There are three ways into our neighborhood, and two of those routes have schools on them. There is always some kind of elaborate pick up/drop off system being executed, and I always get caught in it. Without fail. Annie is going to walk to school every day just so I don’t have to deal with school pick up ballet. Also, she’ll walk because we’re only half a block from the elementary school, and even *I* am not that lazy.
A couple days ago I was driving home from the store and thought, “Hey, it’s 1pm, certainly it isn’t time for school dismissal,” so I took the most direct route home past the junior high. Of course it WAS school pick up time, because it is ALWAYS SCHOOL PICK UP TIME. Why are there so many half-days? WHY WHY WHY?
To add insult to injury I got stuck in the freaking pick up/drop off system behind a woman who was driving soooo sloooow I could have walked faster. I started scanning the sidewalk full of junior high kids, mentally making notes on all the outfits I hope are out of style before Annabel is old enough to wear them. I’d just raised my eyebrows at a girl in a teeny tiny dress when a boy right behind her decided it would be super-duper awesome to just run into traffic.
Luckily for this boy, he ran in front of the slow woman one car ahead of me. She couldn’t have been going faster than 7 miles an hour. She slammed on her brakes, but not before she hit him on his left side. He tumbled to the ground out of my view. He was on the ground long enough for me to a) scream, b) have a heart attack, and c) poop my pants. In total…about 2 seconds.
People swarmed from every direction, and the woman driving the car jumped out. I had my windows down and could hear her yell, “Are you OK?” while his friends yelled, “Yo Scott, look both ways before you cross the street, bro!” Every adult had the same look of terror, relief, and anger on their face. The kid looked fine…and embarrassed.
I felt really bad for the driver of the car, who’d already been driving so slow and carefully. I felt bad for the kid too, but I also wanted to maybe yell at him and shake his shoulders a little bit. Don’t run in the street! Look both ways, bro! It’s scary to think that you can drum something into your kids’ heads over and over and over, and then one day they’ll be in junior high and for reasons unknown, they’ll just forget everything and do something dangerous and stupid. Yay, parenting!
Also, I am never driving by that junior high again.
I had a school near our old house too and would avoid it like the plague when driving home regardless of the hour. But it seems when school is in session it is always pick up time. I would triple avoid a middle school. All children (as you illustrated above) lose their minds in middle school. It’s a hard couple of years!!
I worked on a street between an elementary school and a high school. The elementary school children were never a concern – they understand to look both ways before they cross the street. But the high schoolers?
There was additional parking across the street from the school, and the kids were continually walking back and forth without regard to traffic. They assumed cars would stop and off they went – heads down, staring at their phones, walking into traffic. There’s no crosswalk in the middle of the road. After slamming on brakes every day for a week (and no, there was not another way out of there), I finally called the high school principal and asked him to address the issue.
To be completely honest..this is why I make my kids ride the bus home from school. Because it drops them off directly in front of our house. The pick up zone in front of the school it too crazy and I am too scared and nervous about hitting somebody. LAME…but it’s the truth. Drop off in the morning it not nearly as chaotic..so we are good there..after school…Crrrrazy!
That is so scary, and I agree with another commenter that middle school and high school is the worst for that. I pick my daughter up from elementary at the front of the school and it is so scary. We live in a small town and it is a small school so it is probably not as bad as the school you are describing, but it can be scary still. Most of the parents seem to think that once their kid is safely in their car that they don’t have to pay attention anymore. I’ve told my daughter several times that even though she can see me in the parking lot she has to stand by the door and wait until I walk over to get her because people don’t see her like they do me. I fear the time when she decides to forget everything I’ve ever told her and does whatever she wants to at a moments notice, I know it’s coming soon.
I once had a Child Psychologist tell me that kids don’t completely lose that impulsive behaviour before they’re 18. They don’t yet have that voice of reason warning them that something is a bad idea before they do it. That’s why toddlers hang off curtains or jump off tables…they don’t have the voice telling them, “think about this. What are the consequences of my actions?” It does get better as they get older, but I guess it’s not fully formed until 18.
And I hate, hate driving through school zones. I think people spend so much time focussing on their speedometers, that they forget to look up and around them for random, reckless children.
The kids at my HS are the worst. Their school has a street running through it and they walk across not looking, talking, wearing headphones, on skateboards…sigh.
In my neighborhood, the worst people are the moms driving kids to and from the elementary. They SPEED like crazy. A lady who lives right across from the school routinely drives down my street at more than 40 mph, and it is a narrow old street.
In other news, I hate people.
I spit my wine out (it’s been a bad day) when you said you screamed, had a heart attack, and pooped your pants in 2 seconds. It’s amazing how our bodies can multitask isn’t it?
But damn kids (10-18) can get on my nerves! It’s like they think they own the streets! If there isn’t a driver watching they will get creamed. They are so busy listening to ipods, texting, talking on cell phones, it’s like that “look right, then left, then right again” mentality has completely left them. I tell my cousin’s all the time, it’s not up to the driver’s to see you, it’s up to YOU to see THEM. Don’t expect just because you are in a crosswalk someone will stop. Make sure they WILL stop. Too many times I’ve seen cars just blow through a crosswalk.
It’s scary out there! I don’t even like crossing the street anymore and I’ll be 30 next Friday!
My friend hit a middle-school-age kid when she was a senior in high school. It was a similar situation. He was distracted and just ran into the road. He rolled up onto her hood, smashed the windshield and bounced off.
He was actually OK, just a bit scraped up, but she was really traumatized. She had flashbacks that made her cry for weeks.
I also witnessed someone being hit by a car who was not OK. Not killed, but not OK, either. I’ll never forget that.
yeah, Procrastamom is totally right about the brain development thing. Some experts even say into their 20s, they dont have the ability to think through things the way we believe and expect they should.
It totally freaks me out that you can talk over and over and over with them trying to teach them to keep their little fool selves alive, and then they go and do something stupid that can be life changing or even fatal. I think there is a huge market among freaked out parents for giant safety bubbles, but unfortunately they wouldnt be practical, space wise.
Anyhoo…totally freaky. I’m glad he’s ok. Bet he never does THAT again.
It happens to me everyday when I drive past the local public school on the way to get mine. One of these teenagers will stroll casually across a busy street while we are doing the legal 25 MPH. And when they dart in front of you at the last second looking like that you may hit them, they yell and cuss at you like you are the one in the wrong. I don’t get it.