Friday, May 29, 2009

In the middle of...swine flu and oven fires

While the school year is winding down there seems to be an exponentially equal surge in hormones amongst the middle school set. Thankfully, we have thus far been blessed with relatively mild days, which has cut down on the musky odor of 12-14 year old boys that normally builds up over the course of the day, suffocating most of us by 9th period. I challenge the makers of "Axe" to stand there between classes and decide if they are really doing pubescent males a favor by adding to the already pungent aroma, "Febreeze" would be the wiser choice.

We experienced our very own "Pandemic" with the H1N1 virus this week. Exactly 1 student has tested positive. But in the wisdom that is epidemic in Livingston, that child went on a church retreat while sick because kids here get what they want, regardless of how it affects others. The many other students who he/she possibly infected showed up for school on Tuesday only to be sent home and "quarantined" for 72 hours. This also helped to cut down on the odor issue, fewer bodies = less B.O. The scare led to increased warnings to staff and students; wash hands more often and avoid close contact with others who may be ill. Apparently the 7th graders I caught mugging it up in the stairwell misinterpreted the close contact message, the kids appear to hear only half of what any adult might say to them.

The kids, however, are not the only ones whose judgement seems to be impaired by the approaching summer season. I was in a meeting today, discussing the progress of a special ed student and his impending move to the high school. Several other extremely well educated professionals and the students parents were also in attendance. During the course of our discussion, the fire alarm rang. Students filed quickly out of the building, as they have been trained by us for years to do. The group I was with decided to shut off the lights, close the door and continue our meeting, basically ignoring every safety lesson we've ever been taught, after all the dad had to get back to work! Well, as is usually the case, we quickly realized the folly of our action. The fire alarm droned on and on and on, well beyond the normal 10 minutes it normally takes to evacuate 800 kids and 100 adults. We all surmised this was no ordinary fire drill. As we nervously awaited the "all clear", we started weighing our options. Should we file out and risk being caught in the act or possibly interfering with firefighters? Wait it out and climb out onto the adjacent roof when necessary? Luckily we did not have to act on our plan B's; the call to return to the building was made. The fire had been in the oven in the "foods" classroom and was extinguished quickly and without further incident. Let this be a lesson to us all-Never ignore a fire alarm!