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The Traffic Is Terrific

Some+members+of+The+Benjamin+community+feel+the+pick-up+lines+are+too+long+and+inefficient%2C+but+the%0Afaculty+and+administration+say+otherwise%2C+citing+the+fact+that+each+dot+usually+dismisses+students+%0Ain+under+eight+minutes.+
Some members of The Benjamin community feel the pick-up lines are too long and inefficient, but the
faculty and administration say otherwise, citing the fact that each dot usually dismisses students 
in under eight minutes.

Some members of The Benjamin community feel the pick-up lines are too long and inefficient, but the faculty and administration say otherwise, citing the fact that each dot usually dismisses students in under eight minutes.

Nicholas Crisafi/Advisor

Nicholas Crisafi/Advisor

Some members of The Benjamin community feel the pick-up lines are too long and inefficient, but the faculty and administration say otherwise, citing the fact that each dot usually dismisses students in under eight minutes.

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When it’s break you want to put your stuff away, have a snack, and relax for 10 minutes, but you can’t because you can’t get to your locker without pushing and shoving. Last year in sixth grade, after trying to maneuver through the crowded, chaotic hallway, I finally reached my locker only to have my neighbor’s locker door clock me in the head. I ended up with a huge bump and a trip to the nurse, but I’m surprised such injuries don’t happen more often with how crazy the hallways are between every other period.

According to Student Council Advisor Mrs. Corey, when she worked in public schools, the teachers had to stand outside their classrooms doors to monitor the students in the hallways. However, although that’s also the policy here at Benjamin, it rarely seems to happen. There are teachers, though, such as Ms. Pena, who do regularly monitor the hallways. “Mainly, I stand outside for safety reasons,” she says. “But, my favorite part is talking to the students as they come through the hallway for class.”
Eighth grader Cara Shapiro agrees that the time spent between classes is too hectic in the hallways.

The seventh-grade hallway, pictured here, can be hard to navigate through according to some students.

The seventh-grade hallway, pictured here, can be hard to navigate through according to some students.

Not only does she hate having to go to her locker, but she also says the hallways need to be “bigger because everyone is dropping everything on each other and nobody can get through to anything.” I agree with Cara – the hallways should be bigger. Can’t the school make the hallways wider? This may take away some classroom space, but it’s in the name of student safety! And, although this campus is not as large as the Upper School Campus, we still have unused space available. For example, there is the outdoor corridor that extends from the math building to the gym. Couldn’t some lockers at least be placed there? In fact, the only traffic that may be worse than the students in the hallways are the cars in line at dismissal each day. Speaking of dismissal, can’t something be done to improve the situation there as well?

There are several areas where parents pick up their children in the Middle School: Polka Dot for sixth grade, Blue Dot for seventh grade, and Red Dot for eighth-grade. However, even with these separate areas around campus, it still seems to take a long time for students to get to their cars and then for the cars to leave campus.
“I think that maybe there should be two possible dots [for seventh-grade pick up] because it’s way too crowded and there is a traffic jam all the way down to Polka Dot,” complained seventh grader Maddy Tighe. “I think [pick up] is pretty unorganized and not very well thought out,” added sixth grader Josie Austin. “I think we should have it more organized than all jammed up and you can’t get through.”

Yet, it’s really the parents who have to wait in line for their children to arrive and then sit in traffic until the cars ahead of them are able to leave campus. Some of them are not happy about the pick-up situation either. “I don’t like the middle school pickup madness,” complains an anonymous parent of a seventh grader. “It often goes very slow [sic] and traffic gets backed up on Ellison Wilson. I think it can be dangerous and they should have more faculty members out there standing in between lanes for safety. I also feel that if someone is at the front of the line for more than a few minutes and their [sic] child hasn’t come out yet, then they should drive around rather than hold up the entire line.”

Middle School Spanish and science teacher Mrs. Sukhu works at blue dot and defends the way dismissal is run. “I would say that [the parents] should be more patient. The seventh-grade pick up is over by about 3:28 everyday. So, they may have to wait eight or nine minutes at the most. We want the students to get into their cars once they have pulled all the way forward. Some parents don’t like to wait for all the cars to pull up or for their children to walk to the front before they get in, but they need to follow the rules for the safety of all the children.”

While some teachers agree that dismissal can be a bit of a wait, Middle School Science Department Chair Ms. St. Martin insists, like Mrs. Sukhu, that the most important aspect is the safety of the students. “I agree that dismissal sometimes goes slowly; however, the main purpose is to get the kids in their cars in as safe a manner as possible,” she responded. “Having said that, I agree that if a student is not ready to load when the parents pull up, the parents should be asked to drive around rather than holding up the line. That is our policy at sixth-grade pickup.”

Mr. Hagy also believes that dismissal is run efficiently and cites the fact that there is security present at each dot in the afternoons. “We do have security directing traffic every day, and an administrator, usually me, will come out on high volume days, such as Friday,” he stated. “Parents aren’t allowed to line up until dismissal time – 3:20 p.m. If they come earlier, lines will form; however, our dismissal times at seventh grade are under ten minutes. Typically, it takes on average around six to eight minutes to dismiss the 250 middle school students. Other dots are the same. This is very good for our size school and location.”

Mr. Hagy further states that student safety is top priority. “There are consistent guidelines – students are monitored or escorted to cars,” he said. Each dot is different, so procedures may differ depending on location. Student safety is our most important concern. For this reason, we post more teachers on difficult days, such as rainy ones. Three teachers per grade level are posted most days.”

Even though it is difficult waiting in line to go home, or waiting to go to your locker it prepares us for life. You see, part of life requires us to learn patience and to tolerate waiting in lines, whether we are shopping, going to concerts, or going on roller coasters. Perhaps students and parents need to view this as a lesson. On the other hand, we can still try to change some of these issues. While the school is correct in caring about student safety, they still should look into creating neater hallways and shorter dismissal lines. After all, we are The Benjamin School, and as Buccaneers, we should always strive for excellence!

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The Traffic Is Terrific