• Jennifer Meliton

The heat divides.

If you live in North America, chances are it's pretty hot where you are right now. In fact

it's been pretty hot for about three weeks now. Let me explain what this means in terms of "school". Large brick building+parking lots on 1-4 sides=massive insulator. The longer it's hot, the warmer the bricks, the warmer it stays inside. In Western Pennsylvania many of the schools were built in the energy conscious 70's or before and chose to nix AC. When the heat index was predicted to hit 99 degrees today, a good number of local superintendents chose to send the children home early. With classroom temperatures hitting 95 and the humidity hovering between 50-85% it was a sound, albeit divisive decision.

When the decisions were being made last night, social media blew up with polarizing opinions. Shocking, I know. Actual quotes:

"No one has ever learned or taught anything that had an educational impact on an early dismissal."

"Talk about snowflakes... man get a grip."

"Back in my day, I went to school without air. We opened the windows, made paper fans and drank plenty of water. We survived. So did generations before us! We are coddling these kids too much nowadays."

First, a few things to consider. "back in the day" the schools left the windows open all night, propped the doors open all day, and usually started after Labor Day, when the weather was historically cooler. It's been years since we've had a heat wave of this intensity and duration. The heat is survivable at best and can be deadly at worst. A decision needed to be made.

Like most other decisions made by public figures, sides were taken and lines in the sand drawn by people who haven't set foot in a school for decades. Strident opinions are bandied about like toy swords, but their misguided words and between-the-lines-innuendo are irresponsible and contribute to the angry, disagreeable society in which we find ourselves.

Today it's the heat. In a few months it will be the cold. It doesn't matter because the sides fall in place, ready to sling words like weapons without even knowing or caring about the potential impact. Gone are the days when we respected authority because we knew they were highly trained in their field. Had studied for years learning to make well-informed decisions. Respect for the sake of respect and civility.

We preach to our kids to #bethekindkids but what kind of examples are being set for them? Then again, the kindness of our kiddos is just what the doctor ordered to cool

off the hot heads out there who have to take issue with just about everything.

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