Well-Meaning Parents Go Too Far

kids

Remember the good old days when children entered their schools without the involvement of dozens of official and ad hoc committee meetings, police cars ominously lurking, mass emailings to the entire student body’s parents, traffic cones, instruction sheets, concrete barriers, and email flame wars?  Me too.  That long ago time has come to be nostalgically thought of by me as, “last week.”

My daughter’s school, which is an excellent one by the way, has just implemented a new system for parents who drive their children to school in the morning.  The new system is called “kiss and drop” and involves a single lane of cars crawling through one of the school parking lots between pylons.  At the appropriate spot, you are supposed to plant one on your progeny, eject them from the vehicle, and get the hell out of there before any of the other parents behind you go nuts.

This replaces the old system of “no system.”  The problem with that state of affairs was that there were certain circumstances where a child might have to walk in front of a car.  Now God forbid that any child should ever be hurt in any situation, but for cryin’ out loud, it’s not like they’re crossing the highway – it’s a PARKING LOT!  FILLED WITH PARENTS!  AND TEACHERS!  THE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE MOST INTERESTED IN CHILD WELFARE!  It was probably the safest environment my daughter was in all day.

It’s another case (like this one) of exacting a burden from a large group of people in the attempt to prevent some highly unlikely bad thing from happening.  An injured child is absolutely an awful thing, but a .000001% chance of that happening is not much of a cost to society.  Inconveniencing hundreds of people every day IS a real cost that adds up pretty quickly.

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2 Responses to “Well-Meaning Parents Go Too Far”

  1. Derek K. Miller Says:

    Perhaps it has another purpose: encouraging kids to walk to school. If it’s that inconvenient to drive, maybe fewer kids will get dropped off.

    My daughters’ school doesn’t have such a regimented system, but they do now have some parent monitors out in the lane and the street on opposite sides of the school to enforce the stopping and parking regulations ALREADY IN PLACE by the city, and which a lot of us parents were ignoring.

    It’s not so much about trying not to endanger the kids — although it’s often couched in those terms — as it is trying to reduce some really ugly traffic tie-ups, rude driving behaviour, illegal parking, and pissing off of the school’s neighbours. As far as I know no child ever got hit or even so much as grazed, but the school was built in the late ’60s, when hardly anyone would consider driving there, and the surroundings aren’t designed for traffic. I should know. I went there myself from 1974 to 1981.

    We’re close enough that we walk pretty much every day (the girls go to school themselves now, and I usually meet them at the end of the day), so it doesn’t affect us much now. But the stopping/parking situation was nasty, a real “tragedy of the commons” arrangement, and I’m glad the school has worked to shape things up.

  2. cartooncat Says:

    I live in Germany, where parents are actively discouraged from using a car for the school run. Kids should walk or cycle. There are sidewalks and cycle lanes so nobody’s in traffic. Kids get exercise and when they’re older they can be responsible for their own journey to school, which encourages independence.

    And no, there is not a paedophile on every street corner.


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