Between 7 and 7:25 a.m., something strange happens to this normally well-behaved CHS community. A significant portion of CHS parents and students seem to lose all common sense and respect for the law when it comes time to get out of the car and walk into the school building. Parents drop off illegally in the middle of the road, leaving students to dash madly across traffic, and causing an annoying and irresponsible traffic backup on Gainsborough Road.
According to the Rockville Motor squad, CHS is the only high school in its jurisdiction that requires the assistance of policemen to help with traffic in the morning.
School leaders and members of local neighborhoods are rightly concerned with the situation. They turned to the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) for help in keeping students safe. Now MCPD sends policemen on a random schedule to help improve the traffic situation around the school. Their presence serves as a deterrent for students and parents alike who believe they are in too much of a rush to bother being safe.
The policemen should not have to come, but they do.
We have been warned before. Parents should be ticketed for dropping off students in the middle of the road. MCPD should also cite students who jaywalk between crosswalks into oncoming traffic to get the message across that this is unacceptable behavior. Two years ago, a student was hit walking across Gainsborough after a parent dropped her off in the middle of the road; she escaped with only minor injuries, but others might not be as lucky.
It is alarming that we as a community have managed to reach this point. Is it Potomac elitism, a sense that as members of an affluent community, we are above the law? Do we believe our daily tasks are too important for basic traffic laws to apply to us, regardless of the potential danger we pose to ourselves and others?
Or perhaps our bad behavior during drop offs demonstrates a sense of invulnerability. It is human nature to assume that bad things will only happen to other people.
While both of these factors are true to an extent, one reason for the morning madness is not psychological, but practical. CHS students and their parents are generally ridiculously busy people, hurdling from one activity to the next—be it work, exercise, or community service. We’re overly scheduled high-achievers without a minute to spare. We stay up late finishing schoolwork, and then we zip out the door the next morning to start all over again.
The members of our CHS community need to pause a minute in the morning, catch our breath and slow down long enough to get students into the school building safely. And if we cannot do that on our own, then MCPD will have to keep forcing us to, something no one wants.