Schools, parents and ‘lazy kids’ collide

Most mornings, Mery Green has to deal with traffic congestion in front of her son’s school, St. Timothy’s Catholic school in North York. She is one of number of parents with young children trying to navigate through traffic in school zones.

“Some days are more congested than others due to the fact that some parents have days off,” Green said.

Mery Green is an advocate of the Kiss ‘n’ Ride lane. She said that about three years ago the school St. Timothy’s, which her son attends, had traffic congestion.

“It was hard finding a parking spot. I went early. There would be a lot of parents hanging around the school which created safety issues for the children,” she said.

Sheila Dove, transportation safety officer for Catholic and public schools in Toronto, thinks children should be walking to school, not driven every day.

“It’s better for kids if they (parents) can walk with their kids to school. It gives them time to chat and connect,” Dove said. “When they (the children) are strapped in (cars), they have no time to move around. Kids need to run around so they can be in a better frame of mind for the school environment.”

She said that parents are currently more mobile and it’s easier for them to drop their children off instead of walking.

Gerald Oliver, a crossing guard near Grenoble Public School, thinks that parents spoil their children today.

“Children are kind of lazy. Some parents live right up the street and they still drive them to school,” Oliver said.

He said that sometimes other drivers get impatient because of the line up of cars dropping off children in the mornings.

To ease this problem some schools have added a lane in front of the school, a Kiss ‘n’ Ride or Drop Zone, where parents can drop their children. In this lane, the parents are supposed to watch from the car as their children go into the school. Dove likes the Kiss ‘n’ Ride lane as long as it’s not abused.

“I think it’s a good plan but not every community can support it. People need to get into it. There needs to be a stronger volunteer group to keep the By-law alive,” she said.

However, since then, the school has rebuilt the front and included a Drop Zone lane and parking spaces for parents to wait for their children, making it more convenient for divers.