from the desk of the publisher

Experiencing School Daze

Summer (heat) has arrived. Temperatures teasing the 100-degree mark reminded us all too well that Southern California indeed has seasons, even if summer is the only one that can easily be identified. Thinking over the past weeks and the overall mild summer temperatures, it would be cruel to send our kids back to school in these scorching conditions. The good news is that, as of Wednesday, the 10-day forecast predicts that temperatures will decrease by 10 degrees before Monday offering our students more reasonable conditions as they return to the classrooms.

While our children get the chance to keep their cool, another segment of the local population needs to avoid becoming a hot head – that would be our drivers. Because the start of a new school year means traffic.

Anyone who has lived up here for any length of time knows that when school is in session, the number of cars on the road increases ten-fold (maybe a hundred-fold – it sure seems like it). You might think that the daily 9-to-5ers would be the ones to lose their cool as they experience lines of cars at traffic signals that just a week ago were nearly empty. But surprisingly, it’s parents that can be seen driving erratically, dropping their kids off almost randomly in relation to the school’s location.

Unlike many of the elementary schools, neither Rosemont Middle School nor Crescenta Valley High School have crossing guards, a situation that breeds impatience as you try and figure out when you can drive down the road. It also creates a situation of confusion for the student pedestrians who have to try and figure how to get to the other side of the street. Mary O’Keefe has reported on more than one incident when a child was struck as he or she attempted to cross the street – sometimes in a crosswalk.

Crescenta Valley High is particularly maddening because many of the kids are driving and after parking their car, are walking to school, crossing the road every which way, many times totally oblivious to drivers.

Regardless of these irritations, no one wants to hit a kid. It is the responsibility of every driver to be aware that these traffic hazards are on the horizon and to be mentally prepared for delays. And before anyone thinks I’m holier-than-thou, let me just step right up and say that when I was driving the boys to school (at one time, because of their ages, to three different schools), I was a cranky driver. I tried every configuration to bypass traffic (I came up with no clear solution), I have screamed at the driver in front of me and, more than once, I actually pounded my head on the steering wheel. So I get the frustration factor.

I found that just by leaving the house earlier, I didn’t feel I was trying to beat the clock and my frustration decreased noticeably. Of course, stay off the phone and don’t text while driving – during the school year, road conditions change even faster than at other times.

So, enjoy the cooler temps – chill out while driving – and I’ll wave to you as we wait at the traffic light.

from the desk of the publisher