Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Students, those precious students

School's out for summer....
The last days of school place horrible stress on students and teachers alike.  For the teachers, it is a sprint to finish report cards, say "good-bye" to students, clean out classrooms, return texts to the library, and everything else.  It was truly a sprint, because all the tasks were a finish line that depleted teacher resources, both physical and emotional.

Hard on the students?  In what possible way could leaping into summer vacation be difficult? Daylight-filled soccer games with friends? Time to ride bikes through neighborhoods?  Eat watermelon?

That is a small percentage of student populations enjoying summer with those activities.

But for the other percentage, summer is horrific.  

These students live in small apartments, surrounded by relatives from Mexico.  There might be 20+ people sleeping on the floor, with children in corners on a blanket.   Postage size green play areas cannot accommodate all the children from those apartments.  Green grass is trampled to dirt. Parents take them to a park?

You gotta be kidding me.
Parents are working two jobs.  Cleaning houses, picking produce, working as maids in hotels, and other low paying jobs.  Food?  Slim pickings there.  Who watches the little children?  The bigger children watch them.

Once school ends, so does the free breakfasts and lunches.  Students came to school, having not eaten since the last school lunch.

Once school ends, structured classrooms, which provides friends and learning, disappear.

Once school ends, students may move back to Mexico or out closer to the produce fields, where they can also pick strawberries, beans, melon, and just about every food product that they cannot have in their house.

Is reform in the works? Possibly.
Side by side with their parents, students learn to pick quickly. Depending on the policies of the produce companies, students and their parents may or may not keep or eat some of the produce.

Those students, those precious students have tears in their eyes when they leave the school grounds.  And so does the teacher.***

***There are programs that provide free food, clothing, and activities, but not every family can access them. I know you can feel my anger.  You probably feel the same.   


  1. The cracks that these children fall through are chasms. A blight on our affluent countries priorities...

  2. Never thought about it that way. That is an awful reality indeed. And picking anything is damn hard work too.

  3. I wonder when we will collectively care enough to tip the balance. We all boycotted grapes and other produce in support of Chavez and the United Farm Workers. But, then inertia took over and the movement dwindled. Who is watching the children?

  4. Your post is right on. Being poor is so hard on families and more must be done.

    We have just started a program at our community center for children 18 and under to receive food and help during the summer months. We will help some, but many will not get the assistance they need because they do not know about it or do not have transportation to get to our facility. Communities know the need and try to do what they can.

  5. Ah yes, the pains of summer. We've still got a couple weeks...


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