Band Kid Kicked Off School Bus for Trying to Take His Instrument Home

saxophoneGive me a choice of funding a football program at my local elementary school or a music department, and I'm one of those parents that says bring on the songs. We're talking about a program that can help kids with everything from their math scores to their retention of concepts in English class. Sounds like stuff any school would be happy to have, right?

Except one tween-aged musician in Massachusetts found out that music education isn't just under attack in preachy Glee episodes. Andrew DiMarzio has been told that his saxophone is too hazardous to cart onto a school bus. Either he give up the instrument favored by presidents and jazz greats alike or he has to find another way to get his 12-year-old self to school. As a mom, the idea of a similar situation cropping up in my school district leaves me cold.

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Let me ignore, for a moment, the improbable nature of the district's claims that an instrument played by thousands of kids in America is a hazard on a school bus. I rode the bus with some of the most musical kids in our school, and no one ever took a sax to the noggin.

What does this say about the value a school is putting on individual kids?

Like the children of many working parents, my kid rides a school bus. Take that away from her, and you impede my ability to work and hence my ability to feed my family. Not surprisingly, the same goes for DiMarzio's mom who works outside of the home. So should kids really have to decide between their parents' ability to hold down a job and courses that can make a vital difference in their learning?

Aside from some obvious, rare exceptions -- like birthday cupcakes or the occasional science project -- I'm of the mind that if it can't go on a bus, it shouldn't belong in school. And vice versa. 

But band isn't a one-off, and it's not an "extra." It's several days a week, for the entire school year, and in most districts, it's part of the curriculum for all the reasons I outlined earlier ... it makes for a better education. All kids deserve an equal chance at an education. Just because you're a kid with working parents doesn't mean you don't get that same chance.

I feel for DiMarzio's mom. I can't imagine forcing my kid to pick between getting to school or getting the best education possible.

Do you buy the argument that something required by a school class can't go on a bus?

 

Image via join the dots/Flickr

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