I am writing this article because of a parent’s request. This parent was brought into the world of transportation in a very abrupt way. The parent witnessed something I witness on an everyday basis at every school. In November, a parent let her child out of her car in front of the school just like many others every day, and just like many other children excited about school, the child ran to the building.
But, there was a tragedy about to happen. The child was dropped off across the street in front of the school, the child bolted around the back of the car and ran in front of another parent’s car who struck a kindergarten child. Both mothers were crushed as they loaded up the child and headed to the hospital together.
As the Transportation Supervisor, I see every day the confusion at the schools during arrival times and dismissal times. The things I see scare me. We have a limited amount of space at each school. In spite of this everyone wants to drop off right in front of the school, in the bus lane, across the street, or even in the street.
When this happens in the bus lane, buses cannot pull up to load and unload. The buses are in the way of everyone else when this happens. Recently, a vehicle tried to squeeze by and hit our bus taking it out of service just because one parent parked in the bus-loading zone and refused to move. This parent caused the back up of all the buses, made 1000 children 15 min. late getting home and caused two buses in town to be damaged and 70 children to have to wait for a spare bus to come and pick them up. Also all the parents behind the buses could not leave the parking lot because the exit was blocked.
At every school, children are frequently dropped off across the street. They run to the school across two lanes of traffic, often without looking. Even more dangerous are the parents that stop in the middle of the road and have their children get out in traffic and cross or dodge between parked cars. Children should only cross the street at marked intersections; otherwise it is jaywalking and they are at risk of getting hit by a car or other vehicle.
Every school has a plan on how traffic is to flow during this time, which includes parent pick up and drop off. This may require students to walk away from the building down the sidewalk to find a parent, but waiting is safer than crossing traffic and dodging between parked cars.
The Middle School has parent pick up and drop off on the east side of the building. Buses pick up and drop off in the bus lane on the west side of the building.
Fairview parent pick up is on the south and north side of the block; buses are in front of the school between the signs.
Johnson school buses pick up to the east and a handicap bus picks up in front of the school. The parent pick up is east of the front door down 9th Street to 11th Avenue, 2.5 blocks.
Lincoln school buses pick up in front of the school. Parent pick up is the two lanes between, down the north and south side of the lot. Parents need to be careful in the two lanes down the middle; the lane is not from curb to curb. We need to get vehicles through all the time,so please leave room.
While the high school remains under construction parents should stay tuned as new information about bus locations are known. Parents should drop students off in Entrance 10: Circle Drive, entering on the west driveway, exiting in the middle driveway or east driveway.
IGLL buses and parents pick up in the parking lot. Sacred Heart buses are in front of the school and parents are in the lot where the curb is not painted.
My suggestion to parents would be to leave 5-10 minutes earlier, always drop the children off curbside and if there is traffic, move away from the school until there is no traffic, have your child walk a block if they have to. It is much safer than the alternative of crossing the road or blocking the buses. Rushing is always a disaster waiting to happen.
If you have any questions call the building principal or transportation director at (712) 262-1118. Just remember always keep safety first in your mind; the children are learning from you by watching your behavior. Your being careful now will help make them careful drivers when the time comes.