Philly school children should move into district headquarters, and bureaucrats should re-locate to rodent infested schools.
She ran into my classroom with a pale face, as if the life had been frightened right of her body. The art teacher who worked at a summer camp with me at a now closed South Philadelphia elementary school was terrified of mice and rodents, so working at location which was infested with both proved to be a insurmountable challenge, one in which trauma was attached to.
Because the mice so happily ran across the room during her lessons, she asked to move her classroom and art projects—which the mice would often sh*t on—into mine, and I obliged.
The children often asked me why their school was so dirty, and I never answered them honestly.
What I should’ve said was: “because the motherf*ckers who run this school system are trifling,” but that wouldn’t be professional, would it?
At the same South Philadelphia location, this time during the fall when I provided music instruction to students K-5 through a 21st Century learning grant, the janitors urged children and staff to stay out of the emergency exit stairwell, as they had trapped a rat inside.
One time they had trapped a rat inside the gym, which was really dirty—my students often found dead cockroaches lying around—so we had to find another activity, since the indoor basketball courts were unavailable.
The bathrooms inside this location usually smelled like a train station, though sometimes we were lucky and it smelled like dirty mop water sprinkled with soap bubbles. There was rarely ever soap in the boy’s bathroom, which didn’t matter I guess, cause my young men weren’t really fans of washing their hands.
I tell these types of stories often to friends and colleagues, and they look at me with disbelief. They can’t fathom what I describe, so they often assign my stories to the fiction section.
But a new report from the Office of the Philadelphia City Controller unfortunately validates my stories.
Mr. Alan Butkovitz, City Controller, last Wednesday released a report on the conditions of Philadelphia’s Public School buildings that uncovered several hazardous conditions at select schools, including exposed asbestos, electrical and fire dangers and water damage, according to a press release issued from his office.
Fire hazards, cockroaches, bathrooms in which human waste had become a fixture and other conditions in which if they appeared in a home would cause for a social service investigation, can be found in at least twenty Philadelphia schools.
Mr. Butkovitz understands the financial hardship of the cash-strapped district, which recently offered to give its superintendent a performance bonus, but he said the majority of the problems could be solved by the maintenance teams, which were diminished significantly because of budget cuts.
I was aware of these problems, which is why I publicly advocated not opening schools on time, because the conditions weren’t appropriate for children.
But you know where the toilets don’t have sh*t living in them? The school district’s headquarters. You know what’s not infested with mice and rodents? The school district’s headquarters. You know where you can find soap in the bathroom? The motherf*cking school district headquarters.
You know what I suggest? Moving the students into the school district’s headquarters and placing the bureaucrats in the buildings with safety hazards. Do that, and I guarantee you the low-cost problems that put children’s safety at risk will be solved in the blink of an eye.
You know who could use a good summer protest to ensure these problems are dealt with before children return in the fall? The school district’s headquarters.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™