5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

7 years ago today...how our schools have changed

Seven years ago today, I held my newborn and wept as I watched terrified students and teachers running away from Columbine High School. Today, I'm nagging my 7 year old son to finish up his homework in time to catch the school bus. I've just registered my 5 year old for Kindergarten. I can't help but think of the immense grief and anger the families of the murdered students and teacher must still feel to this day. I can only begin to imagine the terror in a parent's heart to see that scene played out at their own child's school.

My son's school wasn't even built yet in 1999. I'm grateful for the attention they have payed to security in the design of our school building. Everyone who enters the school has to pass through the front office in order to get in. All other exterior doors are locked during the school day. I remembr feeling very reassured by that detail the first time I visited the school for a tour. The Kindergarten classrooms are placed near the front entrance and all Kindergarten students could easily exit the building through an external door. When they leave the classroom, the teachers carry walkie-talkies with them so they can communicate. These are just a few of the things that have helped to make our school a safer place.

Sadly, the steps that have been taken to protect our students in their schools have made school so different than when we were children ourselves. I remember my mother walking me to my classroom when I was in Kindergarten. It must have been nice for her to have that opportunity for daily contact with my teacher, as well as some of the other parents.

I remember having free time to play before school with my friends. Now, all car riders wait in the lobby for a bell and go through the doors without a parent's hand to hold. Bus riders must stay on the bus until they are all dismissed to enter the building. That early morning social time which allowed us to "get the wiggles and giggles out" doesn't exhist any more. If you pick your child up after school, now they meet you in front of the building. There is no longer an opportunity to walk through the building and see what kind of artwork the children have on display or ask the teacher how the day went.

I remember so many parents coming to school to help out with class plays and holiday parties when I was a grade schooler. Now, anyone who wants to volunteer in the classroom or chaperone field trips must have a background check on file with the office in advance. I remember all kinds of amazing home-baked goodies being brought in for holidays and birthdays. Today, all snacks provided for class parties must be store bought.

I honestly don't know if all of this is truely progress or not. It seems like there has been a price to pay to insure our students' safety in their school environment. It's certainly reassuring to be able to send our children off to school and know they will be kept safe. But I also can't help grieve some of the things they are missing out on because of all the changes that have been maade to protect them.


  • At 1:46 PM, April 20, 2006 , Blogger Anne said...

    I know what you mean. It is a hard call to say whether it is an improvement or not because 50 yrs ago, you didn't have to worry about kids bringing guns to school. It wasn't even a thought that would enter someone's mind. Society is contantly changing, with parents more involved or less involved, mores being created and then dismantled, with all of the technology we currently enjoy and have come to depend on, wee are having to deal with entirely different problems. And now everyone is having to backpedal to protect the smallest, the most defenseless. sigh. I hope to have the same kind of reassurances that you have once my girls go to school.


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