In our little town, there are five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Most of these schools are pretty darned old. One night last week, around eight in the evening, 7-8000 lbs. of ceiling fell into a third floor classroom in one of the oldest elementary schools.
An emergency meeting for the town was held by the schoolboard early this week. Two friends of mine told me about this meeting and it was not good. School is scheduled to begin September 11th (yeah, bummer of a date) but may have to be put off several weeks. This brings up the possibility of losing all three one week vacations (Christmas, Winter and Spring breaks) and numerous long weekends. Planned vacations will be devastated for faculty and students’ families alike.
There is talk of half sessions but this is a town of working parents who would have to find childcare for that extra half day. We are a small enough town that we have no bussing except for the special ed. students. If a snow storm comes in while school is in session the schools never close. (A bit tooo accomodating for working parents? Maybe.)
Tempers are flaring all around. Bells and I had breakfast in the Cafe yesterday at the same time as the Board of Education crew. "People are saying it was a good thing there weren’t any kids in the classroom when it happened. Well, there were people painting that classroom that day!" Of course the first thought is for the children but I agreed with him that we have to think of everyone involved.
My son goes to the high school. There is no good reason that I can think of that the middle school and high school shouldn’t start on time and that the school that is being repaired can’t have half day sessions along with another elementary school (all elementary schools are at capacity enrollment). I know it will be difficult but it just doesn’t seem right or efficient to disrupt the entire school system because of this near calamity!
I know this may sound harsh but there are activities in the upper grades that students will never be able to experience again if school doesn’t start on time. Pep rallies and football games. Social, service and academic clubs. This is just to name a few.
What happened in one elementary school is terrible but, thankfully, not tragic. Parents have the right to be up in arms. Is this any reason to punish the rest of the students? I would welcome your thoughts.