The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #149313   Message #3473718
Posted By: Don Firth
30-Jan-13 - 08:39 PM
Thread Name: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
I thoroughly enjoyed school. Having had polio at the age of 2 and having to walk with leg braces and canes, I had home teachers until early high school. And although with the home teachers I had a great deal of individual attention, it was for a couple of hours three times a week, with them leaving me lots of homework. I enjoyed the whole process and I possibly learned better than I would have in public school, but—

When I was fifteen, it was deemed that, although I still walked with a leg brace and aluminum forearm crutches, I was secure enough on my feet to weather the halls of a public school. And so I was.

The company of hordes of other kids, a host of new friends, some really inspirational teachers (a few clankers, but wotthehell, that's life!), and all kinds of after-school activities (chess club, art club, a drama group), I had a ball!!

And not every kid went on to college in those days. But I decided that I wanted to. One high school English teacher from whom I took Creative Writing sent one of my short stories into the Atlantic Monthly high school short story contest and it took an honorable mention. She encouraged me to pursue writing, so at the University of Washington I majored in English Literature, specializing in writing. This stood me in good stead for a couple of jobs (copy writer and news editor for a radio station—in addition to being on the air as a newscaster and DJ, and a technical writer and editor for the Bonneville Power Administration's residential weatherization program) and I have free-lanced about thirty published magazine articles so far.

I still have a number of writing projects in the works, but my studies in English Lit and the U. of W. occurred before my serious interest in folk music developed and I changed my major at the U. of W. to Music, in addition to studying British and American Ballads with Dr. David C. Fowler.

AND in high school, among other activities, I got involved in the student drama group, which gave me a feeling for stagecraft and performing, and turned out to be a great help later on.

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I hate to keep honking on Lizzie, but my message to her would be that, all things being equal, school is what YOU make of it. If you found school to be a negative experience, you might look in the mirror.

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Almost all the public schools in Seattle are built very much along the same lines, and the vast majority of classrooms have only one door. So if you're corked in, be it fire or someone with a gun—not good!

The idea of armed guards in a school seems a bit impractical, considering that Roosevelt High School, Lincoln, Garfield, Franklin and the half-dozen or so other high schools in Seattle all pretty much have the same floor plan and layout, having three floors, covering four square blocks, one main front entrance and at least five other entrances, and four different stairwells. Roosevelt also encloses two large (basketball court-size) gymnasiums, one small gymnasium, and a 450 seat full-featured theater / concert hall with a full stage complete with backstage and dressing rooms.

It would take a battalion of armed guards to cover the school adequately. Not practical. And apart from screening people going in and out like airport security, which, with a student body averaging around 1,500, all rushing to get to class on time—

No. Another solution is needed.

Don Firth