Closing schools because of the cold is pitiful – but not for the reasons you might think.

CommonGround_2012-54To those who think that the Shelby County Schools’ decision to close Tuesday because temperatures will be in the teens was a crappy decision that coddles kids, I offer this memory from one of the first chilly days in December 2012.

Some Common Ground volunteers and I were in the teacher’s lounge at South Park Elementary School in Memphis. We were sorting winter coats, hats and gloves we’d bought for kids in need.
A teacher walked through, saw the mounds of Old Navy puffy jackets and stopped right in her tracks. What we were doing? she wanted to know.

I told her. Her eyes got big and the words tumbled out.
OMG, she said, one of her special ed students came to school that day wearing only a windbreaker. He was being raised by his grandmother, who was doing the best she could, God bless her, but did we have a coat for him?

We did. A little Latina and her sister beamed like it was Christmas and they’d won the lottery (like on the SAME day) when we zipped them into coats.

It is difficult for me to remember these kids, their need and their gratitude and at the same time, sneer at the decision made to protect children like them.

*written here because otherwise I was going to go the HELL off on some Facebook “friends’” whiny posts about school closings in which they unleashed the typical blame-the-poor, public-schools-suck drivel.


13 thoughts on “Closing schools because of the cold is pitiful – but not for the reasons you might think.

  1. as a public health nurse who makes home visits everyday, i can tell you the cold is a small price to pay for what they get at school compared to what they get at home, starting w/ (semi)-nutritious food.

  2. On another note, I agree with this blog and also like to point out how many California-hating friends I have who think public schools in CA suck, we pay too many taxes, etc (opinions are fine) but who then complain and moan about the negative degree weather they experience and how many “snow days” they had to have. Ummm…?? LOL.

  3. You’re very kind. This has all come together so quickly that the details may be a little rough. Might be better for you to bring them to the YWCA (the collection site, 766 S. Highland, and not far from the school at all) than to the school. Don’t want to create more work for the overworked staff there. Just a thought. WCT

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