This is my last week of front porch duty at the school where I teach. Front porch duty is such a pain and it's upsetting when parents CHOOSE to ignore you or not follow the rules we have in place for the safety of their children. This morning I witnessed something I haven't seen in the 6 years I've been at this campus. A parent pulled up in the street in front of the school (not the circular drive) and didn't even park along the curb. She left her car running...in the street...and left her 2 year old child in the back while she took her 2nd grader in. I was the one holding the STOP sign in the circle and I thought surely she was just crossing her 2nd grader and then she'd walk right back out to the car. I was wrong. She walked into the school. Then I thought maybe she is just walking him to the doors. Wrong again. She was gone for several minutes and I definitely lost focus of my job to direct the cars and cross the people safely across the crosswalk. A parent that I know rather well came to the crosswalk and I mentioned the child left in the car. She took her phone out of her pocket, called the police, and handed me the phone. At least 5 minutes had gone by. I told the dispatch officer what I knew and gave the phone back to the owner and asked her to go get the license plate of the car.
All this time, the parent was still in the school. Can you imagine? We have had a car accident right in the very spot where the car was sitting. The parent finally went back to the car and I could tell by her body language that she was telling the parent on the phone with the police and the other traffic director that she had done nothing wrong. When my duty was over, I walked over to them to support the other traffic person, the parent on the phone had left. We waited forever for the police to arrive. The child had unbuckled himself. I told the mother that I have a 4 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old and I know how hard it is to unbuckle them and haul them all into a building but child safety comes first and it was very dangerous to leave her child in the car for even a minute. I don't even leave my kids in the van in the driveway. If I've left something inside and can't go without it, I turn the van off and take them all inside with me.
The woman was upset because...get this... she was supposed to be following her 2nd grader's busses on a field trip to Waco. She was upset because they were going to leave without her. I'm not sure that she understood that we were more worried about her child than she was.
I don't know about you but if I see someone putting their child in harm's way, like not buckling them up, I call the police every time. The children can't speak for themselves.
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