The cost

Like every other elementary school in America, Selam’s school has reviewed their security plans and sent out a vague letter telling us that they’ve done so and they have a good plan.  Personally, I would like to know where they would take the children in the event of evacuation, not because I think another Sandy Hook would happen, but I’ve always wondered that, with regards to fire or anything, really. There are no churches, fire halls, libraries or really anything nearby.  There is a tiny coffee house that seats maybe 12, an administrative office for a park that I’ve never been inside, but it can’t seat that many, a large city park, and a lot of houses. Apparently, though, part of the security plan is that we can’t know what the plan is.  We don’t get to know where they would take the children or where their safe spots are in their classrooms. Selam told me where their “code red” spot was in kindergarten–squish into the two bathrooms.  She claims the code red spot in her first grade room is on the rug, which can’t be true. Anyway, several parents have asked and have been told that we can’t know.

The other half of the plan is that we now have to enter and exit through the main doors. This has always been true if you were were entering the building between the opening and closing bells, but now it’s true always.  K-2 parents still walk our children to the rooms, but we are to leave immediately. 3-8 parents are not allowed to their child’s rooms anymore.  The whole thing doesn’t really make a lot of sense, other than that they have only one security camera. It’s created an enormous traffic jam in the front hallway (previously used by bus kids, and 5th-8th graders, and there is no way that it is actually preventing anyone from entering the building. It’s actually probably easier now for a stranger to get in the building.  Before, parents knew who did and did not belong at each entrance. When a new face appeared, parents would always, ALWAYS greet them and ask who they belonged to–not in a mean way, but just because they stood out.  (The old system had each kindergarten room with a private entrance straight to their classes–which I loved, a small hallway for grades 1-2, and a hallway for grades 3-4.)

But this is the plan and now we all have to live with it.  The parking lot and the convenient street parking is all on the side of the building with the other 3 doors–the side we no longer can use.  I didn’t realize how familiar that street and the people who live there had gotten to us.  Selam liked catching up with her friends who lived on that street and walking the rest of the way to school with them.  She had dogs that she liked to visit at many houses along the way.  She knew the various babies that would accompany kids to school in the mornings in their strollers.  She liked seeing the crossing guard every day.

When all this happened, I began parking on the other side of the building–one a street lined with huge houses set well back from the road.  I have never seen any children walking to school from that street. Perhaps there are, and I just don’t see them, or perhaps those children go to private school.  It’s a very quiet walk.

Friday, Selam asked if we could park on the “real side.” We had time, so we did, parking in front of a classmate’s house and walking back to the school and then around the edifice.  Selam saw most of her dog friends and some of her babies.

“People really shouldn’t do mean things, Mommy, because then I can’t see the dogs and the babies anymore.”

I guess we’ll be getting up earlier in order to park on the right side more.  It seems the cost of convenience is a bit too high. Fair enough.

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