Becoming the Mean Playground Mom

You can tell that school is almost over for the year by the flagrant disregard for school rules and adult authority. Or is that a disregard a more pervasive problem?

All I know is that I will be glad for next fall when the current crop of fifth graders at our elementary have moved on to junior high. But then of course there will be a new batch of kids who think they rule the school, so who knows how long the peace will last.

I walk my kids to school almost every morning. I should clarify that they usually ride scooters and sometimes I walk, sometimes I jog, sometimes I ride my bike. Once in awhile I drive them to the sidewalk outside the back of the school and just watch them walk up the long path and onto the playground. I can see them till they park their scooters on the bike rack, then I figure they are safe and sound because usually the bell rings within a minute or two and they enter school.

We like to be there a tiny bit early. It’s the strong “J” in me, (I’m an ENFJ) and it’s so that we don’t have to tangle with a ton of bike and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks. Not to mention that I’m eager to get back to my office to work.

Well last week was one of those times I let them off at the sidewalk and watched them walk in. When I came to pick them up in the afternoon, I immediately heard the story of how Alex got run over by a bike, ON THE PLAYGROUND, and was escorted to the nurse’s office. They showed me where the incident took place, and it wasn’t even on the blacktop, it was a grassy spot 50 feet from the school door.

I was astounded that some kid would be riding his bike around the playground when it was full of kids waiting to enter school!

Then the next morning I walked them all the way to school and I saw it…handfuls of older boys riding their scooters and ripsticks and even a couple bikes in circles around the blacktop of the playground despite it being FULL of small kids and a few parents.

I immediately called the school and complained. I heard the excuse that teachers don’t supervise the playground before the 8am school bell and the kids “shouldn’t” be there before then anyway. Yeah…right. I asked for them to remind the kids and their parents of the rules.

Then this morning I showed up again and saw the same thing. I very loudly reminded my own children to get off their scooters at the gate and walk them to the bike rack (they don’t actually need reminding, but other kids obviously do.) I saw a few kids look at me and get off their vehicles. But I saw a few on ripsticks blatantly ignore me. So I said to them “You are not supposed to be on those ripsticks here!” I did not yell, but I was stern. Still they ignored me.

So I walked over to the door of the school where I found a teacher about to let the kids inside when the bell rang. I told her the problem, and that my Alex was the one run over last week. She yelled “GET OFF YOUR RIPSTICKS” from where she was, but they either couldn’t hear her or chose not to hear her.

FINALLY one of the other teachers marched out onto the blacktop, grabbed the attention of the three boys in question and gave them a lecture or something. I stood watching from the doorway as the bell rang and all the kids rushed inside.

I fully expect them to be back tomorrow morning, ignoring the rules some more. But now I’m on a mission. I will keep bugging the school until it stops. I don’t want to hear excuses about a lack of teacher or parent responsibility. I shouldn’t have to worry about my Kindergarten’s safety when he’s on school property. I don’t want to be the mean mom, but if no other parents or teachers will supervise their kids before school, I will.

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