Garrison youth are back to school


A young Stuttgart Elementary student returns garrison Police Chief Ruben Santiago’s high five with a hug, Aug. 26. Photo by Rick Scavetta, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

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.

The Bulldogs return to Robinson Barracks Elementary School. Photo by Carlen McGoldrick, Information Specialist, Robinson Barracks Elementary School

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.”

Signage near the veterinary clinic on the one-way street in front Patch Elementary advises motorists not to continue driving during the hours when the buses drop off or pick up children. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

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.

Patch Middle School make their way to campus on the first day of the 2019-2020 school year. Photo by Brian Pappas, USAG Stuttgart School Liaison Office

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.”

Deputy Police Chief Jacob White gives a cheerful welcome as the first students enter Patch Elementary. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

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.

Arriving Stuttgart High students are greeted by Principal Richard Renninger. Photo by Rick Scavetta, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs