Skip to Content

10 Easy Ways to Know You Don’t Belong in the School Drop Off Line

It is that time of year again, and I’m here to give you the top 10 Easy Ways to Know You Don’t Belong in the School Pickup or Dropoff line!

My unofficial, unsolicited, and brutally honest breakdown of the pickup/drop off system. 

This post brought to you by literal YEARS of mentally cursing people out, and complete and utter astonishment at the level of self-centeredness and selfishness that goes into some of these behaviors. I’ve had kids in school for only 7 years now, but we’ve been at 4 different elementary schools in two different states, and the ONE thing that they all have in common?

There are a handful of selfish  jerks parents at every single school that wreck the pick up and drop off experience for everyone.

You guys – it isn’t a hard concept.

Just be aware and courteous of those that are around you, and especially behind you.

The line can be a smooth, fast, amazing lesson in efficiency. We have amazing teachers and our school’s principal even comes out daily to help load and unload kids into vehicles. They are all great. And patient. They know ALL of our cars.

They tell the kids which spot to go to so that they’re all waiting when the 4 or 5 cars pull up to the curb so they can just hop in. Then all 4-5 cars can just all pull away. In unison. Making the line purr like a super friendly kitten. In theory anyway.

But no.

You show up. Screwing up the entire system. I’ve seen it in beat up El Caminos and I’ve seen it in tricked out Escalades. The kind or class of car does not predict the level of helicoptery housed inside that vehicle.

  • You don’t pull up all the way, causing the curb to only fit 2-3 cars.
  • You wait in the 4th spot for your 3rd kid to get there LONG after everyone else has left, and refuse for some reason unknown to pull up into the 1st position. Why? Will the teachers forget? Are you afraid your kid will come out and see your car moving and panic because you are leaving them? Do you know what the solution to that is? Lock the doors and pull away more slowly while laughing hysterically because DUH. You’d never leave your kid, and soon they’ll know it.
  • You get out and help with jackets or book bags or shoe tying.
  • You sit and wait. And wait. And WAIT for that little person you created to get all the way inside the doors. When you pick up you wait until the seatbelts are FULLY BUCKLED before starting to pull away. Just no. Do some buckle/unbuckle drills, man. For the love of sanity. Kids above kindergarten should be able to buckle or unbuckle their seatbelt in less than 10 seconds.
  • You sit and talk. And wave. And smile, and talk some more. Save the after school chit-chat for after you GET OUT OF MY WAY SO I CAN GET OUT OF THIS LINE THAT TORTURES MY LIFE.

Why you patently refuse to use one of those amazing parking spaces the school so kindly provides so you can take ALL THE TIME YOU NEED hugging and kissing and checking homework and lunches and giving pep talks and spit shines and reminding them to look both ways and stay away from strangers, I’ll never know.

Is it because you’d have to then walk across the very small parking lot?

Reverse is too much trouble?

Your little pumpkin would have a few steps further to go?

You’re afraid little Johnny would cling on like a tiny leech and never let go and beg to go back home with you where you can never remove your eyes from them?

I know it isn’t because you are afraid someone might see your jammies if you stay too long and park and have to walk yourself up to the school, because we’ve all seen them, and they are pretty sweet, even if it is 3pm.

(Hi teachers! 🙂 I’m sure you’ve loved my pjs too during school pickup (and occasionally drop off. Shhhh. Don’t tell. Yoga pants are now considered day wear)! Heeeeey! Working from home has to have SOME benefits, right? I was dressed for conferences. Thank your lucky stars.)

I’m sure some of you are asking right now, “Well, if she thinks I’m SO inconvenient and can’t even wait an extra 5 minutes while I get Suzie’s hair fixed, why don’t her kids just TAKE THE BUS?”

That’s a good question, actually, and one I’ve tried to jump on board with myself, but I just can’t. The bus. Just no. (2016 Update: I had enough of the pick up line. They all ride the bus home.  😯 )



You all have given your 3rd graders unrestricted data-enabled smart phones now, and do you even KNOW what those little hellions darlings are doing in the back of the bus with those smart phones? I don’t. And I don’t want to, and I don’t want my kids to know either. There’s more than enough time for that business, and elementary school ain’t it. LOCK DOWN YOUR KIDS’ BROWSERS, people. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

The drop off line should be a super easy, natural, common sense, amazing experience.

It should be coffee sipping and parents doing the car style happy dance because they get another glorious day of freedom knowing their children are learning and growing and enriching the lives of others around them. We should be high fiving from our car windows all the amazing people who take some much time and effort and pour them into our kids’ minds and lives.


It’s so common sense, but the hatred of the experience is so universal that I had to speak up.

I officially declare this month and every month NATIONAL DON’T BE A JERK IN THE DROP OFF LINE month.

Spread the word. Share, share, share, share. Heck, I’ve heard tales of this being printed out and passed out at PTA meetings in some places. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far with it, but hey – you do you.



My new friend Jenny on the Spot posted a video about this last week that’s going viral! Check it out!

I’m not always ranting about drop offs and pick ups. Usually I’m posting recipes! Check out some of my favorites:

Pork Tenderloin Sliders

King's Hawaiian Pork Sliders-5

Caramel Filled Brownies

Caramel Filled Brownies are made from scratch, require no mixer, and are the perfect balance between a fudgey and cakey brownie.

Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Browned Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars - its a mouthful, but in such a great way!

Beef & Wild Rice Stuffed Zucchini

Flavorful and unique stuffed zucchini dinner filled with orzo, wild rice, and beef.

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

Suzanne Badillo

Friday 16th of March 2018

"Can't you take a joke?" is the refuge of the bully.

I will assume you meant "conflicted" and not "convicted." I’m not being the autocorrect police, but it seems a good means of pointing out that even the best-intentioned attempts at levity can go sideways somewhere along the line.

You declared my language dramatic, yet I'm trying to conjure a situation where calling other parents' children snowflakes is not dramatic and intended to injure that parents' feelings. And that sentiment is mean and small. I don’t think you are a mean or a small person. You’ve put all this effort and love into making a years long blog full of information you want to share with complete strangers.

It appears that several people have reached out to you in non-aggressive ways to attempt to kindly explain how your screed was understood by them. In return, you (and your other posters), ridiculed them, accused them of being the people who make the errors that anger you and dismissed their comments with “can’t you take a joke?” It feels very middle school. It seems very defensive.

I’m also a writer and I understand that there are always cranks and people who intentionally misinterpret your words in order to feel the self-righteous adrenaline of having taken offense. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. It appears that you’ve been fighting the “is this funny or mean?” battle for a couple of years.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate this particular post? Do you want these sentiments (which have not even the most tenuous relationship to recipes) do be part of your brand? Someone searches for recipes from a Christian family woman and they stumble across this post, which is neither food related nor particularly Christian in sentiment.

That meme is the thing that will always stick with me about your blog. With Plain Chicken it’s those delicious cornflake peanut butter cookies. With Kitchn it’s the overnight yeasted waffles. With Chocolate and Zucchini it’s the Liege waffles recipe (yeah, waffles are a thing).

I wish you continued success with your blog.

Suzanne Badillo

Wednesday 14th of March 2018

I have been experiencing similar thoughts and frustrations at my first grader's school drop off. I didn't realize how unkind they were until someone shared your meme with me.

I try to practice not being judgmental, giving others the benefit of the doubt, understanding they are also trying to come from a place of goodness, and accepting our individual human frailties and failings with grace, always.

So, congratulations on making me see how terrible I've been. No parent or child should feel like they "don't belong" in any school zone. No one should call other people's children "snowflakes" with sarcasm and the intent to injure. I can't believe you simultaneously quote Corinthians and publish such a mean spirited, ill intentioned and hurtful meme.

Please rethink your position on leaving this post up. I've found that when you write something broad intending to hurt one person or group of people, you end up accidentally hurting many others, including some you may really care about. But for this message, no one should feel they are being rebuked except for the author. Really, rethink this piece and meme.

Nicole Johnson

Wednesday 14th of March 2018

I'm of the opinion that there's room for some levity and sarcasm in even the most serious of situations. ;) If you felt convicted by your emotions around this, I'm afraid I can't really help you there. I am pretty comfortable here on my slightly snarky, jestful bench, but I appreciate your concern. "Intent to injure" is pretty dramatic, and not at all the point of this post.

Beth Telleria

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

In short (yes, I know it’s pretty obvious by now I don’t know how to say anything concisely): * this is directed at the people that DELIBERATELY and REPEATEDLY do whatever the heck they want to because they’re more important than the rest of us and screw up the entire system (believe me, we know who does it day after day, these are the frustrating ones) * this is NOT directed at the people that only “mess up” occasionally (we know you aren’t one of the deliberate jerks, we have patience and grace for you) * simply put, the concept and purpose of the drop off and pick up lanes is to drop off and pick up in a quick and efficient manner. If you want or require additional time, time that slows down the whole system, please use a parking stall. Simple. * this was a truthful and HILARIOUS post cathartically dealing with a frustrating topic, very well done, Nicole. * I can tell by this post and by the mature, respectful way she dealt with people who should use said parking stalls, Nicole is EXACTLY the sort of mom I’d want in my classroom, or at my school in general. A funny, loving, REAL, hard working woman who cares about more than just herself. I’d count myself truly blessed if she were my friend.


Tuesday 5th of September 2017

I love this post. This has been my pet peeve since my oldest was in kindergarten. It's such a simple system and it works of parents we're considerate of others. Unfortunately this happened in both elementary and middle schools. Seems better at the high school but the school year Just started. ? Happy to have found your site, now going to check out the recipes ????


Monday 4th of September 2017

Nicole, I entering my 20th year as a special education teacher, and have dealt with the hell that is traffic duty.

If you chose to write this piece actually using "humor", it could have been pretty amusing. However, it's not funny. It's insulting and rude. When I'm standing in torrential rain and someone takes a little too long to drop off their child, it bothers me a lot less than the jackass in the SUV swearing at me, honking, threatening me, because they are running late. Why don't those of you who are so important that you lose it if you have to wait park and walk your child up to the school.

It's also really lovely the way you insult not only the parents, but the children too. I have a student with cerebral palsy. It will always take him longer to get out of the car....but I guess he should be excluded from the drop off line so that you aren't inconvenienced. I've also had children with terminal illnesses. If that mom wants to watch her child get into the school on the rare occasions that they are well enough to attend, why deprive her of that?

I know people like you, and I'm sure nothing I say will matter to you..... I hope you are able to keep your nasty comments to yourself when your children are around, I'm guessing, no.

You are the parent teachers do not like to encounter.

Beth Telleria

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

Oh, and Ryan, I hate to say it, but yes, if your child has a disability that requires more than 30 seconds to get out of the car, the parking stalls are for you. That’s how the system is designed to work. You even have special parking spaces closer to doors than anyone else, so use them. I honestly don’t mean to offend by saying that, several of my close friends have children with disabilities, and they would agree. Needing extra time to get in or out of the vehicle goes against the entire CONCEPT of said line. All Nicole is saying - which there’s nothing wrong with - is that if you need more time or want to watch your kids walk in, fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, just go use a parking stall. Simple. The pick up and drop off lanes are for people to, essentially, keep moving. (Yes, you come to a complete stop to let kids in and out, I’m talking about the general concept, like a round-about, keep it quick). You know, on freeways if people followed a similar sort of thinking, there would be a lot less road rage. Just imagine, slow traffic ACTUALLY keeping right. Here’s a rule of thumb, if you want to drive the exact same speed as the person to your right, move over into their lane. The left-hand lanes are for people who want to go a tad faster, not speeding in an unsafe manner, but maybe perhaps 5 miles over the speed limit, which is not a huge deal. But I digress, same thing with the pick up and drop off lanes, their PURPOSE is to QUICKLY pick up or drop off. If you like or require more time, go park. It’s sooooo simple, and that’s all she saying. She’s not trying to insult anyone, just stating the OBVIOUS, which apparently isn’t so obvious unfortunately. Not to mention, anyone with even a mile concept of humor could see she’s saying it in a funny way.

Beth Telleria

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

Ryan, I’m also the one on traffic duty, standing out in the pouring rain dealing with this every single day. And I 100% agree with Nicole, so shut it. This was completely accurate AND hilarious. It was completely filled with humor. You, clearly, are not.

Nicole Johnson

Monday 4th of September 2017

We will have to agree to disagree. Many of the teachers at the school we go to are big fans of this particular post.

And I promise, I'm not the one honking and swearing. ;)

As with all things, sometimes humor can be slightly offensive even when *gasp* children are involved, and overall - that's okay. I'm pretty comfortable with the line I've personally drawn, and how I actually conduct myself in the day-to-day, and I'm sure you are as well.

You don't have to like my brand of humor, or venting, or any of this. That's the magic of having your very own website. You get to write whatever you want. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I wish you all the best, and all the patience you need to get through another tough year of teaching!