And still it makes me wonder: why aren't we getting the attention we deserve? Inside these doors are rooms full of knowledge and intrigue, full of ideas and energy and potential. Why aren't we better protected?
I'm talking about the school where I work. Last night, a window was broken in our atrium. The glassed in area at the end of our upper floor that bears that architectural design name. It could also be described by its function: target. Not unlike the bare facades that surround our playground, these windows stand as lingering temptations to passing bands of ruffians or kids with nothing better to do than to mark, break or defile whatever sits in their path.
Not whatever, since the list is limited to those items that don't bite back. The sides of moving vans that face the curb. The toys and bikes left absently in front yards. Unattended and unguarded, just like our school. There is this great big symbol of authority sitting out there in the dark on most nights with very little in the way of protection. Just a great big "Kick Me" sign posted just inside the vaguely patrolled perimeter fence.
The fence that is meant to keep kids in during the day, and to keep the bad guys out after the sun goes down. I know that it doesn't do much to keep the teenaged basketballers from dropping by after our students have cleared out. Not that the basketballers are the taggers and window breakers. It would be easy enough to make that correlation, since the path they take on their way in is pretty much the same, but I don't think it's in the continued best interest of kids who came to play to break things. That could mean that the fences get fixed. And grow still higher.
Just like the Death Star, however, no fortress is impregnable. After fixing one section week after week, it was decided to leave the one bent opening as it was to defray the expense of coming back week after week to fix the same hole. This is the part that makes us a Public School. We are giving the neighborhood access to the facilities, the play structure and the basketball hoops anyway. If you'd like to stop back by during the day, we're happy to try and find you a desk and a chair and an opportunity to show us what you know, and what you need to learn. If you're between the ages of five and eleven.
It was a pair of ten-year-olds who came rushing into my room to tell me that someone had broken a window with a rock. I thanked them and let them know that the custodian and I had already called it in and there would be someone out in the next day or so to repair it. The sun was just coming up and the glass would be replaced, along with that sense of safety.
Until the next time.