Friday, September 05, 2008

9/5/08 The Policy

Katrina's hair is getting just long enough for ponytails, and to my amazement, she was very cooperative about my fumbling to put them in this morning.

Bye-bye baby, I'll see you Sunday!

I picked Gabriel up directly from school today, Julian in tow, to leave straight for camping. Or so I thought. Gabriel's school has implemented a new policy in which parents can no longer pick up their kids from outside the classrooms, all of which open to the outside, no indoor hallways. Instead, now we're supposed to wait behind a blue line painted in a corridor between two buildings, and the kids are supposed to funnel up this corridor to find us. This wide-open campus is now a closed.

It was a disaster. We were all packed together in 100 degree heat, under these metal roofs radiating yet more heat. The children were supposed to find their parents in this crowd, and then somehow get through it to get out.

5 minutes after school had closed, I broke ranks with some other parents to go to Gabriel's classroom to find him. Empty. About 6 other moms arrived to find the same, and we were all very annoyed. Where are our kids now? There are many ways out of the school, you can't expect them all to go up this one corridor. Incredibly, this mayhem is intended to ensure the safety of students.

At least I knew where Gabriel was: at the CDC. He'd made his way there behind the buildings, and was sitting comfortably in air-conditioning munching on graham crackers while Julian and I sweated under the roofs, sheepishly following this unfriendly policy. And we don't know where the boundaries are. Gabriel's classroom opens right onto a paved playground, bordered by a field and then a public park. There are no fences there. Or blue lines intended to herd back those most annoying of customers -- parents.

But what bothers me the most is missing the opportunity for informal exchanges with other parents outside the classroom, seeing Gabriel's friends and classmates, peeking inside his classroom, chatting briefly with the teacher, and generally feeling a little more connected to his schooling.

After losing 20 minutes to this fiasco, I packed the boys into the car, blasted the A/C, and we were on our way south to camp. We watched my car's outdoor thermometer rise to 103 as we started into the mountains, then as we approached the coast, it started dropped. When we arrived at the campsite, it had dropped to an astounding 68 -- a total of a 35-degree drop in under an hour. I set up camp in fog, long pants and long sleeves.

And so we spent the weekend camping along the coast.


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