Our Opinion: Parking issue is tough for local parents

If the Mississippi Department of Transportation has its way, parents will not be allowed to park on Hwy. 15 for afternoon school pickup.

When traveling on Hwy. 15 in Decatur, you will see parents start lining up for afternoon pickup as soon as 1 p.m. for school dismissal that won’t be until 3 p.m. They do this to get a good spot in line so that their children won’t have to wait long during the afternoon pickup line. And when you’re trying to dismiss hundreds of students, it can take more than 30 minutes for all of the children to be safely picked up. So if you don’t get a good place in line, your child might be one of the last ones picked up during the day.

This problem is not unique to Newton County. Schools across the country deal with this on a daily basis, as parents try to vie for the good spot in line.

While it isn’t necessarily safe to do that on a main road like Hwy. 15, it is generally much better than other places. It’s very fortunate that there is a generous shoulder on the side of the road for parents to park. Most cars are completely over the white line. And even if car backup spills over into a lane of traffic, there is room for vehicles to get around it, thanks to the center lane.

The ideal situation would be for the school to have an alternate driveway where parents can line up to prepare for student dismissal. This is a very costly thing, and while it is important to the safety of students, it’s also taking away money potentially from the school district that could be used on classroom instruction.

While the district works with MDOT on a permanent solution, we hope that MDOT will allow for some accommodation until the new road can be built.