Same to you, administrators!

At graduation, we also honor adults whose shoulders carry such weight

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School administrators don’t get a lot of love. They get a lot more angry phone calls.

But this time of year, as administrators and teachers sit for hours and hours and hours to bid farewell to seniors at multiple graduation ceremonies, we’d like to toss them a bouquet.

Let’s face it. We leave a colossal amount of societal ills on the schoolhouse steps. We expect schools not just to keep order and safely transport and feed our children (often two times a day). We also expect them to spot child abuse and report it, and to navigate messy divorces and disputes over who gets little Johnny and when.

They have to worry about weapons and drugs and bullying and adult-style assaults. We’re watching over their shoulders when crime does occur in the schools, making sure they follow not only a myriad of laws but also truckloads of regulations.

And, of course, there’s the little matter of dealing with irate parents.

Somehow in the midst of all that, there’s time for teaching.

We need to take stock of what we’re piling on these folks, and the elephantine and interminable responsibilities we put on them. To deliver us our kids, intact and grown into young men and women, after 12 years of chaotic comings and goings – well, that’s a Herculean feat. And we’re probably not as grateful as we should be.

There are times, of course, when a school bureaucracy is out of touch and could use a paradigm shift. We found, for instance, the Burke County district appallingly dismissive of frantic parents’ concerns Saturday when six of its school buses on the way to Six Flags collided on I-20 near Covington, injuring 65. An automated message told parents to pick up their kids at the school at 4 p.m. – but they left parents waiting two and a half hours after that.

“I didn’t know where they were,” one parent said. “I have been getting updates from Facebook. The school should have told us something.”

“We were all available all day to anybody who had any questions,” a district spokeswoman shrugged.

Sorry. Not good enough. Not when you’re dealing with so many precious young lives and anxious parents. If Burke County thinks it can’t learn anything from this episode or do a better job of communicating in the future, then they’re the ones who’ve got some learning to do.

But again, these folks have a responsibility so enormous it wouldn’t fit on most of our shoulders.

So, to the administrators and teachers who’ve been congratulating our kids for having been guided through a 12-year
obstacle course, we say:

Right back at you.

Comments (9) Add comment
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desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 05/22/12 - 05:08 am
3
0
Inexcusable comes to mind,

Inexcusable comes to mind, but incompetent fits better. You don't put kids on a bus - especially a 6 bus convoy through Atlanta -without a plan to communicate with parents from both the buses and the school. You make a manifest with contact numbers, and give a copy to the teacher/adult on each bus and a master copy to the person/teacher in overall in charge on the bus and to someone staying behind. If something happens, you inform the parents and keep them up dated. You meet parents at the pick up point at the designated time, inform them of the situation, and keep them updated. If you screw this up, apologize, fix your system, and don't hide behind excuses like "your childrens safety was our first priority."

agustinian
671
Points
agustinian 05/22/12 - 06:34 am
2
0
Presumptuous?

Not sure I share the AC's view of "administrators" -- they come across as very bureaucratic, and top heavy with people and salaries. What does an Assistant Superintendent do that justifies a 6 figure salary?

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 05/22/12 - 06:38 am
0
0
Sorry, but accidents happen

Sorry, but accidents happen and buses don't often have them. And when this one happened I would guess that most everyone got all the information that was available. Whether the school administration was as informed as the parents, I don't have a clue. With cell phones as ubiquitous as they are, I have got to believe that everyone knew there was a delay in the return. I doubt someone negligently suggested that parents pick up their kids at 4pm. The delay probably occurred after that message was sent. Regardless, don't make people who were utterly without fault feel guilty. There is enough drama to go around as it is. I am sure the lawyers are gearing up.

scoobynews
3771
Points
scoobynews 05/22/12 - 08:24 pm
1
1
As stated before the first

As stated before the first plan of action is to insure the safety of your charges. As for calling in a timely manner that is kind of hard to do when you are accounting for every child and making sure everyone is ok. Once the calls started even if you only had 10 people on your calling tree to call 10 people could take a long time to cycle through if you were on the phone with one family for 10 minutes that is 10 times 10 a grand total of 100 minutes. You are looking at close to 2 hours before you finish calling the list. This incident proved one thing - you can't make everyone happy and there is always a complainer. There are only so many staff and adults on these buses with students far out numbering them. What if one had to ride in an ambulance with a child well that is one call list that they want get to for a while. I would be more greatful in knowing someone held my child's hand on the way to the ER than calling 9 other parents of kids who were just fine. Give these Burke County people a break! Where any of you THERE! I wasn't but I sure can imagine the flip side of this situation without thinking they had no care or consideration for the parents I think they showed their FIRST concern was for those kids. Many who I am sure were scared and shaken up.

allhans
23298
Points
allhans 05/22/12 - 08:24 am
0
1
It seems that one bad, or

It seems that one bad, or careless driver, brought about the entire Burke county debacle.
BTW..If you aren't available they can't reach YOU!

Little Lamb
44045
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 08:25 am
0
1
Impatience

ACES wrote:

An automated message told parents to pick up their kids at the school at 4 p.m. – but they left parents waiting two and a half hours after that.

The children had to wait a lot longer than that.

Why is everyone so impatient these days?

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 05/22/12 - 09:00 am
3
0
Its called things like

Its called things like standard operating procedure and best practices, and contacting parents in the event of an emergency situation and manifesting have been around for years. These schools have been transporting kids to special events for years so there is no reason to cut them any slack. If they couldn't execute for this, just imagine the chaos they would inspire in the event of a natural disaster or other real world incident.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 05/22/12 - 10:32 am
0
0
we've got a bunch of shiny

we've got a bunch of shiny new buildings, and maybe a handful of bright students and dedicated teachers that can work through the red tape, unnecessary standardized testing, and obfuscatory teaching materials to succeed. RCBOE needs way more scrutinizing.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/22/12 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Administrators and teachers

Administrators and teachers are two different things.

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