WEST ALEXANDRIA — To increase safety during peak traffic times, Twin Valley Elementary School recently changed its morning student drop-off procedure.
Principal Patti Holly sent the following email to all parents and staff:
“The safety and security of our elementary community is our priority. After speaking with our School’s Resource Officer, SRO, our arrival/drop off procedure is as follows:
“Student drop off begins no earlier than 8:15 a.m. Parents should remain in their car and drop students off at the curb. Please wait for either Mrs. Bowman or Ms. Holly to give the signal to drive away. Do not pull out from the line. We will do our best to get you on your way as soon as possible. If you need to go to the office please park in the lower lot and cross with your child at the crosswalk. Do not park in the lower lot and drop off your children to walk on their own.”
At press time, Holly explained, she made the decision following drop off issues caused by the two preschool classes housed in the elementary.
“They all come and go at a different time. We used to do [drop off] this way before the preschool came. We tried to make it work with them coming at different times, but the problem was late preschoolers and parents walking through our line and things like that. We love having the preschool here, so that is not the issue, but we wanted to make sure it was safe,” she said.
She added, she had heard concerns from parents prior to the change.
Drop off has always been a line, but they had issues with parents and children walking through that line. This change was meant to eliminate that. Holly explained, people would park in the bus parking spots and walk with their children through the drop off line.
“We still allow them to walk their kids in, but they have to park in the bottom lot and walk in the crosswalk,” she said.
Another change is that Holly herself stands out front and monitors the line.
“With me standing over there, no parent is going to get out of line,” she said.
After Holly made the decision, she prepared a letter and consulted the SRO to see if he agreed. The change went into effect the week of Monday, Oct. 21, after they made the announcement to all parents, students, and staff.
While Holly expected confusion with the change, it turned out to be a smoother transition than she expected.
“We thought it was going to be crazy, but after the first few days, everybody was following the rules. It has been very successful,” she said. “We’re getting ready to, also, have the Head Start preschool go out the backdoor. That is an issue, right now, at the end of the day. We are going to change that so it is also safer.”
Holly added, they haven’t had any negative comments regarding the changes. However, they are willing to make exceptions if need be.
“The only exception is if they are handicapped or they have a child [who is injured]. We have one child who is on crutches, so her whole family walk across, but I always stop the line so they can get through,” she said. “Honestly, we would always honor certain circumstances like that.”
Ultimately, Holly feels this change will increase safety for the elementary students being dropped off in the morning.
“There won’t be kids being left off without a parent, walking through the parking lot. We are denying anyone walking their child out there, without an exception. Everybody is dropping off their child,” she said. “It’s hard to make change, I know that, but parents have been great.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH