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  • Raising a City of Wimps

       January 07, 2005

    Madison got around 9 inches of snow Wednesday night/Thursday early AM. While that's a lot of snow, this is Wisconsin, and we're well equipped to deal with that. Most of the smaller towns around the city closed their schools Thursday, but Madison schools remained open. I expect Madison schoolchildren to be upset by that, but I don't expect their parents to whine. But, this being Madison, they do:

    Unlike most Madison students, Andrew and David Alberts had a snow day Thursday along with students in Verona, Middleton and other neighboring districts.

    Their mother, Pamela Stoika, decided not to send Andrew, 11, and David, 8, to Lowell Elementary, about four blocks from their home.

    It was her way of protesting the district's decision to remain open despite snow- covered streets that she and others said jeopardized the safety of students as well as teachers and staff - many whom travel across town or from outside of Madison.

    Other parents, teachers and students also were upset that Madison schools were open after the city got up to 9 inches of snow between Tuesday night and Thursday morning.

    "It's appalling," said Lucy Frembgen, a substitute physical education teacher who lives in Middleton and turned down a job Thursday at Cherokee Middle School because many streets had not been plowed.

    "It was pretty treacherous," said Frembgen, who also experienced "terrible" conditions traveling to and from Sennett Middle School on Wednesday.

    You know what's actually appalling? A mother who won't send her kids four blocks to school?

    Of course, these kids weren't the only ones taking the day off. 318 Madison teachers were absent from school yesterday. I'll accept the excuses that some of them were gone because they live outside Madison and their own children were home from school. But what about the rest of these teachers and what about the, for example, 25 to 30 percent of Chavez Elementary's 570 students who were also absent?

    Thursday morning, I got up, shoveled my car out and drove carefully across town to work. All of my co-workers managed to show up. Around the area, thousands of other people also went to work. Why are students and teachers so special? If the rest of us can get to our jobs and go on as normal, why can't they suck it up and get to school?

    The Madison School District is "noted for staying open, even when surrounding districts and other schools in the city close. The last time the district closed schools was Feb. 8, 2001, said Syke, who attributed that closing to icy roads." They should be commended for attempting to set a good example for the kids. When things get rough, you don't sit at home and cry like a baby, you tough it out.

    I think too many Madisonians would be content to raise a city of wimps who have no idea how to deal with adversity. God help us all if they succeed.

    Posted by at January 7, 2005 04:42 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Stacy at January 7, 2005 06:15 PM

    I went to kindergarten in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1976. We had just moved there from California, but my mom made me walk to school with a couple of older neighborhood kids because...and I quote, "Kids here walk to school no matter the weather. If I take you, they'll make fun of you."

    So, I walked it...every day...and it was COLD! But, my mom was right!

    How times have changed, huh? :)

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Eric Anderson at January 7, 2005 09:33 PM

    I agree with you completely in principle, but I have to admit that I took yesterday off of work because of the roads. Not necessarily the roads, mostly my driveway and the fact that I don't own a shovel but do own a rear-wheel drive car.

    I'm getting a shovel and snow tires tomorrow so I can erase the traits that must have rubbed off on me when I lived in Madtown. I did at least make a 45 minute effort to get my car dislodged which may mean I'm on the right track. Yes, I do live in Wisconsin without a shovel, so maybe not the fast track.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Drew at January 10, 2005 08:38 AM

    In Austin we shut down the city at the threat of ice or snow. Nine inches would probably result in half the city starving to death.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Tony McRush at February 23, 2005 07:57 AM

    It is immoral to fancy bullies
    Down with snobby bullying thugs.
    What is wrong with wimps.




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