Party Pooper.

This is what happened here in the Kansas City area on Tuesday:

In a city whose population is just over 2,000,000, reliable estimates say that 800,000 people were in downtown K.C., MO for the Royals World Series parade and rally. I was in the distinct minority in the circle of people I know, in that my family and I did not attend. Had no earthly interest in attending. As much as we enjoyed watching the team win, this scene is an introvert’s worst nightmare.

I was told – and it’s obvious from photos like this one taken by a friend – that it took literally half an hour to move a few feet. Most people were unable to see the festivities at all.

The very idea of being in a crowd like this is horrifying to me. The good news is that even in this endless blue sea of humanity, only three minor arrests were made all day long. By all accounts it was a positive, friendly, joyous crowd.

So there’s that.

But then there’s this:

Most major school districts closed for the day. I have a lot of school connections, so I know that  in our suburban area, the driving issue behind that decision was that teachers were calling in for personal days at a rate that made it impossible to cover classes with substitutes (who, of course, were also heading downtown).

An interesting thing about our suburban schools is that they’re staffed, to a huge extent, by very affluent members of the community. People who could afford to attend many of the playoff and even World Series games. People who can afford to take a day off, to have their own children out of school without a worry for how they’ll manage child care.

Increasingly, though, the children these affluent teachers and administrators serve are in a VERY different situation. Poverty in the suburbs is increasing at a much higher rate than in the inner cities. The number of kids in our suburb receiving free or reduced lunches has doubled over the last seven  years.

I saw several Facebook posts from teacher friends of mine, stating how thrilled they were that their kids (and they) had no school so they could be downtown making “amazing memories.” How nice for them. Not so nice for a whole lot of people they serve.

So the decision to close schools in the ‘burbs was bad enough. I can’t even begin to imagine what the large, inner city districts were thinking. Schools where there are so many kids on free or reduced lunch that they’ve given up on requiring applications – they just routinely provide meals to 100% of their enrollment. Schools where the parents who are able to find and keep jobs are paid an hourly wage, and can’t possibly afford to take the day off to watch their kids or to go downtown to “make amazing memories.”

Imagine for a moment the number of hungry, unsupervised children in our city on Tuesday. It boggles the mind. All in the name of a frenzy to support a sports machine owned and run by extremely wealthy people who will only become more wealthy as a result of all the excitement.

So yeah, maybe I’m a party pooper.

It’s not a popular stance to take around here this week.

But I’ll wear that badge.

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6 thoughts on “Party Pooper.

  1. One more try at leaving a comment here (in case it just didn’t like comments from my phone) — anyway, I thought exactly the same thing about the school districts closed during the recent papal visit. How many kids missed out on lunch and breakfast those days? How many parents had to choose between losing a day’s pay, or leaving kids home alone? Seemed especially ironic when it was for a pope who advocates so strongly for the poor.

    I’ve heard teachers complain that they hate it when schools are considered babysitters, but for too many families, that is exactly the most critical role that teachers and schools can play.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every party needs a pooper….but what you said is right. Sometimes our wings aren’t big enough for all the children…..and as much as I like celebrations, and football, there is something wrong when a sport celebration would take precedence over education.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you 100%. Our whole city shuts down just for Homecoming. Schools let out for a half day, about a third of them being those schools that just offer the free breakfasts and lunches because nearly all students were eligible. I substitute teach at these schools. Too many times I hear so many stories. Stories that are sad, scary, and some I have to report. These kids are most likely unmonitored after school and on weekends, I can only imagine what these poor kids do for the “other half” of the school day, as the other 2/3 of the town goes to the parade, tailgates and goes to the football game, and can afford dresses and tuxes for the Saturday night’s dance. All in the name of football. I will wear that badge proudly with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, gosh – that just breaks my heart. It’s appalling that these kids are going hungry and without care on those days, but also that so many of them end up feeling totally left out. It’s a cruel world, in my opinion, when adults let down our kids in this way. Thank you for sharing. *sniff, sniff*

      Liked by 1 person

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