One thing I don’t remember from my childhood is school ever being canceled because of ‘cold days’. I remember snow days, of course; and ice days, too, when the buses couldn’t make it up the hills in some parts of the school district. But I don’t think school was ever canceled just because of the temperature. What I absolutely do not think, however, is that the invention of cold days is the sign of our impending doom as a civilization – which apparently puts me at odds with a large, vocal, and douche-y segment of society.
Here are a few choice ‘kids these days!!’ comments pulled from literally the first cold-day school closing article I found with a quick Google search:
Yes, these fine individuals suffered through walking through nine feet of snow in -80°F temperatures, uphill both ways, naturally, and they’re fine! Which mostly suggests to me not so much that they were tough, hardy stock who bravely struggled through a long, hard winter slog to school – but that they were lucky enough to have appropriate winter footwear, warm weather gear, and a healthy dose of privilege to go along with it.
School closings for cold weather don’t happen because children today are pathetic little baby-wimps, and anyone who feels to need to vilify first-graders to feel good about himself should probably be automatically disqualified from the discussion. School closings for cold weather happen because when it’s -20° outside and the wind is blowing at 25 miles per hour, it takes ten minutes for an unprotected child to get frostbite. An unprotected child, for example, who lost his hat and whose mom couldn’t afford to buy him a new one. A child who had to forgo getting gloves this year because that way her little sister could have some. A child who wears shorts to school in the winter because shorts are cheaper than pants. What, kids today might not have the winter clothing they need to safely walk to school? But I had what I needed as a child! How could anyone possibly live in different circumstances than me?!? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
This is not a newsflash to most of us, but I think it might be to the pompous ass-butts from those comments: more than one-third of American children live in poverty today. But I guess that narrative just isn’t as appealing as ‘kids these days are wimpy losers, not uber-super-He-Men like me’. Of course, there are important questions we should be asking about the consequences of school being canceled, but ‘is it going to make kids too wimpy?’ is not one of them. Instead, how about:
- Are poor children who get free breakfast and lunch at school going to go hungry on days that classes are canceled?
- Will missing several school days because of the cold make the education gap for poor students even wider?
- If school is canceled because of cold weather, will poor students be stuck in an unheated or under-heated home all day?
- Is it incredibly crappy to make this discussion about YOU and how AWESOME you are, instead of the children affected? (Yes. Yes it is.)