Traffic Dangers at Oak Meadows Elementary School

A Menifee 24/7 reader wrote to me about his concerns over students putting themselves in harm's way when walking to their parents' cars after school. I'm reprinting his letter here:

Hi Steve, Just a frustrated parent as well as a concerned parent regarding Oak Meadow Elementary School.

Basically, if you have a first, second, third etc. grader going to that school, are you aware that once school is out, the kids are on their own, free to leave the property and wander off wherever they want to go? According to the principal Mrs. Carpenter (formerly Ms. Chirico), "she cannot force students to stay on campus and use the pick up lane". They have a drop off/pick up lane that apparantly extends to Scott Rd. There is nobody telling these young children what they can and cannot do and apparently the principal cannot enforce anything pertaining to the children regarding this matter.

I wonder how many other parents are frustrated with the way this school is being run?
The writer also provided a copy of the response from The Principal, which I won't reprint since I don't have her permission to do so. But she effectively says there is nothing she can do. She spoke to the Murrieta Police Dept., and they can't seem to do anything.

The issue of children J-walking to get to their parent's cars is a legitimate concern. I'm not familiar with this issue, because I haven't witnessed the situation. Though, I've witnessed the madness going on at Ridgemoor Elementary when school gets out, and I agree it's a legitimate concern.

If schools should take on the added responsibility of ensuring the safety of children, before and after school, then it's going to cost money. The district will need to hire additional traffic monitors to keep kids from J-walking, as well as building facilities where kids can wait before and after school. Are we prepared to pony up some more property taxes?

Seems to me this is an issue of parents not taking responsibility for their own children. What's the solution here? Busting bad parents, or raising property taxes?




15 Comments:

  1. Hi there,

    As a future resident of Sun City I just wanted some clarification. What is the real issue of this post? Is the issue that the frustrated parent is just concerned that young children are essentially unsupervised after school lets out? (Which can be done since a kid, age 6, can walk home by themselves.) Or is the issue about picking up children safely? In that case the principal should contact the sheriff's department for assistance with maintaining safety before and after school. There is no need for property tax increase.

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  2. DPales, the Sheriff doesn't provide any assistance in Menifee/Sun City, aside from taking calls, and responding to emergencies. Once you move here, you'll notice that there is no police presence here.

    So, if you want increased law enforcement, you'll have to pony up on the property taxes.

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  3. This is the last email i sent to the principal of oak meadows elementary school. Your sending home new procedures, and once again you disappear????? kids getting in cars anywhere they want, cars going around the line, cars taking a left into pick up line, and that was just today!!!! Im really having a hard time finding fault in the Murrieta police dept and all the parents of these kids. YOU NEED TO ACT LIKE A PRINCIPAL OF YOUR SCHOOL AND DO YOUR JOB!!!! IM SURE IF YOU CANT, SOMEONE ELSE CAN!!!!!!
    It's frustrating for me to take the time to sit with you and help you with the problems your having to watch you do what needs to be done and to see complete chaos once again. your claiming you dont know whats going on does not apply this time because you sent home a memo with the updated arrival and dismissal proceedures. You wrote
    "if we all work together" o.k. that means you too.. who is to tell the kids to "wait in the designated area" when no one is there? What good is having obstacle for cars not to be able to go around if there placed so cars can go around them??? "Remain in vehicle line unless otherwise directed"..By who???? there's no one out there??????
    Who do we blame the parents??? the kids???? the murrieta police???? OR THE PRINCIPAL OF THE SCHOOL!!!!!!

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  4. What is it that makes Oak Meadows so unsafe for children that they can't be released after school? I think other schools have the same policy, and no teacher or principal deserves a public razing unless you are offering a solution. I have a first grader and 3rd grader at Ridgemoor and they leave campus after school, use the crosswalk and walk home...about 1/4 mi without supervision. Kinder kids, bus kids, daycare kids aren't released without a pickup, but 1st -5th walkers are. What makes this neighborhood so unsafe? Have you checked out Menifee Middle School lately? I'd say it's the parents in cars cause the biggest hazard.

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  8. Hi,
    Looks like, from reading the other post from Frank, is that the principal is the problem. Athough I dont know her personally and I am just getting the info from the posts here, I do know that a principal of a school can engage the police to affect the safety of students around a school site. At least it happens in the district I work for. Once police are involved (sometimes it only takes one day of citing violators) the problem can be considerably improved.
    I would have to agree with Maria as well, saying parents are usually the main hazard around a school.
    I know there is a big lack of police presence around the area. How is this problem being addressed at the sheriff's department.

    Thanks for allowing the rants, raves and questions. I still can wait to move into the neighborhood!

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  9. This has nothing to do with the kids who are walking home, this has to do with the kids that are being picked up and dropped off by thier parents. If cars are to be forming a single line and there are parents cutting around other cars in the line, the principal or someone from the school should be there telling them they cant do that! If you have a designated area where the kids need to be so that as thier parents pull up to that area, (say the 1st ten vehicles in the line)their child is then able to safely get into that vehicle, you should not have children entering the vehicles that are further down the line, for them to then drive around all the cars who are waiting in line to pick up thier children that are waiting for them where they are supposed to be. Basically, as the principal,she should make the rules and they should be followed. Lets hope Maria, that your 1st and 3rd grader are not crossing the street where there not supposed to be because technically its after school and they can do whatever they want, run between moving cars, run across the street, whatever, but if there is a designated cross walk for them to use, wouldnt it be nice to know that someone from the school would be there to tell them to use the crosswalk and make sure they do that. Because nobody thinks there kids are gonna get hit by a car leaving school in the school parking lot right!? And your right about the parents in cars causing the biggest hazards. Because they are not following the rules and nobody is there telling them to stop breaking the rules (like the principal!!!!!)

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  10. Hey Maria,
    You wrote "no teacher or principal deserves a public razing unless you are offering a solution.", Well maybe you overlooked the part that says "It's frustrating for me to take the time to sit with you and help you with the problems your having to watch you do what needs to be done and to see complete chaos once again" Does she deserve it now?

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  11. I HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE! This is the letter I sent to Mrs. Carpenter today, and I can only hope she keeps up the good work!
    The last two days have gone just the way they should!
    You say that you talk to these people till your blue in the face and they dont listen, we'll I would have to say that it appears everyone is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing! The teachers are preventing the kids who are waiting to be picked up from leaving the designated area (which is keeping the pick up line moving) The "keep moving forward" signs are placed in a fashion so that cars must stay in a single file and not drive around others cars in the line. But most importantly, school staff is out there catching parents doing what they shouldnt be doing and telling them so!
    This is all the proof you need to show that you can make these parents who are not so willing to follow the rules, follow the rules because you have made it so they have to!Dont change anything that you have done in the last two days, Be Consistent, what worked well yesterday and worked well today will work well tomorrow and the next day and the next day as long as you are consistent.
    I have heard from others that you are a good principal, before all the crowdedness at Callie you ran a tight ship. Don't not think what happened at Callie isnt going to happen at Oak Meadows, Houses are going up everywhere! Take control and maintain control.
    With the exception of the Jaywalkers, which i know is out of your control, you have done an exceptional job correcting all the concerns that have been addressed to you and for that I say Thank-You!

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  12. Since when is it the schools responsibility to make sure a child gets to their car safely? Why don't the parents take the responsibility to get out of their car and off of their cell phones and walk to the school entrance to ensure that their child is safe! Parents need to adhere to the same rules that they expect their child to. Cross at the cross walk, show respect for not cutting between cars, etc. Children only display what they are taught even when we are not watching. Like the saying goes, "A child acts in public as we act at home"

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  13. GOT PARENTS?

    I think Oak Meadows has done a great job securing the safety of our children. Haven't you noticed the numerous crossing guards and school employees directing traffic each morning? I think the concern lies with the parent who thinks they're exempt from the rules.
    Parents need to take the responsibility to get out of their car and off of their cell phones and walk to the school entrance to ensure that their child is safe! Parents need to adhere to the same rules that they expect their child to. Cross at the cross walk, show respect for not cutting between cars, etc. Children only display what they are taught, even when we are not watching.

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  14. I agree with Annette (who posted on nov.29th) it is on the parents.

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  15. Paloma Valley high school has the worst problem with traffic. South of the school students are driving up to 60mph running stop signs and residents are in a deep concern about getting hit while getting the mail. The CHP use to be around now menifee is a city now the fight starts all over again.
    If parents live south of the high school go to garbani rd. and watch
    your kids speed and wreckless driving. Sheriff needs to patrol more offten on rural roads.

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