All Sunday evening we heard the wail of sirens and felt uneasy. Late that same night I learned that while I was “flaming away” writing my last post, a fire was destroying the house of my son’s classmate. Everyone escaped without harm, but all the family’s worldly goods and pets were lost to the flames. (I had to groan when I saw how our rinky-dink local paper ineptly summed up the story with the headline: “Guinea pigs die in fire that destroys Albemarle home”).

I know people in our community who are whipping out checkbooks and going to their ATMs to help this family. At tonight’s PTO meeting we will discuss what we as a school can do to help. I’ve been told that my funding proposal for our Make a Difference Day is “too divisive” to even be put to a vote because the money will not be used for “our children.” So instead, I’ll propose that the PTO write a big fat check to this family immediately. NO fundraising. Just fork it over, please. This is one of “our” children, and there’s an immediate need. We’ve got the funds. Let’s show some compassion and human decency.

And how about this for another proposal? I’ve also just learned that our guidance counselor has been going to churches and other organizations outside of our school for vouchers and donations to help the very few needy children at our school. When parents are asked to replenish the front office’s snack supply “for kids who’ve forgotten theirs,” what they’re really doing unwittingly is providing Goldfish and Cheez It meals for the very few of OUR kids, who wouldn’t  get enough to eat otherwise. Why couldn’t we put aside some of our PTO money to help with these expenses?

This is a school that draws from some of the wealthiest country club neighborhoods in this county. This is a school whose PTO has an obscene amount of money in the bank. If this PTO is really so concerned that the money get used for our own children, then for God’s sake, let’s unclench our fists and use it for our own children!

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