No Room For Road Rage at Elementary Schools


I just got another mass email from my child’s principal that addresses the stupid things parents do when dropping off or picking up their kids at school.

My son goes to a school that has one way in and one way out.  It’s a huge traffic snarl every morning and afternoon, not only because of the bad design, but also – and perhaps mostly – because of selfish parents.

Our school has traffic rules to enable smoother drop off and pick up.  You wait in a long line of cars and inch your way to the traffic circle.  Once you get to a certain point, that’s where you stop to let your kid out or get him into your car.  Then you drive to the left around the tree and go back out the way you came.  No idling on the curb, no parking along any of the painted curbs, no letting your kids out where it’s not allowed.

But of course, not everybody follows the rules for one reason or another.  And every single day there is some parent who rushes ahead and cuts off the line, or stops too early to let their kids out, or simply parks where it’s not allowed and walks into school. Teachers and volunteers often reprimand these people, who are not always gracious or apologetic.

In the middle of all this is a crosswalk where the children who are walking – and therefore relieving the community of yet another car to add to this mess – cross to the side of the road where they can walk back out of the school grounds.  In the afternoons, the principal herself acts as crossing guard, with a big handheld STOP sign.  One day when I was waiting in line I witnessed a minivan blow right by the principal, who was standing in the middle of the crosswalk with the STOP sign held high.  The minivan did not slow down or stop for her.  It had a row of Mickey Mouse decals along the bottom of the rear windshield.

In tonight’s email, the principal said things have gotten so bad that “a parent actually threatened to run over one of our teachers.”

Really?  What kind of asshole threatens to run over a teacher, no matter how stupid he or she thinks the rule is?

I’ve clocked the wait time for cars picking up or dropping off children.  At its worst, the wait can be as long as 10 minutes.  You can avoid wait times completely by arriving earlier in the morning, or parking down the street and walking, or walking the children to school.  If you’re running late, school is not the place where you can make up time.  I’ve been there, I know how it is.  You’re busy, I’m busy, everybody’s busy.

But this is your child.  These are our children. And their teachers.  If you get held up because you arrived too late to find a parking space or get to the front of the line, so what?!  Take a deep breath, follow the rules, and drive safely.  Being on time for your morning meeting or an after school playdate or soccer practice is not more important than the safety of our community.

I love it here.  I love our school.  I lament the bad planning of the traffic situation, the lack of a bike lane, and the too-narrow sidewalk.  But I adapted, and so should you.  There is so much to appreciate about Agoura Hills and the public schools.  Don’t make it miserable for everybody else just because you’re miserable.  Chill the eff out.  Your children will become better people if you do.


  1. This needs to be the cover letter on the PTA newsletter of every school.

  2. I wish I could tell you that this is unique to your school, but I’m afraid it’s not. I wrote similar posts to this one at least once a year when my daughter was in elementary school. I wish more parents cared about their school community than just their own needs.

  3. Remember buses?

  4. Don’t you know that this is their world and you’re just living in it? 🙂

    Luckily we don’t have that problem – the school starts at different times for different classes/age groups, so the staggering prevents the morning pile-up.

  5. We have similar issues. I’m a “park down the street in a legal space, walk to get child, walk back to car” pick-up parent. It gives us exercise time and talk time. That said, yesterday was my first actual “drive into the pick-up lane” mess experience, as it was POURING and our younger son had a 102 degree fever. I even asked a friend if she could pick up our older son, but her daughter was home sick. Figures! I did have to remind myself to breathe, but I now know that, under normal circumstances, we’re better off doing it our way.

  6. I’ve done this pickup dance both in LA and Elk Grove. It’s the same. In my day–remember My Day?–it never happened. Why? Because we walked to school. As I’ve sat waiting to pick up my charges, I always wonder why kids today aren’t walking to school on their own? What has changed?

  7. You’ve echoed what has been playing in my head for the past 11 years (I have 10th & 8th grade kids). I’ve scolded parents, stepped in front of cars and shouted “Slow Down!”, only to have several parents say how great that was…but yet they don’t say a thing. My biggest pet-peeve lately is cars stopping into the turn on a corner and letting their kids out, forcing other kids to walk around their car and into the path of other cars trying to turn who can’t see around the stopped car. Ok…I’ll stop now. Add San Jose to the list of cities with wackadoodle drivers! 🙂 Great post..did I mention that?

  8. My kids’ school has a carpooling policy. IF you aren’t part of a policy, you must drop off earlier and pick up later than those of us who take more than our own kids to and from school. It really, really works!

  9. Amen 🙂 glad to be done with elementary school traffic… The middle school is not to bad! But wait till you get to the high school then you have to watch out for the crazy parent drivers and the young student drivers ahhhh stay away during lunch time 🙂

    • Been there done that says:

      Bambi – totally agree. Have gotten rear-ended twice in the past year while just sitting in AHS traffic — once by a Mom not paying attention and once by a reckless teen driver (and I don’t say that lightly). Also have a middle schooler. Unfortunately, elementary traffic just prepares you for dealing with Lindero and ultimately AHS traffic. Fasten your seat belts, parents.

  10. When we bought our IL house, part of the appeal was we could walk to the elementary school. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated this feature until I dealt with preschool pick-ups for three years. At the first school things were fine. It was a small, private school so only a few kids were in the class. When I got to the public school I swore I wouldn’t deal with the pick-up and drop-off ever again. What you described happens at every school in every state. It’s a symptom of the entitlement, me-first, I’m the most important attitude most people have now.

  11. Tickets cure a myriad of ills. Hand them out often and with abandon. Nothing cures bad driving habits quite like a $250 fine. If all else fails, photograph the bad parking/driving behavior and publish in your weekly newsletter and let peer pressure work it’s wonders.

  12. Oh, how I miss the days when we lived just a few steps away from my son’s school. Now it’s a mad scramble in the morning to get everyone out the door in one piece, and to the school before the bell rings.

    But even on days that I’m in a rush, I’m never in enough of a rush to do serious damage. Yesterday I saw a parent blow past the crossing guard’s stop sign that she was holding up. What is that about? Wouldn’t you rather be a few minutes tardy than be the cause of a devastating accident?

    I’m with FireMom – I enjoy parking and walking with my kid because it gives us a chance to talk and some brisk exercise (albeit some mornings more brisk than others!)

  13. We had the same problem at our school and they completely reorganized the school parking lot by completely shutting it down. At the end of the day its about the safety of the kids.

  14. OMG I used to volunteer on our school’s drop-off service and it astounds me no end to see the kinds of things people yell at their kids or at the volunteers or how crazy they drive -yikes!

  15. I don’t look forward to this. I am SURE there are psychos around here.

  16. What is it about getting in a car that can make some people crazy? Perfectly nice people turn into complete jackasses behind the wheel. But at school there’s no excuse for that behavior.

  17. How troublesome that these are parents…of children…who attend this school. I cannot even believe it….Is this what I get to look forward to next year?

  18. The person who said they were going to run over the crossing guard was driving a white bentley its a man and right after that a mom said something to him and he told her to suck his dick and then lit a cigaret . I saw the whole thing. what a PIG!

  19. The celebrity mom who jumps out of her car and runs through carpool so everyone will see her is really annoying at our school!


  1. […] “a parent actually threatened to run over one of our teachers.” To continue reading, click HERE * This piece originally published on BlogHer.  Don’t Miss School Events, Photos, Guest Posts […]

  2. […] If there is a rare moment of silence in your car after you’ve dropped off your kids, keep moving. Although it may seem to be the perfect time to send off an email or complete a bit of work, don’t forget that there is a huge queue of people waiting for you. Sometimes parents don’t realize that the car ahead of them has already moved and they re holding up the line, this can cause some unnecessary road rage. […]

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