Friday Open Thread

I was listening to KUOW's The Record where they were discussing challenges during the snow days. Jessyn Farrell said that she believes the district and the city should talk more and earlier.

I also note from Facebook many parents who were not happy with the state of the sidewalks around schools. Whose responsibility is that?  I would assume the district's but is that the entire sidewalk around the block? Just in front of the school?  If someone got hurt, could they sue both the City and the district?

Parents, how was it coming back to school?  Did you think it was safe to get there?  I note that at the school I volunteer at, we had no recess which I assume is because it was cold and the playground may have had some icy spots.

Another issue - both for schools and in general - is that the snow is hard on people with disabilities who have challenges in regular weather, no less snow days. 

I also note that parents want to know what happens to make up the lost school days.  As I previously reported, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said waivers may be granted but not until the end of the winter season.
I saw in a previous thread that one teacher, Michael Rice, said one option might be to end the Wednesday early release days until the time is made up.  That seems like the most sensible idea given that many parents and staff have made plans for spring break and/or summer vacation.  One reader said that many clubs/activities have meetings in those time slots but this is a pretty big deal - kids could be in school until June 27th which seems off to me.

Great interview with Henry Winkler who grew up with dyslexia and has written a series of children's books, with Lin Oliver, about a character with dyslexia.

Speaking of disabilities, a lengthy article discussing what students with disabilities face in school shooting situations.
With minimal training, inaccessible recommendations and guidelines that offer little beyond “considering disability,” students, parents and teachers are left few resources to navigate these life-or-death scenarios. It is often their responsibility to make sure the person with a disability is included in the school’s plan — a burden required of no other student demographic.

“The standard recommendation now is more or less ‘run, hide, fight,’” said Irwin Redlener, M.D., director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “Depending on the person with a disability, it may be very difficult to do any of those steps, and under those circumstances, the school, in advance, needs to think about the needs of people in the school.”
Seattle high school seniors and college undergraduates are invited to enter the 7th annual essay scholarship competition created by The Seattle Public Library Foundation to honor civic leader Stimson Bullitt.

The Library Foundation created the Stimson Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship Competition to commemorate Bullitt's dedication to the community and his appreciation of individuals who were willing to go against public opinion and take a stand to better the world.

Essays exploring civic courage may be submitted online now through March 15, 2019. Three scholarships will be awarded: the author of the winning essay will receive $5,000, and the authors of the two second-place essays will each receive $2,500.

The competition is open to high school seniors and college undergraduate students who live, work or attend school in Seattle. Participants must have a Library card issued by The Seattle Public Library.

Saturday community meeting with Director Harris from 3-5 pm at the Delridge Branch Library.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
I can tell you that as a disabled person it's very had on me when it snows but it's not just that. When there's a fire alarm drill at my work, I'm forced to wait in the stairwell until the firemen arrive and remove me in a gurney. Your trash cans put out on the sidewalk block my access to my bus stop. I won't even start with the short comings of metro. Even with the ADA and it's laws a disabled person can not receive compensation over violations of the ADA, only lawyers can.

Please try
Street Walkers said…
I've been digging and digging looking for sidewalks under all this snow, and do you know what, Mayor Durkan? There are no sidewalks down there! That's right, 26% of the city has no sidewalks. In my neighborhood the students (and everyone else) are all walking IN the roadway. We normally walk on the shoulder, but in weather like this it's covered with weirdly parked cars, a mountain of plowed ice, and 8 inches of old snow. Kids are walking in the street.
Anonymous said…
Every time it snows in Seattle and shuts down the schools, I inevitably have Midwestern trolls on Facebook ("friends") who harp on how weak and pathetic Seattle is. These friends live in flat, low, well-plowed neighborhoods I might add. But I agree there are real issues for many, many people having a really hard time getting around in snowy, icy, and slushy conditions who are invisible to the rest of us.

In SE and N and NNE Seattle there are a lot of kids who just don't have good shoes for weather like this, and I see many kids walking into school either without coats or with only a thin hoodie. When parents complain about indoor recess on snowy days, they bristle when remindeded of kids without those clothes, as though they don't matter. I can't quite understand that.

We have a lot of schools that don't lie on arterials whose streets and parking lots didn't get plowed until last Wednesday night. I'm sure the schools in NW Seattle and Madison Park were accessible before that, but "forgotten" schools need the attention of the city for access too. And, yes, 26% of Seattle has no sidewalks, so you find kids walking to school in the middle of the road, the only place it's clear, sharing it with cars heading to their same school. Many of even the plowed roads were plowed only one lane wide, so if there's twoway traffic it just compounds the hazard. It's incredibly dangerous. Having a car is not a requirement to attend public school, and not every family has a car or enough cars for one parent to make it to work and the other to get kids to school.

Special education buses don't run even on late-start days, so those kids have to be driven by parents or stay at home when parents can't drive.

Another invisible population are kids who rely on parents to get them to school, but the parents have mobility issues or have other disabilities (MS, diabetic issues with feet, asthma - I could go on). More than a few kids at are school are living with and being raised by grandparents, who in many cases are wise not to want to break a hip walking a child to school. Snowy, slushy, and icy conditions are real mobility challenges for parents, even if the kids could fare alright on their own.

But if your child is younger than 8, you risk having someone call CPS if you let them walk to school alone - especially brown and black kids. It's something majority families probably never pause to think about.

Snow days are a hassle, but many don't realize what the mere act of getting to school entails for our neighbors and classmates. I wish not only that the mayor and superintendent could gain clarity on this, and I will tell them to, yes, but also that the able would remember to chip in for the disabled if they can.

Invisible Disabilities

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