OPINION COLUMNS

A week washed away

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, October 6, 2018
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In the year of our Lord 2018, a flood of epic proportions cascaded through Decatur High School.

As Mother Nature spit in the eye of DISD administration and the campus closure was announced, trouble brewed in households across the district. There was an uprising of younger siblings.

“It’s not fair” echoed across the land, and parents braced themselves for the longest week in DISD history.

Kristen Tribe

Initially, the closure was just Monday through Wednesday, and I had assured my eighth grader that her brother, a sophomore, would be making these days up. I had no way of knowing for sure, but I was trying to de-escalate the situation. The wheels were coming off fast.

Meanwhile, my 15-year-old was celebrating, and rightfully so. It was the highlight of the school year thus far. He pondered what he would do with his “five-day weekend” and the delight of an unexpected fall break. This fueled the fire of my middle school darling, and left me in the middle, high-fiving one kid and consoling the other.

Monday rolled around, and we shifted into high gear. The routine we had been working weeks to fine-tune was thrown out the window as my son, who does not yet have his driver’s license, still had cross country workout but alas, would not be staying on campus for the school day. He needed a ride home … which was sometime after the 8 a.m. hour and well into a meeting that I was supposed to be covering.

No big deal, right? It can’t be helped. I’m a “go-with-the-flow” gal and can handle anything.

Until they announced school would be closed for the entire week. My groan, and those from other parents, could probably be heard across the county. Give those kids life jackets, mops, whatever we need to do to get them back in school and keep the peace.

The grocery store shelves looked as if there was an ice storm as parents raided the aisles to keep teenagers fed all day, every day. Parents were running out of cash as their kids wanted to go and do things. I’m surprised there wasn’t a local gas shortage during this glorious week of freedom, as those with a driver’s license used it.

The weeklong closure announcement was soon followed by the declaration that the absences wouldn’t be made up in full days. Instead, the school day at the high school would just be 15 minutes longer the remainder of the school year – a punch in the gut to younger siblings.

And most of the minutes would be added to lunch, not actual class time. Heads exploded at the middle school. Their older siblings got a week off school and now have a longer lunch. They are convinced there is no justice.

I’ve heard the unrest stretched beyond siblings to extended family. Even younger cousins were upset they had to get up early every day last week, while their older counterparts had a week of leisure. I can think of several couples – one half of which work at the high school and the other elsewhere in the district – that probably suffered a bit of strife during the flood days, too.

Last week was an opportune time for the “life’s not fair” lesson, but I’ll admit, my delivery was half-hearted. Even to me, it sounded like “blah, blah, blah.”

But here we are one six weeks behind us – finally. We’ve halted construction of the ark, quieted the sibling unrest and school is back in session. Parents are taking a deep breath and wondering if anything this school year will be “normal.”

The year of the great flood and the longest week ever will be remembered, both fondly and with disdain, by DISD students, depending on their age.

History has been made.

Kristen Tribe is the assistant publisher of the Messenger and mother of two, who needs a bit of routine in her life to save her sanity.

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