Friday, February 22, 2013

First-grader Ann and the School Superintendent

I understand that the Midwest is experiencing another hellacious winter storm.  While I am enjoying the warmth and sunshine of the Texas Coast, I offer you this rerun for your enjoyment.  I hope.

As I indicated, we lived in the last house but one on Water Street as you headed out of town. This location placed us just eight-tenths mile from the elementary school. Each day my wife sent the kid (only one in school so far) toddling off to the seat of learning, only to watch the Heton kids next door board the school bus bound for the same destination. Mommy very soon tired of this, and Daddy was directed to "do something about that."

So I approached the Superintendent of Schools. Was I thinking "professional courtesy" or what was I thinking? Dr. McClurg was a vast, I mean huge, Irishman who had served our country honorably during WWII as captain in the USMC. He affected the same military flattop he wore as an active-duty gyrene, though it was white now, but would still have been a full head of hair had he not had it shorn weekly. At six-five and two seventy-five, he was a formidable man-mountain.

He welcomed me into his office, and we exchanged a few pleasantries, a bit of banter actually, as his school district and the one in which I worked were keen rivals on the football field or in the basketball arena. Then, getting to the point, he asked, "What can I do for you?" I succinctly explained that my child was walking nearly two miles each day to and from school, while my next door neighbor's kids were riding the corporation bus; and since it would not require an extra stop, I would appreciate it if my child could board the same bus.

"Now, Mr. Lacy, it surprises me that you would ask that. You see, the alley between your house and the Heton's is also the town limits line. It is policy that no child who lives within the village proper may ride the bus."

"Well, Dr. M, Ann would be glad to walk across the alley to get on the bus."

"But, don't you see? the line has to be drawn somewhere. If Ann rides, then Mrs. Lewis will want her kids to ride, and so on, until the driver will be stopping 50 yards from school to pick up someone who could get there faster on foot. You take my point!"

Of course I took his point, and besides as a child I had walked farther than that to get to school. Didn't kill me; wouldn't kill my kids.

How cold it can get inside one's domicile, even with the fire burning brightly.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

6 comments:

Vee said...

These kinds of rules still exist, but now parents complain to newspaper reporters and the problems become "news".

I sometimes think school personnel are the most unreasonable people on the planet when it comes to applying rules. Case that comes to mind - suspension of a kindergarten girl who said she was going to shoot someone with her bubble gun. There should be a "no tolerance" rule against ignorant school administrators.

Grace said...

I;m really tired this morning so it took me a reading or too to appreciate the last line...sometimes rules seemed stupid and/or arbitrary but they have a point...

Pearl said...

What Vee said. :-|

Pearl

vanilla said...

Vee, "zero tolerance" = zero (discretion, compassion, consideration, good sense); take your pick. But just to be clear, I did not take Mc's decision with any rancor or hard feelings.

Grace, rules are necessary. Sometimes there could be room for discretion. Hope you are rested now!

Pearl, I don't like the direction we have taken with regard to enforcement of arbitrary rules.

Sharkbytes said...

Well, I had the option to ride the bus, but I was the last stop even though the house was only 2 miles from school. I began walking home in jr. hi.

vanilla said...

Shark, and you haven't stopped walking!