Hassle or a Help? Cedar Rapids School Starts New Dismissal Procedure

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Grant Elementary School has started a new way to dismiss kids. Some called it safer. Others said it's an annoyance.

Here's how it works. After buses depart around 3:40 in the afternoon, parents form two lines of traffic in front of the school. Then, staff members ask parents who they're picking up and escort students to vehicles.

The Cedar Rapids School District said the school made the change for safety reasons after Grant added grades and more than doubled the size of its student body last year-- 160 to 385 kids.

"We had kids that were walking between buses and cars as they were leaving. We had lots of cars that were stuck behind buses... We had several parents say, 'I almost got hit today'," said Executive Director for PK-8th Val Dolezal.

Some parents and guardians called the new process a great idea and said it doubles as a predator deterrent. "I don't have to worry about her getting picked up by somebody that would kidnap her," said Rosetta Pfeifle, a daycare provider.

But is the method more hassle than help? Some had concerns.

"They're going to have to do something about the congestion they're going to have out on J Street. I want to go left and with the congestion you can't go left," said Grandfather Jim Jacobus.

Others said pick-ups are taking a long time. "The second day it took 25 minutes. I had time, but some days we don't have time," said Mother Mary Jo Huston.

The district said a lot of the issues are kinks that will be worked out as the process gets more familiar. They expect less congestion and faster loading with time.

"Yesterday was probably 10 minutes faster than the day before. So it's just going to get better and better as time goes on," Dolezal said.

In fact, many said it already has.

"We just have to have patience and once the kids recognize their parent's cars it'll go smooth," Huston said.

This new method is based off one Hoover elementary has been using for a while now. Parents who don't want to partake can park off school grounds and have students walk to them.
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