Ahh, yes, another rant from yours truly :)
Sent to you with lots of love and concern and hopefully not too much righteousness or bitchiness.
This is a 'what the hell is wrong with people' kind of post; stemming from an event that made me wonder about some folks: Were you raised in a barn?
M has his first day of school at the new elementary school tomorrow. To prepare him for yet another new environment (the third in a year since we moved and he is no longer going to the preschool he finished out the last school year in) we wanted to take him to the school playground as much as possible to give him the lay of the land and make him feel more comfortable.
We live in an area where the schools just don't have a lot of money. We knew this coming in, but chose this coastal quality of life because of all of the other benefits that go along with the terrain. We love it here--we truly do. Our family does more things together. The weather is such that we can be outside just about any day of the year. But damn if this school (and all of the schools on the coast) isn't just horribly rundown...and overrun with litter. It sits right off of the Pacific Coast Highway and the kids get to look at the ocean anytime they step out of their classroom. Amazing, right? Well, they also get to see tons of trash that rude ass people chose to dump there simply because there isn't a trash can on the campus, and they're too lazy to take it home with them and dump it there.
Every time we played there this summer, I spent quite a bit of time telling little B not to play with various trash items littering the playground mulch. Yesterday he tried to put someone's water bottle in his mouth. I'd had it and was appalled that my kiddo was going to start school here on Monday and would have to navigate trash with every step he took in the playground. So I did something about it...I spent nearly two hours of my afternoon yesterday picking up trash at his school. I can honestly say that there was rarely a time that I took more than five paces in any direction without bending down to pick something else up. Here is a short list of the things I collected:
-My personal favorite: 16 grocery bags of dog poo. Yes, that's right...16! (I counted). And I also picked up two other piles that someone wasn't kind enough to place in the grocery bag. Seriously, people, if you take the time to pick up the poo, can't you take the time to dispose of it properly? The piles were all laying on the blacktop that separates my child's classroom from the playground. Totally freaking disgusting.
-A homemade, Coke can bong & beer cans. I expected this. There's not a lot to do here on the coast, so the teenagers end up drinking in random places and smoking lots of pot. And we all know that teenagers are generally selfish, slovenly beings so we half expect them to litter like this. Still doesn't make it right to find it in an elementary school playground, but not surprising either.
-A pair of children's boxer shorts & several socks.
-Ahhh...this one was fun...two dirty diapers. Seriously?
-Too-many-to-count plastic wrappers from juice box straws as well as the straws.
-10 bandaids. Used. Ewww.
-Someone's lunch which consisted of: corn husks from tamales, two corn cobs, organic apple sauce, a container and lid from a Gerber toddler meal and the bag they brought them there in, laying next to it all.
-A shattered beach chair. Someone actually took the time to throw it down the stairs from sidewalk on the street above the schoolyard. It must have made a neato 'bang' that delighted them for the whole night. Wait. These were probably the kids who also made the Coke can bong.
The usual suspects were also there: candy wrappers, a crazy number of ziploc bags, water bottles and soda cans, sticks from lollipops, bags from chips, etc.
Three teachers stopped to thank me for my efforts. I realized later that I neglected to take the time to thank them for what they do for our kids. Cleaning up playgrounds isn't the job of our teachers who already make a meager enough salary. And if there isn't money enough to pay for the proper maintenance person to handle it, then it should fall to members of the community. I am sad that with less than two days left before school started no one else had thought to do what I did.
And my next endeavor? I plan on going out to that playground again next week; armed with some heavy duty work gloves and a shovel, to pull up the enormous milkweeds that border both of the play areas. These milkweeds are about 2 feet x 3 feet and are full of sharp thorns that would really hurt if someone pushed you into them.
Sorry to continue my lecture from my pedestal, (but this is my blog, dammit!), but I find it utterly incomprehensible that we spend 100s of billions of dollars to rebuild a country we invaded, and yet we can't find a little bit of money to pay the salary of a maintenance guy at one of our own schools.
My kid deserves better. Your kid deserves better. Get involved. You don't have to have a lot of money to make a difference. Heck, you don't have to have any money to make a difference. Just help where help is needed. Don't turn a blind eye and hope that someone else will do it for you.