Safety is Always Important.

Yesterday, the kids had dental cleanings scheduled, so I picked up both boys from school.

I went to Dylan’s school first, making the 40-minute-by-highway journey without Shane in tow. I parked the car in front of the office, left it unlocked with the window open, admired the fall breeze and the gorgeous landscape – then went inside.

The headmaster saw me, and called me in. We had a brief follow-up discussion about Dylan’s switch into Algebra I and Physics. It was an easy conversation, and we touched on Dylan’s focusing issues a bit. Within a few minutes, Dylan came dashing down the sidewalk with his backpack. I stopped across the hall, signed Dylan out, and we left.

Then I went to Shane’s school. I parked in front of the school, made sure the windows were up, got out of the car (with Dylan) and locked the doors. The two of us went up two sets of stairs and I pushed a red button to be let inside. We stood outside on the concrete, waiting to be buzzed in.

We went inside where two rather harried secretaries worked. One asked if she could help me, and I explained that Shane was at lunch.

“My older boy would like to get him, if that’s okay,” I told her. “He used to go to school here, and he’d like to see it again.”

The cafeteria was directly across the hall from the front office.

“Hmmm, I don’t know,” she said, glancing at the other secretary for some form of approval. We knew what she was thinking: He shouldn’t be wandering around in the school unsupervised The principal wouldn’t approve.

We were still discussing it when Shane appeared at the office door, his backpack on and ready to go.

The secretaries breathed a sigh of relief when we all left.

Private school – especially one so far away – has its own set of issues. It is small, and there are fewer teachers, and the social events are severely lacking because of the lack of people.

But public school – even so close to home – has its own set of issues, too. Safety and security (and the fear of lawsuits) are first and foremost in the minds of the administration. Even elementary school is not a coddle zone.

Dylan’s private school – unlike all private schools – is very much a coddle zone, even for the older kids. It’s one of the reasons it’s such a wonderful place to be. The teachers actually care for the kids. Safety is always important, but with only 90 kids in the entire school, it’s much easier to maintain a safe environment.

With all the tragedies in unsuspecting schools throughout the country, I do understand the reason I have to stand outside and wait to be buzzed in.

Still, I prefer leaving my windows open when it’s warm, and admiring the beautiful day, and being able to walk in and say hello to everyone.

It’s too bad our world has fallen prey to so much bad that we can’t keep kids both safe and happy.

Today, I feel grateful that Dylan’s school reminds me of the old days.

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