Picture this. You're waiting at the bus stop where you pick up your 5- and 7-year-old daughters every day at the exact same time. Except your babies never show. So you wait around for awhile, then you hop in your car and drive up to school to find out what the heck happened to your precious little darlings.
And the school threatens to have you arrested. Whoa. Ho. Are you feeling ranty yet?
That's allegedly what happened to C.J. Blair, a father of two little girls in Maryland. When his girls didn't come home as usual, he went to the school, then learned his 5- and 7-year-olds had been placed on the wrong bus. And it gets worse. Because dad had left the bus stop to try to find out what had happened to his daughters, the new bus dropped them off across the street from their regular stop with no one there to care for them.
Blair says police were called to handle him as though he were causing a ruckus. The school is trying to claim it was just to have their help in finding the kids, but the 911 records show it was a call about a "disorderly male." And as one school official told the Washington Post, "He acts in such a way that the staff are fearful."
Gee. You think? You tell any parent in America that the school has lost their child, and you better believe they're going to get disorderly. We're talking about a displaced human being here! I'd be making the staff pretty fearful if they couldn't tell me what happened to my 5-year-old too. I wouldn't get physically violent -- and there's no sign Blair did either -- but some heads would certainly roll. Which is why I find this whole story so troubling.
The school district made a major no no. They literally put two little girls who are unable to fend for themselves in physical danger. If I, as a parent, left my 5-year-old alone on a street, I would be arrested for child neglect. Why isn't the shoe on the other foot?
It's true that everyone makes mistakes, and school districts deal with so many kids on a day-to-day basis that we're fortunate they don't make more. You can call it live and let live, but that means there has to be some leeway for parents like CJ Blair too. Because while our kids are "just one kid" to a large school district, they are still a kid, still a human being. And as parents it's our job to expect that our kid is a priority -- even among thousands of other kids.
The district got very lucky -- unable to get into their locked house, the girls fortunately walked to the home of an acquaintance, who cared for them until Blair was able to go get them. But if this went another way, you'd be looking at some charges ... and not for Mr. Blair.
Do you think parents have a right to get "disorderly" when the foul against their kids is this egregious?
Image via basheertome/Flickr