Jiving Kids by Reopening Schools Just Would Not Be Cool

by on July 14, 2020 · 2 comments

in Education, From the Soul, Health

by Ernie McCray

The orange faced man in the White House is talking about reopening schools and, in my way of thinking, that just would not be cool.

Jiving aka bullshitting children is something we should never do and opening their schools would be saying to them that everything is cool.

It seems like my work in this area is not yet done as I spent 37 years in San Diego City Schools opposing shining young folks on.

It wasn’t my intention to take on such a task when I began teaching. It was something that came to me out of the blue one day back in the early 60’s when my sixth graders and I were sitting at a school assembly.

A South African exchange student from a high school nearby had us literally “oohing and aahing” as she showed us slides of breathtaking mountains and glistening coastlines and splendid waterfalls and forests and deserts and grassy savannas.

We were so caught up in the sheer beauty of her country. When she ended her presentation with “Come visit us, you’re all welcome” everybody was ready to book a trip right then and there.  We were like a travel agent’s delight.

And I was suddenly having a nightmare because, although I thoroughly enjoyed the show, I knew a little something about South Africa that I felt my students and my colleagues needed to know, like because of that country’s apartheid way of living, the last thing they wanted to see at their doorstep was somebody who looked like me.

The kids got it. Lessons are so enriched whenever they can be personalized. We got to see, beyond the beauty of the country, a darker
side, the bad with the good, a much better picture of reality.

That was one of my early experiences with the notion of “teachable moments,” those lessons that come to you as a gift from the universe it seems, those deeply meaningful real life lessons.

But we jive kids so in our schools. I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken out about recruiters roaming our campuses, trying to sell students on “making a difference” while there’s hardly ever a college recruiter in sight.

I remember, in horror, when the district utilized undercover cops posing as students as a means of dealing with drug deals going down on the school grounds, making me think “There goes any trust any student had in the system.”

And then there’ve been cops stationed on our campuses, in buildings that already look like prisons, making keeping peace at schools another job the police aren’t equipped to do – while a significant number of students of color step lightly, knowing that anything might go down with these people around. Such is a perfect example of the devaluing of some students’ life experiences, while at the same time trying to make it appear that their interests are at the center of all that you do.

And here we are today, jiving kids with the idea that schools should be open, daring to risk their lives, based, basically, on lies that everything is going to be all right as people are still dying from a deadly disease, left and right, both day
and night.

We shouldn’t even begin the conversation about reopening our schools until we do things right, until we, like our scientists suggested loudly and clearly, lay low until “the problem reaches a peak and eases for 14 days,” something we’ve not even come close to doing.

Why should we send our children back to their schools when we haven’t come to terms with what we’re up against?

What would we be proving doing 3R’s in a social and political environment where far too many of our fellow citizens look at life saving protocols with an attitude of “Screw the rules. I’m an American and you can’t tell me what to do!”

How are schools going to be safe when so many people are partying all over the place and think wearing a mask is a hoax, a joke, some coughing in the face of anyone who asks them to cover their face – while a virus rages?

More importantly how can we trust our government to play its part in the restarting of schools when its run by a thug who not only fails at everything he does, but doesn’t even try?

Nah, jiving kids by reopening schools just would not be cool.

We’ll have to wait until this administration is done and a leadership that has heart and can inspire hope comes along.

Because when schools get underway again it has to be with the thought of helping students envision change, different ways of living, as nothing will ever be quite the same again.

A new world lies ahead.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Glen Barfield July 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Aloha Ernie,
What you say makes so much sense nd your are not the first to say it, DON’T JIVE KIDS!

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Avatar Glen Barfield July 15, 2020 at 7:04 pm

It must have been my third thumb. I sure didn’t send this without my ending.
Aloha Ernie,
What you say makes so much sense and your are not the first to say it, DON’T JIVE KIDS! Because they will resent you and the system you represent for the rest of their lives. I know, I’ve been resenting those folks all my life. Aloha, Glen

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