Note to my readers: I generally don’t rant or stand on a soapbox. Well, rarely. Okay – sometimes. This post is about something happening at my son’s school. However, I posted it here on my blog, because I suspect it’s happening at many schools.

Is it just me? Or has anyone else noticed that the drop-off lane placed on the west side of Redfield Elementary School for the parents’ convenience has become increasingly inconvenient? It’s not because the lane was poorly designed or engineered. There’s nothing wrong with the way the lane is supposed to work. But it appears some parents are “working” the lane and the system for their personal convenience with either blatant or oblivious disregard for the rest of the procedure-following drop-off parents. Now into our third year of this, instead of feeling convenient, every morning feels more like an inconsiderate, frustrating “have-it-your-way” traffic situation. Is it just me?

I don’t get it. Don’t parents receive the same clearly written drop-off lane procedures every year via their child’s backpack or email from the PTO like I get? Several times, I might add.

The way I understand it, the drop-off lane was designed to work like this: parents drive into the right lane next to the sidewalk and pull forward. They put their car in park. Their child quickly exits out the RIGHT side of the car onto the sidewalk, closes the car door and walks into the schoolyard. The parent drives away, stops for a Starbuck’s and continues on with their day.

The entire drop-off process should take less than 15 to 30 seconds, even if you have more than one child AND have to deal with an automatic sliding door on your mini-van.

Maybe some haven’t read the procedures. Maybe they’re new to the school. Maybe they just don’t understand them. If that’s the case, I’d like to offer the following EIGHT COMMON DROP-OFF LANE INFRACTIONS followed by the correct procedures to help clear up any misinterpretations:

1. Physical TLC. We all love our kids, it’s true. But how about kissing and hugging and high-fiving with them BEFORE you load them into the car? You are not sending them off to college and there’s a 99.9% chance that you WILL see your child again after school! If you feel you need to have that one last embrace with them, PLEASE DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR IN THE DROP-OFF LANE TO DO IT. Please park your car in the parking lot and embrace away.

2. Unable to unbuckle. Gotta love the little ones! However, if your child cannot unfasten the seat belt by his or herself, PLEASE DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR IN THE DROP-OFF LANE TO HELP THEM. Please park your car in the parking lot and help them out. There is a crossing guard in the parking lot if you do not have the time to take your child up to the school building.

3. Backpacks and Projects in Trunk. Oh yeah – it happens! If you make the decision to load your child’s backpack or large project or treats in the trunk of your car PLEASE DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR IN THE DROP-OFF LANE TO UNPACK. Please park your car in the parking lot and unpack your cargo. Chances are your child may need your help bringing it into the building.

4. Cell Phone Oblivion. This is simple common courtesy. If you are engaged on a call while your kids are exiting or trying to say good-bye, PLEASE DO NOT SIT IN THE DROP-OFF LANE AND TALK. Please be considerate and park your car in the parking lot to finish your call. If you leave while continuing your call, please be alert and aware of cars and pedestrians around you.

5. Left Side Exit. If your child is sitting on the left side of the car to make it easier for you to “hop out” and help them, or because you have more than one child in the car or because your right side doors are not functioning properly, you are putting your child, yourself, and other drivers in harms’ way. PLEASE DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR IN THE DROP-OFF LANE OR ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO EXIT ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE DROP-OFF LANE AT ANY TIME!! Please park your car in the parking lot where you can exit on either side.

6. Last Minute Conversations. Maybe you were busy listening to the radio or on your phone. However, your arrival at the drive-thru lane is not the perfect time to ask your children if they have their lunch, backpack, homework, or to give them instructions on when or where you will pick them up. You can do that at home or on your way to school. PLEASE DO NOT SIT IN THE DROP-OFF LANE AND HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN. If you have started a conversation that hasn’t ended, please park your car in the parking lot to finish it.

7. Unprepared Child. Are they ready to go? If you child doesn’t have their shoes or jacket on; if your child does not have their backpack loaded and zipped; if your child is playing their Nintendo DS or is in the middle of a movie and whines “Wait! I want to see this part!” PLEASE DO NOT SIT IN THE DROP-OFF LANE AND WAIT FOR THEM TO GET IT ALL TOGETHER. Please park your car in the parking lot and help them or let them finish their game or watch the movie. (Or you could just shut the movie off – just saying.)

8. Parent Running Late. Are you running behind? You know the rules, but you’re in a hurry today! You can’t be late! So, just this once….but guess what? Your “just this once” is now making everyone late. And you know how it goes…if everyone says “just this once”, then even the people who weren’t running behind are going to be late. PLEASE BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN TIME MANAGEMENT AND CONSIDERATE OF YOUR FELLOW PARENTS. PLEASE FOLLOW THE PROCEDURES, EVEN IF IT MEANS YOU WILL BE LATE. It’s not our fault.

We have been offered two excellent options for dropping our kids at school: the quick and easy drop-off lane and the parking lot. It’s not Burger King. It’s Redfield Elementary, where we drop-off our kids and hope they learn things like cooperation, consideration, following procedures, accountability and problem solving.

If it were Burger King and I could have it my way, THAT’S the way I would want to have it. Just hold the pickle and the frustration.

Care to super-size that order with me?