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How to Drop Your Children Off At School - a FAQ for Parents

I have noticed that quite a few parents are unclear about how to drop their children off at school. My oldest son finishes 6th grade this week, and I have been studying this issue since he started Kindergarten. I present to the Internet, A Parent's Guide and FAQ to Dropping Off A Child At School.

Step 1: Preparation

Like many things in life, preparation is key. Have your child prepare his or her backpack the night before. Make sure that everything is in the backpack. Loose items mean a disorganized vehicular exit when you arrive at the school.

Q) As the parent, I get my child's backpack ready. Isn't that OK?

A) No. Stop it. You child will never learn to get themselves anywhere if you do it all for them. Start in kindergarten, have them get their backpack ready the night before, and place it by the door. You have enough to do as a parent without having to do that, too, and your kid needs to learn responsibility. Will your kid forget stuff? Sometimes, but then they learn a valuable lesson. They won't die if they forget their math homework once.

Step 2: Drive into the drop-off lane.

Most schools have a drop-off lane in the parking lot or along the street. You should drive into the drop-off lane and get in line behind any other cars that are already there. This may require up to 30 seconds of patience on your part. As cars move up, you will follow.

Q) Should I drive past all of the cars that are in the drop-off lane and jump to the front of the line? I am really important and I am in a hurry. I should not have to wait behind all of these... people.

A) No. You are not more important than any other parent. If you drive past them, then you may hit a kid that darts out into traffic, a parent may crash into you when they pull out without looking, and you will probably cause a traffic issue by blocking other cars, so just calm down and get in line.

Q) I know! I will drive really fast when I cut to the front of the line. I am really late to work, after all. That's good with everyone, right?

A) Get up earlier then. Please don't run over a kid in the parking lot because you hit the snooze alarm too many times. Jackass.

- Updated Q from Mary:
Q) How about this sign that says, "Not a drop-off zone, please pull forward?" This is where I am supposed to stop, correct?

A) If your goal is to cause all of the parents behind you to start shouting colorful words that their children have never heard before, then yes, by all means, stop there. If you wish to teach your children the practical value of reading, then please pull forward.



Step 3: Pull up to the curb.

Your children should step out of the vehicle onto the curb so they are not killed by other cars.

Q) What if I double park and have my children run between other cars to get to the curb? That's almost the same, isn't it?

A) Running between 2 cars that may move at any moment may cause your children to be crushed. Are you so impatient that you would rather risk your children be crushed than spend an extra minute dropping them off at school?

Q) My minivan has sliding doors on both sides. I like to pull up to the curb, then open both doors and have half of my children get out onto the curb, while the other half of them jump out into traffic and then run around the van, between cars that may move at any moment, and then get to the curb. This saves me 30 seconds of time each morning! I am so smart, huh?

A) If you are running an experiment on natural selection and you want to know which of your children are quick enough to evade death by moving cars, then yes, you are brilliant.

- Updated Q from Kathy:
Q) If I pull my car up in front of the line of cars who have just successfully dropped off their kids and look forward acting as if I don't see the cars, is it then acceptable to nose into the line of cars at an angle and block all of the other cars from departing? (After all, I don't see the other cars, so they don't really mind, do they?)

A) Ah, but *they* can see *you* grasshopper. One day you will pull this trick in front of a someone who is having a bad day and they will smash into your car - and everyone will cheer. I am considering having a massive, steel pipe, bumper fitted to my truck for just such occasions. Get in the back of the line and wait your turn....

Step 4: Drive away.

At this point you have driven into the drop-off lane, waited your turn, and pulled forward to drop off your children. Good job! Now, after your children exit your vehicle, pull forward and drive away.

Q) I prefer to arrive 30 minutes before school starts, park in the drop-off lane, and wait to make sure that my child gets into the school safely. That's OK, isn't it?

A) No. There is a parking lot if you wish to wait. The drop-off lane is just for dropping off, not for you to block traffic with your attachment issues.

Q) My technique is to double park in the drop-off area, turn off my car, get out, and walk my child to the door of the school. That's cool, right?

A) You have blocked the entire parking lot so no one can move. No, it is not alright. You need to park in a parking space if you feel the need to walk your child into the school you selfish pig.

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