Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calamity Days: Are we raising soft kids?

Most of the nation is in calamity day central.  This morning it was -10.8 F.  Now that is cold!  Add a windchill warning that is over at noon TOMORROW and we'll just say, the nose hairs are sticking together rather efficiently when breathing in through the nostrils while outside.

I have to ask though, are we raising soft children?

The first days of January gave us three days off in a row.  The first two days were beyond cold.  We were at -12 F.  I get it.  Too cold to go out.  On the third day, many school districts were out not because of the cold specifically, but because the buses wouldn't start.  Now, I'm thinking that if buses hadn't been started in over 2 weeks that someone would have the forethought to go start them BEFORE school was due back in session that next day.  Alas, they did not and that error chopped off another calamity day.

We didn't have school Friday.  They said it was cold and while it was cold, it wasn't non-functional.  We had no school yesterday.  When I went to work, it was 30 degrees.  It started lowering, but by the time the kids would have gotten out of school, it was still 20.  (Yes, I know.  Add a windchill reading to that.)  At any rate, in our area, these kids could have gone to school those two days.

Our children haven't been to school for a full week since the week before Christmas break started.

I was speaking to the retired principal of K's elementary.  I told him that I thought we were raising soft kids and he agreed.  When we went to school, we went regardless.

There was snow to my waist and we went.  We didn't call off unless the city that I'm currently living in called off and they never called off.  If they called off, you knew that it was a don't-leave-your-house day.  Throw whatever you have in a pot for soup and hope for the best.

If it was cold, you just put on more layers.

I remember being on 2 hour delay once because we had an ice storm while the leaves were still on the trees.  Much of the city was without power, but we still went to school.

Even Kent State didn't call off when we had a shooter running around.  They also didn't call off when it was -25 F (-50 F with windchill.)  They delayed classes.  You know what?  We survived it.

The suburbs have busing.  The kids go from their house to the bus to the building.  They have very little outdoor exposure.  25% of our kids are bussed.  Very few kids walk.  (We don't when it is this cold.)  Most are driven to school in warm cars and dropped within 15 - 20 feet from the door to a geothermal heated building.

We went to school in the heat.  It was hot and we weren't allowed to wear sandals or flip flops or shorts.  The windows were opened and the janitor mowed the lawn as you were trying to learn.  We survived, yet there are times that schools are closed because the AC is out.

Now obviously, there are different conditions for everything.  Acceptable road conditions for NE Ohio are different than in Williamsburg.  Acceptable cold is different in NE Ohio than it is in Georgia.

It just seems that the schools are bowing to the worry that they will be sued by parents who are afraid that their kids might get a little cold or a little sweaty.

Use calamity days.  Use them when needed.  Use weather forecasts.  However, be reasonable with it. At this rate, our kids will be in school until July.

ETA:  We have tomorrow off, too.  Right now at 8:30 PM, it is - 1.5 F and it is only getting colder.


ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

As a fellow Ohioan, I totally agree!! It's winter in Ohio. We get cold and snow. Todays -11 might have warranted a calamity day, but Friday was not that cold and yesterday it was 12 here. YES, we are raising soft kids. And I think it is because of our litigious society. I drive the boys. I drop them off almost right at the door and they are outside at pick up no longer that 3-4 minutes max. I'm the one standing outside longer than they are waiting for them to be dismissed. This is starting to borderline on the ridiculous.

Heidi Castro said...

I taught with a teacher from New York, she would always say that if NY called off school for the ice we have here, they'd never have school! :)
Some schools are calling off school in our state just because the heating costs are too high when temps drop below zero for so long (not our schools, but about an hour away). Hurry up Spring!!