Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 14th

The dark underbelly of February 14th.

Last Thursday started off like most work days, coffee and a 25 minute drive to work. When I got to school I knew something was different, the kids. The kids were more excited that usual for a Thursday; then I remembered it was Valentines Day. The day of sugar excess. When I met the buses I knew that this was going to be a day to remember. Kids were getting off the buses with bags, boxes and other containers of sweets. And they were grinning from ear to ear knowing that moms had put special treats in their lunch bags, some already eaten on the bus.

When the first group of the day came to my art class (something that on a normal day excites the kids) they were buzzing. I had them stay in line before entering my room and asked them who had Valentine candy for breakfast. About ten hands went up. Then I asked who had candy on the bus, more hands. From that brief survey I determined that about 80% of the class had already exceeded their daily consumption of sugar. Time 8:15am. This was going to be a long day.

The next two classes were about the same. Most lasted about ten minuets till I yelled for them to work in silence. Even then kids were falling out of their seats and spilling their paints more than usual.

Then I had a fifth grade class come in. I could tell something was up because the teacher informed me that she had already told them that they had better behave. I reluctantly inquired as to why? She told me that before coming to art that the class had reenacted the Boston tea party and then eaten Valentine candy. Thanks a lot! Like that Star Trek TV show where Captain Kirk Starts moving so fast he disappears, some of the kids were getting a little faint around the edges. By the end of class 3 cups of paint water had been spilled and a few papers destroyed by overly vigorous erasing.

The day pretty much continued like that till dismissal, and then it really went downhill. Of course some of the buses were either late or missing so the kids had to sit and wait. Left to their own devises while waiting for their bus the kids found many ways to get on each others and my nerve. Those that were not fighting or crying were throwing up. I blew my whistle and had them stand. Then they had to put their arms out and make sure that no one was near enough to touch and then sit silently waiting for their bus to take them home.

I’m thinking of going to the school board and asking that sugar be declared a controlled substance that cannot be brought within 500 feet of a school.

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