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So maybe you thought picking up your kids at school was complicated by too little parking, too many cars and little Suzie who has vanished to the playground on the other side of the soccer field.

It can all get pretty frustrating, especially when that one parents parks in everyone else's way and then vanishes. But according to this story from an uncle in Denver, a writer named Reilly Capps, his niece's school has taken the "pick-up line" to a whole new level.

In his note, which was sent to Lenore Skenazy, who once put her tween on the subway, and now runs a blog called Free-Range Kids, Capps explains that, for pick-up at the end of the day, the parents have been told to sit in a line in their cars, while the kids are released from school with numbers, one by one. They are then matched to the number on their parent's car before being allowed to greet their authorized adult, who has been cautioned to stay behind the wheel.

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In an e-mail to The Globe, Capps writes: "It's legit and legitimately insane … hundreds of parents in cars for half an hour. Most of them seemed fine about it, but I lost my mind."

As proof, Mr. Reilly also helpfully e-mailed the actual policy of the Castle Rock school, complete with detailed, colour-coded maps and precise step-by-step directions equal to a military operation. Parents are directed: "Your carpool number will be entered by staff member in computer to notify students of arrival." And told: "Please stay in your vehicle." Exceptions are made for "registered walkers."

Capps happened to be helping out with pick-up that day, and was particularly aggrieved because he was stuck with a toddler in the car, who was crying for snacks and juice that he forgot to bring.

He asks, like an uncle who doesn't know the danger of alienating school staff, or appreciate how far the officious "carpool team" will go to follow their rule book: Why don't the parents rise up? (He braved a confrontation with the school secretary, who, he says, demanded his license and called his niece's mom to see if he was "on the list. They just want to be safe.)

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