By John Reese
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
Students of the five Department of Defense Education Activity schools in the USAG Stuttgart footprint began the 2019-2020 school year, Aug. 26 (Kindergarten began a few days later).
The morning began as a trickle as the first bus and students on foot, many accompanied by parents, made their way to their schools. By 7:30 the trickle had become a flood as students arrived by bus, car or on foot. As the hundreds of kids flowed onto their respective campuses, they were greeted with high fives and new pencils by Military Police, garrison police and members of the USAG Stuttgart Fire Department. Principals, teachers and school administrators were present, welcoming students as they filed in.
At Patch Elementary, a couple of motorists tried to drive past the front of the school where the buses were off-loading.
“We have kids actually crossing the street in front of Patch Elementary, and we don’t want any cars to be driving by in case the kids walk out in front of the busses into traffic,” said Deputy Chief Jacob White, USAG Stuttgart Police Department. “The road is actually closed during school hours when the busses are loading and off-loading; that’s the reason the MP patrols are here.”
One Stuttgart parent shared an amusing, yet pointed, commentary about the use of the drop-off parking at Stuttgart Elementary, Stuttgart High and Patch Middle Schools: “Only the people who raised their kids to jump out of the car with backpacks loaded like they are storming the beaches of Normandy while the car is at a slow roll are allowed in the drop off line.” Obviously, stop the car first for safety before passengers exit, and use of the drop off line as intended and don’t linger as a courtesy to all of the vehicles that follow.
Overall, the first morning of school went very well, said PES’ retired 1st Sgt. James Terrell, known to the children as “Mr. T.” Terrell checked and double checked all of the buses arriving.
“We caught a wrong bus that had to be redirected to the high school,” Terrell said. “The school bus office gave us a list of all the buses that were supposed to come in. We realized that one of them wasn’t supposed to be here, so we sent it on to Stuttgart High.”
First day traffic was better than previous years, with the MPs out in force to ensure vehicles kept moving and children could safely cross at key intersections.