Thursday, February 3, 2011

Should I have said something?

Every other afternoon I spend the last 20 minutes of my day at our Kiss & Ride. As a kindergarten teacher, I need to make sure that each of my kiddos, and my neighbor-teacher's kiddos get in the correct car.

There are many problems with our Kiss & Ride operation, the biggest being that there are too many parents picking up their kids. The line is long, parents are grumpy, the staff is grumpy and the language barrier often presents problems.

Today, as a car was waiting for a student, I saw a mom in the backseat holding her infant baby in her lap. No seat belt. The student hopped in the back and as I pointed it out to a colleague, the car drove off.

The roads are covered in snow and ice, accidents happen all the time, and this family made the decision that holding an infant on a lap in the backseat was a good choice.

Maybe I should give them credit, at least the mother wasn't in the front seat like colleagues have seen before, but come on, not only is that dumb and unsafe, it's illegal.

I suppose I should check in with my administration and ask if we should report that. If not report, do I say something? "Excuse me sir? I hope you know that it's against the law for a child to be in the car without a car seat?"

Car seats cost money, trust me, I get that. But this isn't one of those optional expenses is it? I know our Parent Center helps out with things like that, and I can only assume there are other organizations that do as well... right?

I know our students go without seat belts on a regular basis, I have unfortunately seen it and my pleas go unheard, but an infant? I can't get past that.


Lisa said...

I think I would have. Technically the lack of a car seat constitutes neglect...and really, how awful would you feel if something had happened. Thank goodness nothing did.
It is a tough call though!

jwg said...

anesAround here CPS won't take the report. They'd probably have to double the staff if they did. They suggest you call the cops and give them the licence plate number and the direction they are headed. Before I'd do that I'd have a talk with the parent and offer resources along with a stern warning.

organized chaos said...

I've said something to parents about that before. In fact, years ago I picked up the baby (I knew the family) and then kept them there while I explained that they needed a car seat. It's always awkward, but a lot of our parents don't know the US laws, so I try to look at it as though we are educating the parents, not scolding them. If it happens again... then it's scolding.
I think we may have car seats in the parent center too, so if the family can't get one we could probably find one for them.

Angela said...

If the parents don't know the laws in this country, then yes, maybe politely point it out. But I gave up years ago on telling parents how to parent. And if this isn't one of your students, it's probably not a battle worth fighting. Super-supportive admin would change my perspective on this, but in most schools I've been in, the parent is likely to cuss and holler if you try to tell them how to take care of their kids, and principals will side with the parent to keep them happy. Say a little prayer for the baby in her lap and go about your day. :-(