I have never in my life counted down the days until the end of school more than I have this year, and that includes all of the years of my own schooling. Never has the warm weather been more of a promising sign that this school year from hell is ending than it is now. Charlotte has barely had a school experience and yet I cannot wait for this to be over. Perhaps I’d feel differently if she were going 5 days a week like most Staten Island public schools, but alas, here we are 8 months in and only 2-3 days a week is still all we get. I cannot wait until my dining room table is no longer a hot mess of books and computers and a tablecloth filled with pencil shavings and crayon drawings. I don’t want to look at any of the crap in there for another second. I don’t want to sign on to one more friggin’ zoom. I wish they’d end it all now, to be honest. What the hell else are they going to learn on the computer from now until the end of June? Absolutely nothing!!! Do us all a favor and put us out of our misery.
A few weeks back we found out that Charlotte’s school had the option to send back two grades full time until the end of the year and they declined. They didn’t feel it was best for the community or fair to other kids or a whole plethora of other stupid reasons. They said they didn’t even decide what grades would have gone back, although the logical answer – and the answer for most schools with this same choice – would be to send back the younger kids. But no, why would we do such a thing like that? Why let the little kids get a taste of what 5 day schooling is like so they can be better prepared for September? There is still no plan for September, by the way. Who knows what fresh hell awaits us then. Whatever guidelines the DOE put in place won’t ever allow for Charlotte’s school to be normal, so if those guidelines don’t change I guess we’re up shit’s creek without a paddle. After we learned about that I did what I like to think I do best and I wrote a letter to the principal and the group of parents tasked with making the decision. A group that we didn’t even know existed because who would know such things when there is no communication? I circulated the letter to other parents as frustrated as I was and I got a lot of signatures. I expressed our frustrations with the year and with the choice they made and hoped they would see what good full time school would do for the younger kids, even if it was only for a few weeks. I received a response from the principal a week later that was probably drafted by some goon at the DOE and didn’t address any of the issues we raised. We also sent the letter to the superintendent and a councilman on Staten Island and got radio silence from them. It is disheartening. I don’t know what I expected and I probably shouldn’t have expected anything at all, but I thought that maybe someone – anyone! – would care.
But I did something. I took all of my bitching and moaning and I did something. I did the only thing I could do for my child and I put pen to paper and put it out into the world. And other parents agreed and signed on to my words, and that will just have to be enough. I tried and I failed, but at least I tried. And if September comes and nothing changes, I will continue to put pen to paper and I will send my words to anyone who will read them. We have to do better for these kids. Enough is enough.