Friday, May 21, 2010

Back to the Status Quo

It's been two and half months since the scary incident at my daughter's school when a maniac parent (in a hurry) drove up onto the curb and nearly missed hitting my daughter as she was walking into the back gate of her school in the morning. After witnessing such horror, I jumped into fast action and got a lot done insofar as taking on the dangerous and careless parents at our school. I arranged for an officer from the LAPD to come out to our next PTA meeting to talk about drop off and pick up hazards, as well as invited representatives from our city council's office and neighborhood council. I sent out a memo to all of our parents, letting them know about the close call my daughter had, and invited everyone to attend the next PTA meeting so they could learn about what they could do to help keep the daily threats under control (this memo was also a call out to the problem parents to let them know that the rest of us weren't going to be intimidated or buillied by them anymore - not that any of them would actually read the memo or show up at the PTA meeting, or any PTA meeting for that matter, because problem parents don't tend to read any news from the school or show up for parent meetings.) The LAPD was out every other day, making surprise visits and writing tickets left and right. A box was placed on the front counter of our main office so people could anonymously report repeat offenders so we could turn them in to the LAPD. Parents were informed about the LAUSD police and how they could report offenders online. It was GREAT! I was the the most loved and hated mom at the school. I went door to door, in the neighborhood, to invite our neighbors (who are also negatively impacted by the daily carelessness and rudeness of our parents) to our next PTA meeting. I blogged about it. I wrote an Op-Ed to the LA Times (not the first time, so I wasn't surprised when they didn't publish it because they don't tend to publish stuff that demeans parents in any way. It's not PC). Emails were getting passed around to other PTA presidents throughout our PTA district. People were writing me and calling me, telling me horror stories about the many close calls that they have had at their schools. They were holding me up as the great truth teller of the Public School Parents. I was a Valley folk hero! The word was out!

And then the day came: the PTA meeting. The LAPD. Representatives from city and neighborhood councils. Neighbors. Our principal. And who else? The same, small group of parents who show up for everything at our school. The loyal, hard working, selfless, quiet advocates for our neighborhood school. Where was everybody else? Where they always are: not there.

So it's back to the Status Quo. The same old, same old. The same parents picking up the slack. The same issues. The same day, day after day. And the problem parents? Nothing has changed there, either. It's just as dangerous in the mornings and afternoons as it was before. The cops are gone, so it's back to rushing, shoving, speeding, yelling, honking, double parking and dangerous U turns. Another unintended consequence of a free society: we're all free to be careless, selfish jerks.