To 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.