Friday, 6 February 2009

A bit of snow and we all give up!

Okay, so we’ve had the worst snow in years but I still think they close the schools too easily these days. My eldest son goes to the village school where most people walk, or could walk to school, and yet it has been closed for two days. By mid-morning roads were easily passable and I know lots of people were travelling about to see friends and family – if travel logistics were the reason for closing, why could they not have just opened school later?

I hope that whoever was responsible for closing the school – the headmistress, teachers who didn’t make enough effort to get in, overly-cautious council officials – feel ashamed of their over-reaction, especially when watching stories on the news about conscientious nurses who walked for two hours to make sure they got to work and honoured their commitments.

Closing the school sets a bad example to the children. What it says to them is that when things get tough we just give up. Surely it would be more inspiring, and in keeping with the school's ethos, to adapt and pull together, to rise to the challenge of a snowy day rather than give in to slight inconvenience.

I’ve drafted an email to the headmistress and governors expressing my disappointment; I’m sure they’ll be delighted to hear from me and I’m still undecided on whether to press send. I have no illusions that it will make any difference; it will just leave me earmarked as a pain in the arse. But is it not important to speak up and let officials know that we don’t all agree with their defeatist attitude?

I’m sure there were many concerns for “health and safety”. Of course we must give consideration to safety but I do believe that reasoning is over-used in current society. Parents are capable of taking more time and using more care in getting their children to school and the pupils at the school are of the calibre to understand why they might not, for example, be allowed to play in certain areas of the playground that day. Wouldn’t it be more impressive if the school administration showed it had more strength of character, that it wasn't going to feebly give up because some litigious minded official suggested it should?

One of the school’s strengths is that it is part of the village community and on days like today I think it should be proudly functioning, like many other aspects of our hard working community were despite the snow, thanks to the determination of many people. Perseverance is a virtue missing to the detriment of today’s society and we can only teach our children that through example.

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