Hello, Parents and Neighbours:
Class is almost in session and as the principal of your local elementary school I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss the morning drop-off. Back when we were kids, there was no morning drop-off. Everyone walked. Today, more than 50 per cent of children are driven by their parents and our school zones have turned into a chaotic traffic jam. Parents are speeding, overtaking parked school buses, even driving on the sidewalk.
It's a dangerous situation. According to Transport Canada data on school zones, children have difficulty judging speed, distance and the direction of sounds.
Those who've attended our family movie nights know I'm a big film buff. Allow me to compare the morning drop-off with the Do Lung Bridge scene in Apocalypse Now, where all the American soldiers are on LSD and no one knows who's in charge. The film's characters are confused by the waste and carnage at the Do Lung Bridge but then Captain Willard (played wonderfully by Martin Sheen) explains, "We build it every night. Charlie blows it right back up again. Just so the generals can say the road's open."
That's a lot like our morning drop-offs. It's a kind of daily insanity that defies all logic and humanity but we do it every morning. We feel powerless to stop.
But we here at your local elementary aren't quitters! We're not the kind of folks who would sit in a fox hole waiting for the apocalypse. Some brainstorming over the summer turned up ways to alleviate the problem.
1. Walk. Why not have your children walk to school? If they are too young to walk by themselves, leave a bit earlier and escort them. They'll get exercise and you'll save money by not having to sign them up for fitness classes with names such as "Intermediate Tag" or "Extended Hide and Seek."
2. Bike. If you work close enough to cycle, why not hop on your bike? To encourage bicycling we have installed a raised bike path that will allow parents who cycle in with their children to physically look down on parents who drive their kids to school.
3. Park a block or two away. Some of you have long commutes and must drive. If so, please park a block or two from the school and walk your children in. Walk a block! You can do it, parents!
4. Slow down. Don't speed by our school. Don't speed anywhere. You're not that important. I can speak from personal experience when I say that wherever you're supposed to be, the people there don't actually care whether you show up or not. So slow down. What's the rush? What's wrong with you people? Are you that stupid?
Whoops! Sorry. Looks like Mister Principal just bought himself a time out! But do think about what I've said. Let's stop the morning drop-off from becoming a combat zone. The horror. The horror.
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