Yesterday my middle schooler came home with a permission slip for a school field trip to Dollywood with a catch: The price is $43 and only the first 75 students to return a check and signed permission slip get to go. That’s not right! Additionally, the field trip will not allow the students on the water rides because Knox County Schools got all trippy after the death of a student at the waterfall 6 years ago. Yes that was a tragedy but we should have learned from the failings of supervision at that trip and continued water related activities but instead Knox County Schools decided bubble wrapping the children will protect them. Guess what? That won’t protect them either. I suppose Knox County Schools is assuming that of the 2.5 million visitors to Dollywood, our trip will be the one where highly inspected, super safety protected, engineered to simulate danger in the most cautionary way, equipment will fail at the same time all the trained and licensed lifeguards happen to be taking smoke breaks. It could happen! Denying water rides at a theme park? That’s not right! Can we make it better? What about not allowing digital cameras? Yes! Let’s prevent our children from the memorializing their time with their friends by not allowing them to take pictures. Granted, the school is afraid of being responsible for loss, theft or damage to a digital camera. Well guess what Sherlock! If I send a digital camera to school with my child and he loses it, that’s between him and me. I have an old digital camera sitting on my desk wasting away. If it got lost I’m out nothing. Of course, you want me to go buy an antique point and shoot disposable camera that is limited to 24 shots and cost an arm and a leg to print some thumbs over lenses. Brilliant! No wonder our children lag behind. Banning cameras? That’s not right! Eventually we will ban, regulated, lock up, and overprotect ourselves to being scared to death. What will you deny then? Don’t be scared or we’ll suspend you! Well guess what? That’s not right!
Oh, and today, my son brought home a permission slip for the band field trip. Guess where they’re going? Dollywood! (different day) That’s not right! For all the wonderful things we have in East TN, can our schools find nothing fun and mind expanding for our children? Oh, no, of course not; Knox County Schools is too worried about my digital camera. That’s not right!