Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My cruel and hateful opinions of school spending

Apparently, I have very unpopular opinions.  Like the time I posted on the city website that maybe the fire trucks shouldn't drive parade speed through residential areas at 11:00pm with lights and sirens blaring just because the baseball team got home and was accused of hating local teenagers.  (Really?! Firetrucks waking me up in the middle of the night, and I'm supposed to assume it means good news?)

So here's what I stepped in this time.  Two teenage girls were detassling when they were killed. Somehow they came into contact with an irrigator and they and several others were shocked, and the 2 girls died.  It is horrible and tragic.  And for all of the other kids there who saw it, it was undoubtedly traumatic.  I got a text message from the school that said "Due to detassling accident counseling is available at the junior high.."  An hour later I got another one that said, "Information about accident on (city website) - school has no info."  I checked the city website and it said, in part, that the school counselors were at the jr high to help any local students who may have witnessed anything horrifying.

So while I am very glad that kids from town who might have seen something are getting counseling, I really just have to wonder why it falls on the school to offer it.  And I posted that sentiment on facebook. Why does the school have to pay for counseling for these kids who saw something traumatic outside of school?  And then a holy shitstorm opened up because apparently what I said was "Fuck all these kids my tax dollars shouldn't pay for anything and they don't need counseling anyway."  Which is odd because that's not what I said at all.

A nearby town immediately set up counseling in a city building.  I applaud them.  Our town did not do that.  Our town did not call all the local therapists (I can think of one right off the top of my head) to come down to the library, and bus the kids straight there.  No, the school did it.  The same school that fired the jr high band teacher 2 years ago.  The same school that raised the price of school lunches this year.  The same school that pleads poverty if you dare ask about any advanced programs.  So I have to wonder why the school was the responsible party for this counseling.  Local churches could have done it; aren't pastors supposed to be trained as counselors?  The city could have done it.  Ideally, the goddamned detassling company should have done it since the kids were killed on their watch.  But somehow, of all the unrelated institutions, the school was left holding the bag.  And people see this as the natural order of things.

Also, just to nitpick, I really do have a problem with schools involving themselves at all with non-school-related issues.  I think it's a huge overreach when a school disciplines students for things like cyber bullying, or drinking, or even just when they involve themselves in things that have nothing to do with school.  I know a parent who got a call from her kid's principal alerting her to the fact that her daughter may be a lesbian.  Because somehow that was the principal's business at all?!

Here is my very unpopular and apparently horrible view of schools.  They should teach kids academics.  If they have extra time and resources after that, they can move on to extras like social clubs and programs.  But if they are cutting the academics, I don't think they should be doing ANY social niceties at all. And that includes offering counseling to traumatized detasslers.  The kids were students, but they weren't JUST students.  Somebody else could have carried that burden.

Now, for the record, I was told that it was all volunteer work by the counselors and that none of this cost anyone anything, so my whole original point was null and void.  I just couldn't believe how many people posted things like "You should just be glad they're getting counseling" as though I suggested they shouldn't get any help at all.  I did tell Tom, for the record, that should I die and the kids need counseling, be a fucking parent and get it for them yourself; don't wait for the school to step in.  Because seriously, if my kid saw a coworker electrocuted in front of her, I think I'd arrange for her to get help if she needed it myself. Because like I said, it's not the school's place to do it for me.  And I think that the implication that if the school didn't offer counseling to those kids then they'd never get it is just an outright insult to the parents.  Because really, you wouldn't go get your kid help unless the principal did it for you?

1 comment:

Heather said...

My opinion is the same as yours, if that makes you feel better.