Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Line Has To Be Drawn Somewhere

There are times that I question the decisions made by bureaucrats.

Our house is about a mile away from the school my daughters go to. My daughters are in the first grade and senior kindergarten. I have said it before and I'll say it again, I am amazed that there is enough information to teach small children that a junior and senior kindergarten distinction is necessary. I would assume that at the end of junior kindergarten, the child is just starting to achieve a capable status as a finger painter, and therefore the senior kindergarten class allows that child to explore various techniques of the masters so that they can extend their finger-painting prowess. That's my assumption.

But I digress, as that is not the decision I am referring to, and I know that much study by early childhood educators has deemed it quite advantageous to the child to better prepare them for the perils of first grade by doubling up their kindergarten experience.

As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, my girls school is about a mile away from our house. And at the age of five and seven, and the fact that they are both pretty, I would never allow them to walk themselves that distance to school.

But they are not allowed to ride the bus. They live too close to the school for the bus – according to our local school board bureaucrats.

So every morning, I drag them kicking and screaming into my car, and I deliver them to school. When we arrive at the school, I drag them kicking and screaming out of the car, and around the block to the school doors. There I gently nudge them in, wishing them a good day as I leave.

And every day as I am pulling out of our driveway, I have to stop at the end of the driveway while the school bus stops to pick up the children waiting on my front lawn. I then follow this same bus to the same school – stopping behind the bus as they pick up more and more children along the way. I follow this bus all the way to the same school that my girls attend.

Yup.

The very bus that stops at my front yard and picks up the kids who live across the street will not pick up my girls because our house is too close.

Darlene did try to get the school to let them on the bus, but to no avail as she was told that our house is inside the boundaries of walking students.

"But we pay the same taxes as the parents who ride the bus!"

"It has nothing to do with your taxes, Ma'am", she was told. "Riding the bus is a courtesy that the school board extends to students who live outside the walking boundaries".

The line has to be drawn some where", said the bureaucrat to Darlene.

Apparently that line is my front yard.

I think it is quite obvious that there is drinking at these boardroom meetings where the bureaucrats make these decisions. And after the drinking session, the leader of the bureaucrats – the big-cat- bureaucrat gets up out of his chair.

"We need to define the boundaries for school bus stops" slurs the big-cat-bureaucrat.

"When I was a kid", slurs another, "we had to walk ten miles to school"

"Up hill – both ways", chimes in a third.

".. and it was snowing all the time" finishes the big-cat.

"Cheers!" they all shout and clink their once-frosty mugs together

"This is a tough decision to make" states the big-cat. "We must use our most prudent bureaucratic skills to determine these boundaries. If we take facts, figures, and common sense into account, again we will find the issue is to big and complicated to resolve."

All the bureaucrats around the table nod in agreement.

The big-cat- bureaucrat stands up in front of a map and closes his eyes. The second and third bureaucrats get up and spin the big-cat around and around and then fall down. When the big-cat finally gets back up – his eyes now so bleary and blurred that they no longer need to be closed - he draws a circle around the school – about a mile wide in each direction.

"There, that's where we draw the line!"

"It has be drawn somewhere!" chimes the rest of the bureaucrats.

This is the same school that sends home chocolate bars, cookies and flower seeds for my daughters to sell to unsuspecting relatives and neighbors. Sell to raise money for the functions of the bureaucrats who run this school board. These are the same bureaucrats who make statements to my wife and I that the parents of the community need to work with them to build a better school, to pay for the services that we are lucky enough to have provided to our children.

<deep sigh>

Okay, perhaps their not drunk when they make their decisions. I might concede that point.

I have talked to several of the neighbors across the street. I have asked if during the week, on school days, if my daughters could sleep over at their house. Then they would qualify to ride the bus.

But so far none of the neighbors have agreed. I can't say that I blame them. When I asked them why they couldn't do me this favor, they said:

"The line has to be drawn somewhere".

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