I have a big mouth, I’m unsophisticated and I’m juvenile. It’s gotten me trouble more times than I can count, for as far back as I can remember. Now, as a grown up –I shudder even typing those words– I sometimes don’t know when to speak up. I don’t know whether, it’s the immature me “fighting authority” or there really is something “not right”. The thing is – I don’t even “fight authority”. I do not follow ANY rule or policy I don’t agree with. I’m just as happy to quietly disregard it, rather than fight, so when I do speak up, I feel pretty confident that I’m not wrong.
I actually have another blog that goes some length into what led up to me becoming the temporary crossing guard – a position that is STILL AVAILABLE by the way (tell a friend!)! Check the media links, the blog titled “why this is important to me” and my disclaimer.
While every responsible entity (the school, the police, the town, and the village) all believe it’s a horrifically dangerous intersection – NO ONE wants to be responsible for it. They are going to such great lengths to distance themselves from the position, that I am not even employed by the school, the police, the town or the village – I’m an independent contractor.
This blog is a “Tales From the Intersection” inside an “I Am Bee Mice Elf” to make sure everyone understands that these are MY words and observations – me as MaryAnn (parent, human, tax payer and person standing in the rain) NOT as MaryAnn (the independently employed crossing guard standing in the rain).
During my short stint as a lunch lady (employed by the school) I learned there were some things we (employees) shouldn’t talk about, mostly things that could appear unfavorable about the school if taken out of context. Of course at that time my area of interest was food and the cafeteria because that’s where I spent my days and saw what was going on. Now, I’m standing outside in the rain, employed by myself, so my area of interest is traffic and pedestrian safety. All the while, my main concern, my reason for giving a crap, is because of the kids. I could care less about meeting government requirements for a balanced lunch if it meant one kid throwing away an apple that another kid would have enjoyed eating. I will “steal” the apple destined for the garbage, and give it to the kid who will eat it, and “THIEF” being permanently added to my employment record is something I can live with.
So now I find myself – again – in a position of shaking my head and thinking this is the reason I don’t want to be a grown up. If grown ups can reason and rationalize why you should leave people outside in a tornado because of policy – then I don’t want to be a grown up and I won’t follow the rules.
Monday there was a tornado watch (meaning conditions are favorable for one to form, as opposed to a warning which means RUN AND PRAY!) School was let out at regular time but after school activities were canceled. My shift is 2:15 – 3:15 in the afternoon with the school dismissing at 2:35. As the winds were picking up and I could see the black clouds rolling in, I thought I would pack up a little early – all the kids were supposed to be gone and the parking lot was mostly empty. At 3:00 I walked over to the school building where an employee was outside. I asked “are all the kids gone” (explaining that I was probably going to head out). He said yes, except for the two kids waiting for their parent. I called to the girls sitting on the steps to see if they needed to use my phone to call anyone. They said no, their mom was on her way.
Now, the big gray and black cloud is completely overhead, the wind starts picking up and it’s raining gigantic drops but only a few every few seconds. I asked, “if it gets any worse can they go wait inside” –NO, once they leave the building they are not allowed back in, the school is closed.” I said, “I don’t want to just leave them here.” —Now the wind is blowing out of control and the sky just opens up dumps sheets of huge heavy rain drops – I was soaking and completely saturated through, literally within seconds!! People were making mad dashes around us, running for car and cover. So we stood there for maybe 2-3 minutes – the girls on the steps and me in the parking lot … and then their mom pulled in.
I’m glad the mother got there when she did – I was scanning the parking lot looking for a ditch to huddle in if a saw a funnel cloud approaching – yes, I’m dramatic – but this is what goes through my mind when there’s a tornado watch – WATCH for tornadoes – the conditions are favorable. I later posted about what happened and I did it in a public forum. I posted out of concern. NO, there was NO tornado. YES, the kids mom came right away. NO, no one was hurt, maimed or killed. …But – what if the mother had been hung up in traffic? What if we DID see funnel clouds? I posted because I am a human being who was concerned for other younger human beings. It was suggested I speak to the principal of the school and see what the actual policy was and take it from there. I didn’t get a chance to do that as I was approached first thing the following morning.
I was confronted by a person who was upset by what I had posted. I was informed to “speak to him in the future before posting things like that” I was informed that my version of the events didn’t happen the way I explained them. The purpose of his “talk” was clearly to reprimand me and not to inform me of what the proper protocol is when leaving children in dangerous weather conditions. After I finished my shift, I went into the prison after passing through multiple doors and buzzer systems, oh sorry typo… I went into the school, yeah, that’s it.. the school – I asked to speak to the person who confronted me earlier. I needed some clarifications and wanted it known that I had NOT posted to make anyone look bad and the events as I explained are EXACTLY what happened.
The end result of the conversation was that he wouldn’t be opposed to letting children back in IF he saw funnel clouds but he’ll have to take it on a case by case thing. If something like this happens in the future I should instruct the kids to go to the youth center or “the pizza place.” Each potential disaster will be taken on individually. In the event any children are left behind, the general rule is that — NO! They will NOT let a child back in the school.
This answer might appease some people. Some people are okay with kids being left outside in hazardous weather conditions . They understand policies and laws. I’m a human being. I can’t accept “we’ll cross each bridge when we get to it.” — When should I start knocking on windows and steel doors in the hopes that someone will hear me to buzz us into the prison? Should I wait until I see funnel clouds? What if that person is gone for the day? Who else is authorized to disregard “the policy” and let people wait in the vestibule when the funnel clouds start forming? I pass this on so in the event of a natural disaster… if you can’t find your middle school student – check “the pizza place.”