From The Classroom: Yet Another Modest Proposal About Snow

| February 7, 2011

As promised, here is my first of two ‘modest proposals’ (yes, modeled a bit on Jonathan Swift’s immortal one) about the recent school closures due to snow. This first one pokes fun at the overcautious parent who starts demanding that schools close when he or she sees the first snowflake. Don’t fret, overbearing moms & dads–the satire about the gung-ho toughies who would send their child to school in a firestorm is yet to come.

If anyone reading this post works in the county school district, know that I appreciate all you do. I know that you do it to keep us safe, or, when there’s barely any snow to keep us safe from, you do it to avoid lawsuits. I’m not questioning your judgment (you’re the professionals) or trying to make fun at you–just making fun of neurotic parents.

If anyone reading this post is a neurotic parent, look! Something bad happened to a child! You might have more fun reading that.

Dear Superintendent Maxwell,

As has been stated by numerous people holding public office, running for public office, married to those running for public office, describing why those holding public office are unforgivably inept, and priests, our children are our country’s greatest resource. We must treasure them above all else, and I appreciate your efforts to ensure their safety in the midst of this wintry weather.

As our superintendent, you have been especially wise and cautious in your decisions to close schools whenever a hint of moisture–be it snow or ice or slush or sleet or a stale soda from McDonalds that some one poured our their car window–manifests itself and becomes a clear and present danger to our children. After all, it is a known fact that no one can drive in such conditions except for residents of Connecticut, Massachusets, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Alaska, and Montana.

Our buses simply are not strong, tough, and large enough to withstand an inch of snow; nor are our trained, competent and experienced bus drivers able to navigate as it is. Can we really put our children in such a situation? A single drop of water could cause a bus to flip over and into the Chesapeake Bay, drowning all our precious young ones, and I thank you for protecting them from such a fate.

I also thank you for protecting children from having to walk through the snow. It is a well-known fact that children hate snow and will do whatever they possibly can to avoid touching snow, seeing in snow, walking in snow, playing in snow, or talking about snow. The first snowfall of the year is an especially tragic event for children; on this day you can see them clustered around the windows of their classroom, bemoaning the arrival of the snow they so dread. As such, it is inhumane to force them to walk through the snow that they so detest, and I thank you for keeping them from having to do this.

However, there is always more that can be done to ensure that our children are safe. We already have to worry about the common cold, drugs, video games, huffing, television, guns, kidnappers, the internet, candy, unsanitary public restrooms, swine flu, cancer, skinned knees, grass stains, large dogs that are possibly rabid, small dogs that are possibly rabid, the neighbor’s teething son who is very likely rabid, and the possibility that parents today are smothering their children.

Thanks to your brilliant decisions and laudable tendency to delay or cancel school whenever a hint of moisture is in the air, you have made us feel almost safe about putting our child in a large yellow box on wheels teeming with germs, bullies, and driven by an adult whom we do not know; minus seatbelts! But there are still hazards on the roads that, while largely unrecognized, pose significant dangers to our children.

As any parent in the comments section of an article such as “Ten thousand things your child could choke on and how to demand that they all be burned in a fire” or “Annoying questions to ask your adolescent to determine whether or not they are doing drugs in such a way that you drive them to drugs” will tell you, it is a safe endeavor for a parent to drive children places as long as they are in their car seat with all safety restraints fastened and triple-checked, secured with a seatbelt for extra protection, and have their arms shackled to the side of said car seat so they do not lower the window and let in a bee. This, of course, does not make our cars (nor school buses, which decline to provide such safety) any less susceptible to accidents. Because of this, and because the school is committed to making sure students do not have to travel to school over roads that are unsafe due to obstructions, we demand that you close school tomorrow due to asphalt.

It is a known fact that driving on a road covered with asphalt can lead to a child’s imminent death. Why, in 2009, over thirty-three thousand people died when their cars crashed due to driving on hazardous, asphalt-covered roads. With the probability of a crash on a road covered with asphalt being as high as it is, we cannot in good conscience open school tomorrow and subject students, parents, and bus drivers to such dangerous conditions as they travel to school. School must close and remain closed until the county can clear all asphalt from the roads, which we estimate will take approximately a year and a half (except that stretch of Forest Drive in Annapolis that is impeded by a Verizon pole). At that time, we must evaluate the new roads and determine whether the replacement roads of finely woven silk are suitable for driving on.

Thank you very much for keeping our child alive and safe. Our family and priest are very thankful.

Safely yours,


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Category: COLUMNS

About the Author ()

Fish Stark is a 16-year-old Edgewater resident. He likes laughing, politics, and Reese's cups. His least favorite beverage is unleaded gasoline. His two novels can be read here: and here: His stand-up comedy and amateur filmmaking can be seen here:

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