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parent vigilante

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My steering wheel is my ally; my smartphone is my witness.  I am reaching my tipping point with the parents who clog traffic and drop off their children in unsafe places; only 300 feet from a crosswalk!  Most days I turn-up my stereo to keep my outrage inside my vehicle.  But whilst stopped behind the SUV who consistently turns a blind eye to the rest of the junior high and elementary school population, I snapped the shot of the license frame for future reference.

What to do?  What would you do?

Appalling as their erratic driving is, what is more disconcerting is the fact that the black, suburban SUV has a NOTW sticker on his rear window.  Truly, if this middle school father’s faith is Not of this World it clearly does not reflect in his driving.  Since this school year has begun he has cut-off parents patiently waiting in line to drop off their children.  This is a daily occurrence.  He zoomed past the crossing guard last week, trailer-in-tow, as kids were crossing on the opposite side.  The guard, amazed at the car’s audacity, threw up her hands in disbelief as the junior high kids stood to the side; his daughter amongst them.  I mean, REALLY!?

The other offending vehicle, a white CRV,  appeared as I made my daily commute to work.  Today as we exited the off-ramp she cut across three lanes of traffic to get in front of me; apparently late in dropping her kids to school.  I looked closer and noted the rosary beads hanging from her rearview mirror and my photographic memory returned.  This was the mom, not a month ago, who flipped me off after cutting me off at this same intersection.  I had taken the picture as our vehicles were stopped at the traffic light as she screamed at me and I even rolled down my window to point at the toddler in the back seat and her elementary aged child in the front.  My eyes had alighted on her beads as I pointed at her children and, in deference to them, did not return the friendly middle finger wave.  So much for shared camaraderie with my fellow Catholic.  Today, I waved at her as I snapped the picture of her license plate; she apparently recognizing my vehicle, as well.

Only once before have I gone to the local police station to file a complaint.  I noted the same car parked in our cul-de-sac and committed the make, model and plate to memory.  Increased patrols came into our street and neighborhood; the car disappearing, suddenly, after weeks of noting its presence.

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Parents, notoriously, ignore the  NO LEFT TURN WHILE CHILDREN ARE PRESENT sign in our elementary school parking lot and when I complained to administration; discovered they had no jurisdiction over the matter.  But when children’s and drivers’ safety are tested, every single day, I ponder making the local trip to my sheriff’s station for increased patrols.  For one hour on a 1/4 mile stretch of road, with two administrators on each side AND a crossing guard this is still not a deterrent.

I am becoming a parent vigilante.  Tempted as I am to post license plate numbers on Facebook, Instagram or social media I am quietly considering my next course of action.  I know this will continue.   How much longer before this repeat offender Dad clips another person or vehicle?  And where is the respect and regard for the crossing guards?!

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A fellow parent shared her experiences as a crossing guard at the elementary school just across the way from our own.  Upon her first day, this August, she was amazed at aggressive parents who drove their car right where she was standing; screaming for her to move.  She immediately recognized the parent as a PTA board member at her school.  This parent continued to harass the guard to the point where she had to bring this to the principal’s attention.  Does volunteering endless hours of time at a school give you the screaming rights to make the rules fit your itinerary?  What about the other self-absorbed parents who disregard the rules of the road and etiquette so that THEIR child can enter the school gates on time while others patiently wait?

Each morning I take a deep breath as I enter the school zones.  It used to be that I would be a screaming banshee in my own vehicle or, if my children were inside, muttering under my breath.  I am reminded that each day I have the privilege of driving my sons.  Some days, like today, I need more meditative and breathing exercises than others.  On the plus side, it allows me more time for steering wheel conversations.  Today the topic: Idiot parent drivers who do not follow the rules of the road.

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