Damned if you don’t

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Last night, we got the message that the City of Huntsville cancelled classes due to the potential of severe weather as Hurricane Irma was predicted to bring heavy rain and wind into the Tennessee Valley. The kids were jubilant, the adults not quite so much. Then, on social media there was great bitching and anguish over the decision. Most folks were very upset because they felt that the severe weather threat was overstated and that they were now forced into spending some unplanned time with their kids. They were irate because, in many cases, it would mean having to take a day off work presumably without pay.

The best part was inadvertently listening to WVNN conservative talk show host Dale Jackson picking it as his “Number One Thing You’ll Be talking About Today” and excoriating the school administrators for the decision by calling them cowards. I was scanning stations while I was coming back from the store with bread and milk so that we could make milk sandwiches should Armageddon begin. Mind you, Jackson has no kids, but he’s quick to disparage the school system for their decision to err on the side of abundant caution. He thinks the whole decision was based on their fear of lawsuits from angry parents.

I think too many parents would be angry no matter what decision they made. In this case, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey had already made an emergency declaration before the storm changed intensity and direction. This means that cancelling class would not require a “make-up” day. The school systems made their decision yesterday based on the forecast that included wind advisories and a tropical storm watch for the area. Of course, things changed and the forecast wasn’t entirely accurate.

Cue rage and rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth and cursing in foreign tongues! How dare they!! Yes, Dale Jackson was right, this is the number one thing you should talk about today- not disaster relief, not Equifax’s hack, not tax reform, not 9/11 memorials- yes, we should burn the effigies of school administrators and be sure they hear our feverish outrage!

Alrighty then. Now that your done foaming at the mouth, you may wish to consider that if this is, indeed, your number one issue for today, your life is darn good. I have a feeling that later in the day, that will change after your kids complain about being bored and not being able to go outside because it’s raining. Or, you’ll stay enraged like Dale Jackson, who remains completely unaffected by this issue, and gripe incessantly to ever person who’ll listen because that’s sort of y’alls happy place. Ooh, I bet your pissed I used the colloquial word “y’alls” in a sentence, too…

C’mon, whatever happened to our ability to just roll with things? I mean, they made a decision on the best information they had at the time and, yes, they erred on the side of abundant caution. I may be going out on a limb here, but I prefer that rationale over making decisions out of carelessly embracing risk or being completely unaware of severe weather threats or using a Magic 8 Ball for major decisions.

Yes, you will have to interact with your children if you’re able to pry the cell phones out of their hands. You will feel intense guilt as you binge watch Game of Thrones or whatever other non-productive thing you do on a Monday when you should be working. Some of you will even declare at 2:20 that it’s 5 O’clock somewhere. Eventually, your outrage will subside or it will grow as you begin to seriously contemplate a career change as a right-wing talk radio show host.

So, let’s lighten up on the school system. They’re doing the best they can. Those poor folks are truly damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Remember, they’re dealing with your genius angels every single day. Yeah, your genius angels and those bratty moron kids down the street, yet teachers have to do all of that completely sober. So, you’ll make it through this one unplanned day. Remember this afternoon that it’s probably 5’Oclock somewhere and toast the school for unplanned family time.

I wonder what Dale Jackson’s “Number One Thing” will be when he finally does have kids? Probably, complaining about how that Hawaiian Punch cartoon character on his kids juice boxes turned them into liberal snowflakes. Well, we can only hope.

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One Reply to “Damned if you don’t”

  1. Mr. Wetli,
    I am a bit disappointed in you; I would expect a writer of your skills not to load his commentary up with so many nasty a priori assumptions. The problem with school closings is not parents spending unplanned time with their children; the problem is that children go hungry. No school means no school breakfast or lunch. It also means less income when a parent has to stay home with the child, which means less food at home. For kids with special needs who need therapies such as speech, physical or occupational therapy, it means no therapy. Many parents don’t have adequate health insurance or the health insurance won’t pay for what the child needs so the school has meet that gap, at least partially, so the child can access the curriculum and obtain the free, appropriate public education that is his or her right. I don’t blame school officials for caution; I blame them for not using their own judgement and looking at our local forecast. Closing on Monday made a lot of sense in SE Alabama; by even the scariest forecast, we could have gotten in at least a half day here. I am equally angry that there is no plan to use the weather days that are already budgeted into the schedule; instead those instructional days are gone for good as we were under a state of emergency.

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