Saved(?) By the Bell
Yesterday, I was driving past a local elementary school and I saw on their electronic sign out front the words, “Doors Open 8:25, Tardy Bell 8:35”. Ten minutes. They’re giving kids a ten-minute window to get into the school?
I know what you’re thinking, you could just drop your kid off before 8:25 and they could just wait outside for the doors to open, right? That’s fine for September and maybe even part of October, but as soon as winter comes, are you really going to have your kid stand outside for half an hour in twenty-degree weather?
Of course, this ten-minute window is a COVID-related change. Don’t ask me how it helps anything, but supposedly it does. But this post isn’t about COVID rules at schools, this is about late bells, and how fundamentally fucked up they are.
This is an elementary school we’re talking about. The students do not drive themselves. The students (unless they walk/bike) are completely dependent on adults to get them to school. So when a kid shows up, five minutes late, do you really think that was their intention? Maybe their mom overslept, maybe their friends’ parents that come pick them up had to stop and get gas, setting them back by three measly minutes that end up making the kids late. And what happens? They get in trouble. Legit discipline like detentions or being yelled at.
This isn’t some seventeen year old that stopped for iced coffee on the way to school and made themselves late. This is a seven year old child who isn’t at fault for their dad’s car not starting. Why are we putting the blame on literal children who are learning their fucking ABC’s for being five minutes late? Is it because it’s not like you can punish the adults at fault, so you just teach the child that the failings of others are on them?
As a kid, I can promise you that one of the things that made me the most distraught was when I got in trouble for something I didn’t do. When the kid next to me was talking and I was the one that got yelled at, despite me claiming innocence, that shit messed me up! That shit sucks, and the fact that we take the actions of adults and pin it on their kids is just wild.
Even if a kid is a walker/biker, and they’re ten minutes late, maybe consider asking them what happened that caused them to be late. Maybe they fell off their bike and sat there and cried for five minutes before continuing. Maybe their dog got out before they left and they were home alone and had to get it back in. There are so many circumstances that are out of a child’s control that we don’t consider. We just blindly dish out discipline because it’s all the school system knows: punishing children.
Back to the ten-minute window thing, don’t they realize how much pressure that puts on the parents? To time their morning perfectly enough to get their kid to school within a ten-minute window? Seems kinda tough to try to cram a couple hundred kids through one door in the span of ten minutes. The kids are there all day, for like eight hours, why not let them in at eight, or even 8:15?
I’m sick of the way we treat children like their lives don’t matter, their reasons for being late or even missing school don’t matter, just the fact that they are late/missed is what counts. We never cut kids any breaks despite them being LITERAL EIGHT YEAR OLDS. It’s weird. And wrong.
Anyways, my rant is complete. Have a nice day.