Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Boring post about the way school drop off/pick up used to be

Julia has written a few posts lately that talk about the slightly absurd-but-not-really school pick up concept at her son's school and I got me to thinking a lot about Fuss's school and the pick up situation.

You see, I went to this school. I started in Kindergarten and graduated high school from this school, so I was literally there for 13 years and I remember how pick-up and drop off worked and it all worked wonderfully back then when the school had over 700 students. Now that the school is closer to 500 students, I don't get why we now have to have all these "rules and regulations" about drop-off/pick up. To be honest, I don't know why anything had to change at all, expect to update technology for the current societal norms and to repair or replace what wore out or broke, etc. But alas, they have changed MUCH and now there are RULES that we parents are expected to follow when we drop off and pick up our kids.

You see, when I was a kid, every family had their little section of our sprawling campus for pick up. The parents would always park THERE and the kids would always wait THERE and rarely was there is a situation where the parents and children couldn't find each easily, (providing, of course, that everyone was on time and not dawdling.) I have many memories of hanging out in a subsection ("next to the log cabin" and then later "at the front of the log cabin") of campus as a young child (this was our spot from K-3rd grade and then again in 6th grade) and playing there and looking up to see my mom or my carpool driver pull into a parking space. The year (5th grade) that my parents could never seem to pick me up in a timely manner due to work responsibilities, I hung out in my former 1st grade teacher's classroom and helped her grade papers until my parents would FINALLY arrive. And there was another year that the (annoying) boys I carpooled with and I had to walk to the back entrance by the chapel and wait there. And then if one of the mothers was late (there were 3 moms involved, so it was never as simple for them to remember their days as it should have been - plus, one mom had a toddler at home and another mom had 2 kids who attended different schools than ours, so I'm sure they had a lot on their minds) we had to trek BACK to front of campus to borrow the phone from the office ladies and call home to find out who was coming and if they had forgotten or what - oh the days before cell phones!

Drop off was simpler. Elementary aged children were dropped off in a car line, type scenario between 8:05 and 8:25. If you had small children (under 3rd grade) and you needed to drop them off before then, you took them to before care (held in the study hall, attached to the library) and the 3rd-12th graders would just hang out in front of the buildings that housed the classrooms until the first bell or until the (elementary) teachers went to their classrooms after their (daily, mandatory) before school prayer meeting, which ended at 8:15. There were always adults acting as crossing guards and car line supervisors, so we weren't completely on our own with no supervision.

High school students who were lucky enough to drive themselves or be driven by an older sibling/friend parked across the street in the student lot and walked across the street at the cross walk, manned by the trusty head maintenance man (who still works there today, though he's no longer the HEAD maintenance man.) No one was encouraged to mill about campus before 8am. Some of us (myself included) high schoolers had a before-school class (yes, a class - which we got credit for - that met BEFORE school began. It was an elite ensemble of singers - audition only selection and as far as attendance went - Mrs W was stricter than most about being on time. She took attendance at 7:30 and we were singing by 7:31. There was no wandering around ahead of time and the few who attempted to park on campus and move their cars and then make it to home room on time often found themselves late to home room - or fined for parking on campus to begin with.)

This year when I found myself having to drive on campus to drop off my 4 year old, I thought I'd be the smart, knowledgeable alumni and enter the back way, park in a little-used parking lot and walk my girl to class. I was reminded after the first few days that that was an "exit only" in the morning and the front gate was "entrance only" in the afternoon. They are so strict now with the kids - there is absolutely no "milling about" in the morning or afternoons. I guess I get it for safety reasons, but when I was a kid, that's how we were able to hang out with lots of other kids from other grades/classes - there's not a lot of time for that during the school day, of course. And I LOVED that. (also how I met my now-husband - he wasn't in my grade in school. Our first conversation as friends was hanging out on campus after school and many, many more as the months and years went by were also held while we waited for our parents/siblings to pick us up.)

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