Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Great Summer Swindle

I will begin with an apology to all kids in the Belle Fourche school system. The apology is for being an adult. Although I am not one of the adults involved with the decision to start school this year on August 20th, I still feel a responsibility to apologize for those adults directly involved in that decision as I don't believe any one of them will be forthcoming in saying they are sorry for this outrage.
August 20th! Really? Every student in this town has been robbed of twelve days of summer. Days they will never get back. Days that have been taken from them as surely as if they were stolen by a master thief.  When I questioned this terrible decision by obviously confused and misguided school officials I was told the early start was due in part to the 4 day school week put into place previously, and that students and parents are quite willing to accept the trade off. Sorry. Not buying it. A few parents maybe. But students? I can't imagine anyone, other than possibly a few seniors, being happy about losing what could turn out to be a wonderfully stupendous summer day spent outside wearing ragged shorts and a baggy t-shirt to a structured mundane school day sitting at a desk being checked off a list compiled to make sure everyone is present. "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"
Mid August is summer. When did it become part of the school year? Has this happened before? Why am I just finding out about it now? And...why do I care?  I don't have kids in school. It's no skin off my knee. I guess it's the principal of the thing. By the way, who is the principal and why did he or she allow this to happen under their watch? Shameful is what it is. It's still summer for crying out loud!  And summer is not for sitting blurry eyed in some classroom. Summer is for this -

In summer the sky is higher and a much deeper blue. At night the stars are much closer and the moon is brighter. This might not be science, but it's the truth. Every single day of summer should be cherished as a precious moment. A crime is committed every time one of those days is taken away too soon. August 20th. Preposterous. Ridiculous. Outrageous. A colossal swindle perpetrated on the young people of our town.
But, alas, nothing can be done about it now. Not this year anyway. So, I will end on a positive note. We must always look for a bright side. The brightest side I can think of right now comes from our old friend, Dr. Seuss, who gives us what is perhaps the best lesson we can learn in such a short summer. A lesson we all should remember -

Roger O'Dea   8/14/2014

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