Pam’s been working mainly at the inner-city high school in Savannah now for almost 2 months. She dreads it and I don’t blame her. In fact, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Savannah city schools (I bring out what I want to stress here in bold; Pam’s HS is Alfred E. Beach HS):
Savannah is home to most of the schools in the Chatham County public school system. Public schools in Savannah are considered poor in relation to most of the rest of the state and nation. Schools in Georgia perform poorly compared to the rest of the nation, which performs poorly compared to the rest of the world. That situation, coupled with Savannah’s history of segregation, white flight and a wide-scale busing plan (1970-1992), has given rise to an extraordinary number of private schools in the city. Savannah also hosts two state universities and other public colleges but only one private college. Although the public school system is in a poor state, some progress has been made to improve test scores.
Notable high schools:
- Savannah High School – the city’s oldest, public high school, relocated to a new campus in east Savannah in 1999
- Alfred E. Beach High School – historically and currently African-American public high school and Savannah High’s crosstown rival
- Groves High School – public high school serving western Chatham County (westside Savannah, Garden City, Pooler, and Bloomingdale)
- Johnson High School – public high school serving eastside Savannah and Thunderbolt, and the 2003 Peachtree Regional Winner
- Herschel V. Jenkins High School – public high school serving midtown and portions of the southside, a 1997 National Blue Ribbon School. Since 2004, enrollment has skyrocketed, increasing from 1100 to 1700 in just two years (but near levels in the 1960s and 1970s, when enrollment usually exceeded 1600).
- Windsor Forest High School – public high school that serves much of the southside: Windsor Forest, Georgetown, and White Bluff
- St. Andrew’s School – an independent pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college preparatory school located on Wilmington Island.
- Savannah Arts Academy – the first dedicated performing and visual arts school in Savannah. Students concentrate in one of the arts majors: communications technology, dance, instrumental and/or vocal music, theatre arts, and visual arts.The Arts Academy is a public high school and admission is competitive.It is located in the old Savannah High School building on Washington Avenue.
So why does she dread this school system? It’s definitely not the fact that it’s inner-city or even race-related, because Pam spent 2 years in inner-city Cleveland and actually enjoyed it. So what makes this so different? Why do I get just as frustrated as Pam when she calls me during the day? Because this is the phone call I get from her at least once a week: “We just had another bomb threat in the school and had to evacuate to the middle school.” Why the hell would any dumb-ass kid think a bomb threat is funny?!?!
Before I go deeper, I gotta step back: we were all in school once. I happened to be one of the little hellion kids that liked to pull little pranks and stunts. At the time I knew (for the most part) where to draw the line. Calling in a bomb threat never even crossed my mind, or any of the other 1000 people that I went to school with. Ok, ok, maybe the prank of the 80’s and 90’s was pulling the Fire Alarm; though I never did this myself, I remember it happening a few times a year when I was in Middle School (6th – 8th grade). Like a bomb threat, we’d evacuate the school and within 5-10 minutes all types of emergency vehicles would be there and within ½ hour, we’d be back in class. I’m sure I found a little amusement in it at the time, but never enough to start doing it. And this was Middle School… I’d like to think that we all matured a little by the time we hit High School, because shit like that just didn’t happen in High School (at least not at the one I went to).
That being said, I think calling in a Bomb Threat is much worse than pulling the Fire Alarm:
- Look at the times; in the past 5-6 years, bombs have become the new workhorse of someone “making a point”. Call it terrorists, insurgents, “freedom” fighters or whatever the hell you want. Ever since 9/11, the World (not just the U.S.) has been on a constant heightened status over bombs, bomb threats, and other violent acts of cowards that only know one way on how to make their extremist points heard, and don’t even show face to do it.
- It involves a little more than just the Fire Dept checking the school for fires. The police have to come. The Bomb Squad eventually comes, and wastes 2-4 hours of the day making sure there is no bomb to ensure the safety of these dick-head kids that are calling in the threats.
- As if these kids weren’t lacking on the education scale enough (again, see what Wikipedia said above), now they’ve just wasted 2-4 hours of actually learning something that might actually help them make some legit money someday (instead of money made by stealing and drug-dealing).
I realize that it very well could be just 10% screwing it up for the whole school, but enough is enough. Today’s bomb-threat marks the 18th bomb threat called in this school year to Chatham County Schools, Beach High School accounting for the lion’s share of them. You would think that the 90% would be pretty fed up at this point and pummel the shit out of the 10% that’s doing this.
Apparently, the school district is getting pretty pissed about this too: they are now forcibly taking away cellphones (I guess about 99% of the students illegally have them in school) because 13 of the 18 bomb threats have been called in via cellphone, and once they catch the kids, they try to throw the book at them with up to 5 years in prison, a $1000 fine and restitution for all the emergency services called in.
But wait, it gets better!! A few of the dickheads got caught last week. I caught a little bit of it on the news. But get this: the parents were upset about the penalties because “he’s a good kid” or “he didn’t mean anything by it” or “I think you’re being too harsh on him.” Yeah… lemme sympathize with you for a minute… ok, done.
If I was in charge, I could easily rectify this situation: I wouldn’t even throw the guilty kids in jail. I’d have them packed onto a cargo plane and airdropped into downtown Baghdad wearing shirts with big lettering saying “Bomb this, Asshole!” If parents tried to back their kid or downplay the actions of their kid, they’d be on the plane too (wearing the same shirts), because at this point, they’re probably 75% of the reason the kid acts the way he does. Of course, I would have a cargo plane pick up any survivors a month or so later (if any of them made it that long), so they can share their new-found respect for bombs with all their dickhead friends. That’s just me though.
UPDATE: This morning, 9Feb07, two more bomb threats were called in simultaneously, one at Pam’s high school (Beach) and one at Groves high school. Unbelievable…