Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

We saw the sun yesterday! YAY! Today, in a massive overreaction, school was cancelled across the state of Rhode Island in anticipation of a storm that isn't expected to really arrive until 2 p.m. Umm, okay. Why the overreaction? Last December, a mid-day snow storm hit with unexpected fury, leaving scores of Providence school children stranded on buses until as late as 11 p.m. So now we overreact and cancel school even when it's not necessary. They could've gotten in a half day today rather than having an extra day tacked on in June.

Neither of my kids nor my good friend who teaches Grade 6 were pleased by this cancellation. You see, the last day before Christmas vacation is FUN. Everyone is in a festive mood, the teachers can wear jeans, no real work gets done, there are treats and snacks and movies and parties. Jake's Grade 4 breakfast was scuttled, Emily's Grade 8 dessert exchange cancelled. They were not happy! Our superintendent all but admitted in her note to parents that she did not agree with this but had basically been told to do by the RI Emergency Management Agency. In other words, if she didn't do it and something happened, she wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

The same thing happened after the devastating nightclub fire in 2003. Granted, major changes were needed, but the extreme upgrades required to fire prevention systems has shut down many a business. The cost to add sprinkler systems to existing buildings is staggering. This week we heard recommendations that one of the elementary schools in our town needs to be closed. Apparently, the cost of installing the sprinkler system in the existing school would be more than the price to build a new one. Yikes!

I'm all for safety. My kids would tell you I'm obsessed with their safety. But sometimes we can take it too far. My kids should be in school today. Instead, their 15-day vacation just became 16 days.

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