old enough to be in school.
We'd get up in the morning with ease, after all, it wasn't like she hadn't been getting up two hours before I wanted to for years or anything... I'd make a hot breakfast to start her day off right, pack a well-balanced, nutritious lunch, then she'd shoulder her adorable, but not so heavy as to be unhealthy, backpack and we'd stroll down the street to the neighborhood cut through to avoid the car traffic at the school and I, smiling, would hand her over to the person who would take care of her for the next 7 hours while mournfully walking home alone, my duty done til 3pm.
The reality is a little different. Okay, a LOT different. For starters, she doesn't go to the neighborhood school. I tried to get her into Pre-K at a charter school (not that I was attempting to shuffle her off to school a year early or anything) and didn't make it.
Then RaidMan made friends with a local guy who told him horror stories about our schools--you know, the schools we'd moved out of Austin to get to? Yea.
We got word, shortly after that, that J's name had come up in the lottery at the Charter School. I liked their numbers (max class size of 16) and dh liked that they weren't the "scary 'hood school" Whatever. I've heard nothing but good about the primary, elementary, and high school. The junior high has been dissed, but, well, it's only 3 years, right? Right?
So we enrolled her there and discovered the joy of taking one of 700 enrolled students to a school with no bus service. How I envied the parents off-loading four kids in the morning--at least they were getting their wait's worth out of it!
Year two of school and J's school expands massively, taking over a school that was previously church-affiliated and hit financial hard times. Woo-hoo, parking!
Not so much. The way the new administration handles morning drop-off is not the same as the way the old one did.
For most of last school year the carryover parents just did the way they always had: Stopping in the middle of the aisle & blocking traffic while they released their kids into the wild, sometimes even getting out of the car to help them with bags or projects. Did I mention this was in the middle of the friggin' parking lot driving lane?
Then these kids were left to find their own way from parking lot to class on a busy open air campus. Yea, cuz that's safe *snort*
My own personal issue, though, I've saved for last.
Just because ~your~ kid is safely in the school does NOT mean you get to drive like MY KID is a traffic cone!
Parents who drop their kids and seem to immediately perceive the parking lot as a road-rage video game drive me mad! (no pun intended, this time) The parking lot, because it was built by the church, has multiple entry points and the school has not enforced any kind of traffic flow standard. There's a whole lot of going in through the out driveway, people coming from all angles, paying little or no attention to the world around them.
Looking from across the street while I decide which driveway is less likely to get me killed, it kind of looks like oversize bumper cars, or a scarily coordinated synchronized event. You know, one where all the participants are precise fractions of seconds away from crashing into each other.
You can always tell the cars that still have kids in them, too. They are between the lines, there is no rubber smoke billowing out of their wheel wells. The drivers, while harried looking trying to make that first bell, are polite. They park far enough away that you can get in and out of your car.
Mom or dad alone? (I hate to say it guys, but Dads definitely seem to be worse about this!) You'd better not leave your car door open too long getting in or you might lose it when they back out of there like a bat outta hell. Actually, I'm pretty sure some of them can drive faster in reverse than a bat can fly...
This is, apparently, a problem for any school that has anything other than a narrow 1 or 2 lane driveway, so I know I'm not alone.
To all you frustrated race car drivers who drop kids at my girl's school:
Would you kick the ass of someone who endangered your kid in the school parking lot? So would I. Remember that the next time you drive around me like I'm a speed bump, or I may be forced to prove it.
PS - anyone know any handy tips re: assault laws in Texas? kthanxbai!