After-School Program Pick-Up Question

Updated on December 01, 2011
T.M. asks from Tampa, FL
15 answers

My DH picked up our son this afternoon since I was running late. This Program picks up our son after school and keeps him until we get off of work. The director alerted my DH to a potential issue. Apparently, my son's school is complaining to this afterschool program that they are too late picking up the kids. School gets out at 2:15 p.m., but often the afterschool program does not get there until 2:40-2:45 because of picking up at other schools. The school is saying that this is unfair to the teachers that have to monitor the kids until pick-up and that this wastes the teacher's time unnecessarily. The school is now threatening to start calling parents if the afterschool does not pick up by a certain time. I would have a HUGE problem with getting this phone call since I pay a lot of money for the pick-up service.

Frankly, I agree with the school and am bothered by this as well. This is one of the more expensive afterschool programs, so I think it is reasonable for the kids to be picked up in a timely fashion. Apparently, the school and the director of the afterschool Program are "having discussions" about this issue. I did pick the afterschool program because of their safety and security, as well as the fact that their facility is immaculate. It is by far the nicest building with the most activities in the area.

The afterschool does have more than one van. I think that the afterschool should be running 2 pick-up vehicles if there is an issue with lateness. I plan to call the director tomorrow to discuss further. What is reasonable here?

ETA: I live within walking distance from the school, so my son (who is 5) is not eligible for school bus service since we live within a mile of the school. Not that it matters since I work full-time and my child would NOT be walking home anyway. The afterschool program is probably around 3 miles from the school. I do not know how many schools that they do pick up from...

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So What Happened?

I talked to the Director of the After School Program this morning. There seems to be an ongoing tense relationship going on with the director and the school management - I really don't know the back story and history. The Afterschool Program picks up at 8 different schools and they do run both vans and split up the route. The Director has implemented a course of action to either go to the school herself every day or send one of her teachers to sit with the kids until the van arrives. I am fine with this. This should alleviate the responsibility of the teachers to stand with the kids....

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answers from Kansas City on

I think you are right - they should be running 2 vans, 3 vans, anything they have to, to pick up the kids in a timely fashion. And you are right to call the director - don't back down. You are paying for a service, you should get it.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Bloomington on

That is excessively late! I taught elementary. Kids get picked up within 10 minutes of release at the latest....otherwise they go to the afterschool program held in the cafeteria, which parents pay for. Teachers' end time is usually 10 minutes after release time. The school does not have the staff to watch X amount of kids for a FOR PROFIT business that charges parents to PICK UP kids after school.

You are paying them FOR THAT SERVICE. They need to do it or you need to walk.

I now work for a Boys and Girls Club. The kids there are picked up by a school district bus and brought to our building. Parents pay $20 a YEAR (yes, I said a year) for afterschool programming until 6 p.m. We give the kids snack, homework time, and then play time in very organized rooms with well run activities or free space. You may want to look into this as an option in your neck of the woods.

Good luck. I hope you are able to work this out....however, you shouldn't even have to be put in this situation.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I believe it is reasonable to expect your child to be picked up in a timely fashion. Up to five minutes after school is dismissed is fine, but 30 minutes is really pushing it. It's not that I really care about the teacher's time (not a big fan), but I would just worry knowing my little one is waiting that long for a ride. If the afterschool program couldn't get there on time, they should not have offered the service!

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answers from Washington DC on

If they claim to have pick-up service, they need to pick up when school lets out just like a parent would.

The school is not responsible to watch your son after 2:15. The daycare really MUST be there. Teachers are prepared to wait with kids who's parents are UNEXPECTEDLY late, not for daycare centers who fully plan to arrive 30 minutes after dismissal every day.

My son afterschool program is just across the park from his school, so they walk over rather than ride the van that gets kids from farther schools. The daycare teachers who walk them over are there waiting WHEN the dismissal bell rings! My son does not have to wait for them at all, they come and get him from his classroom!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Wow... I agree this is a major inconvenience to the teachers... you are paying for the afterschool service, but they aren't picking up your child until 30 minutes later.

I work in a local middle school, and have after school car duty once a week. I realize that the lines are long sometimes, but even so, our lines are pretty much cleared out in 15 minutes, except for the kids that are routinely picked up late. However, it is not our responsibility to continue to monitor them after 4:15. (I am sure this would be different at elementary schools, however.) School is out at 3:50. All of the teachers and paras have duty once a week, either in the morning, or afterschool for 25 minutes.

I would call the director of the afterschool program and tell them that you are extremely dissatisfied with their lack of service, and if they don't figure out how to pick the students up within what your son's school deems to be a timely manner, you will be looking for another provider.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

They should pick up your child on time. Having said that, I know that there are times that the busses are really late picking up the kids, and the teachers are pulling their hair out. Since you are paying this after school program a lot of money, they should get to school when the busses are picking up at the latest. Are there other kids that go there also? It sounds like they could lose a lot of business if they don't fix this. I agree with the school that it is unfair to the teachers. They spend all day with these kids and by the end of the day the kids are rowdy and tired and the teachers are exhausted and want to get home and get their day planned for the next day.

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answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like a business/logistics problem for the pick up program. My SD's afterschool activities were in her elementary school, so she just walked down the hall.

If you are paying good money for the child to be picked up and the child is not picked up on time, then you are not getting what you pay for. If a parent consistently left a young child for half an hour every day, the school would be on that parent's case, too. If I didn't pick up my kid from daycare on time, I'd be kicked out. Here's a question, does the program charge YOU for being late? If you were always late, you'd be getting an earful from them.

I would tell the afterschool program that you do not want to have to make other arrangements, but you agree with the school and it is unacceptable. They may be nice, but if they can't GET the kids there, then they aren't doing the right job for you and your child.

You didn't say how old/young your child is, but if you need an after school program, I'm guessing 10 and under. This doesn't seem to be a parking lot issue. This seems to be a getting TO the parking lot in the first place issue. Most schools won't let a 6 yr old (for example) wander around for half an hour, which means someone is stuck til the kid is picked up. It doesn't matter if it's not the same person. The school shouldn't be waiting every day for the van.

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answers from Boston on

It is reasonable for you to expect that the kids get picked up on time and that you get what you pay for out of the program, for yourself and your child. It is not an issue the teachers are responsible for or should have to deal with since it's not something that falls within the programming or jurisdiction of the school; it is a private after-school organization that is not funded by the school system. The administrators of the school, however, have a responsibility to make sure each child is accounted for and gets to their proper way of getting home, whether it's a parent's car, a bus, or an after school pickup van. Since the principal/assistant principal don't want to wait for 30 minutes for the van to pick your son up, they are likely delegating this to the teachers who have the kids in this program in their classes. This is, as you stated, unfair to teachers and a bad precedent to set. It's 20-30 minutes of time when the teacher is unable to plan, set up for the next day, work on curriculum, or correct kids' work. It's not your fault, it's the after school program's fault, but they call you because you are the parent. You are right to be bothered by this, and I am sure that with enough parental and school complaint, this program will have no choice than to fix the problem. It is tough for everyone for sure, so I hope things get resolved and you can keep the program for your son that you have otherwise been happy with!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You are correct, this company needs to get their act together.

School lets out at the same time all school year. You are paying a premium price to have your child picked up and taken care of. This company is not fulfilling this duty.

It is NOT the schools responsibility to care for the children after school. The teachers are usually attending meetings or parent conferences or working on their class plans, grading papers as and filling out local state and federal forms and reports.

They are NOT babysitters.

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answers from New York on

In theory I think that you are right, to me anything over 20 minutes would be unacceptable. However, I'm sure you signed some type of agreement with the program. What does it say regarding picking your child up at school? Make sure that the program is within the guidelines of the agreement.

I would talk to the other parents at your school who use the same program. See what they think and then you can talk to the Director as a group.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

It is the child care's responsibility to pick this child up on time. They should be there when he gets out of school. He's 5 for goodness sake.

Please call the school admin office in the morning and find out if the schools the van goes to have various let out times. Our elementary schools do this, one gets out at 2:50, the next at 3, then 3:10, and so on. Of course some of them do get out at the same time but they do try to keep the ones on the same side of town to the every 10 minute thing. It is for the convenience of child care facilities and for the bus system that may have to cart kids to different schools across town to Jr. high and High School.

If they do this then there is no valid reason to make a 5 yr. old wait outside for half an hour. I would let the director know I was looking for a more responsible car giver and would let everyone I know that they failed miserably.

And actually, the school should have been calling you before this so I would tell them I was upset that my child had been kept waiting all this time this year. They are just now complaining? I would be mad at them too for not alerting me as soon as the van was not there the first day and every day after that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It's reasonable that the after school pick up people pick up the children in a timely manner. When I pick up my granddaughter after school I see several programs' vans lined up at the curb.

I would tell the program that if they aren't able to pick your son up in a timely manner you will have to find a different program. A hassle I know but you can't expect the school to continue with the way it's going now.

I've not known of any school providing unpaid after school care. Just as a student is not to arrive at school 30 minutes early they are to be out of the school within 15 minutes or so.

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answers from Cleveland on

curious, how far away from your school is the after care? i know they go to others schools, i'm wondering if you aked the right way, if they could tell you if there is a hang up at different location. Maybe if they chose a different route??

Good luck this sounds like a tough problem for everyone.


answers from Tulsa on

Honestly, half an hour after school does not seem excessively late in picking up kids to me. Depending on how large the school is, sometimes you can't even get out of the parking lot in half an hour. The teachers should be rotating off after school duty, so it's not like it is the same person having to stay the extra time every day. Sounds to me like this is something the school and aftercare program need to work out. The school threatening to call parents seems like a scare tactic to get the parents to complain to the aftercare program. I don't see a problem with the pick up time.


answers from Dover on

If pick up is a service they provide then it is reasonable for them to have the children picked up within the same window that parents are expected to pick up their children. Is is possible to have the children ride the bus to the afterschool program? That is what my daughter does...she rides the bus from her school to a daycare center that is a mile from my office. It allows me to pick her up quicker than if she did the "latch key" at her school and we get home sooner w/ less running. I suggest you go ahead and speak to the director as well as the principal so you know what page they are both on.

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