As if it wasn’t inconvenient enough to have Gwen get out of school 45 minutes before Parker for the first three weeks of school, we are reaching new levels of insanity. There are new mandatory pickup procedures. That’s just craziness right there. When my boys were in first grade the final bell rang and the kids scattered. They knew where to meet me in the back of the school and we went on our merry little way.

When I was in first grade I walked to and from school with my fifth grade brother. By third grade I was the oldest family member in the school and was responsible for my sister in kindergarten. Times have changed.

I thought it was a little odd that Gwen’s teacher told the parents on the first day that she would walk the students to the front of the school at the end of the day. Who complained? You know some parent made a big deal out of the fact that first graders were unsupervised after school. So now the teachers have to escort them out of the classroom. *eye roll*

I was able to intercept Gwen on the first day. The second day was a little strange. She stayed late for some reading assessments. I wasn’t sure if the back gates would be open but I figured I could drive around to the front if I had to. The back gates were unlocked. Her backpack was still hanging up by her classroom so I waited at the picnic tables. Somehow I missed her teacher escorting the assessment kids to the front. She went out another door that I forgot about.

The yard duty lady called out to a little girl wandering around. “Where are you supposed to be? Why are you getting out so late?” I watched the scene for a couple seconds before I stood up to find my own little girl. Gwen’s teacher walked back far enough to call out to the lost girl, “You didn’t stay with me! You’re supposed to be in the front to wait for your mom!” I walked to the front of the school.

Black bars separated me and Gwen. I couldn’t get out and she couldn’t get in. Luckily a mom told me to go through the office. She said they prefer people doing that than asking for someone to unlock the gate. So I walked through the office. The secretaries didn’t seem bothered by me wandering through without a visitor sticker. I went out the front to Gwen. Then we realized we needed to get into the schoolyard in order to get to the van. The gate was still locked so we had to walk through the office again.

At Back to School Night we learned that the back gates will be locked at 2:15 and all parents are required to pick up their children in the front of the school. My friend was not happy. She lives less than a block away from the school. In the back. So she is required to either walk a mile to get to the front of the school or drive to the already congested parking lot.

Wednesdays are the best because the school starts and ends at the same time for everyone regardless of early or late staggered schedules. Gwen and Parker found each other after school and walked down the path to me. Today I left my house early to get to the school early to pick up Gwen. I arrived 15 minutes early and took the second to last parking spot. Then I had to stand by the office in the only shaded spot in the front of the school sweating with 500 other parents.

The drop off zone was filled with idling cars. It’s too hot to turn cars off and wait. I’m not a save the planet kind of person. I’m more of a “to hell with the planet save yourself” kind of person. Mostly because I had a t-shirt in high school that said that and the sentiment still makes me laugh. However I can’t help but think of the planet when it comes to school. No school buses whatsoever so parents are required to drive. And the people in the nearby neighborhoods drive too. Some days it’s too hard to get out of the house on time to walk a few blocks. *eye roll*

The parking lot was full of cars baking in the sun. Those parents were all huddled together in every conceivable piece of shade, of which there aren’t many as I already said. Some parents had umbrellas for their own portable shade.

There is only one opening in the gate. So every child in the first and second grade must come through that one spot and find their parent. This staggered schedule used to affect third grade as well but now that Parker finished this stupid schedule last year they have decided third graders can read well enough to stay at school all day long.

Gwen’s teacher told a parent that things will calm down in the front. Give it time. Yeah, two more weeks. She sent out an email today saying that there were only five kids in her class who requested the late start schedule. I think that is a sure sign Gwen is on the late start. My happy star next to my request for late start was unnecessary! I cannot wait until Gwen can finally get out at 3:00 with Parker.

I hate the broken up morning but it’s much better than wasting time in the afternoon. Dropping off kids is so much faster than picking them up. I actually have enough time to go home in between in the morning. That’s when I shower. Then I get dressed and take the late start kid to school and drop them off. Right now my afternoons consist of me leaving the house before 2:00 and getting home around 3:20 ish. And there is no time to go home in between.

I blame the staggered reading schedule on the bigwigs in the district office who come up with these wild haired ideas that end up creating more problems than they solve. I blame the gate issue on all the attention starved students who insist on carrying out school shootings that have been encouraging copycat acts of violence for nearly 20 years.

We don’t need gun control. We need parents to actually care about their children. The problem starts at home. I’m so glad I get to endure these ridiculous procedures because some parent couldn’t see their kid needed psychiatric help. They also didn’t notice when their kid planned grisly stuff online and somehow got their hands on automatic weapons that they smuggled to school.

After all these terrible school tragedies the rest of the parents are freaked out. Schools are locked up like prisons now. It’s really sad actually. The more people complain about lax security at school the more trouble they cause everyone else.