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Monday, February 2, 2004

Mid-school blahs? Give me a break


Your voice: Chris Lemmon

On Friday, I awakened to another school delay and learned many districts were calling off classes for another snow day. That same morning, Patricia Gallagher Newberry wrote in her weekly Married with Children column, "Mid-school blahs bring family to its knees."

She was complaining how her children are having difficulty waking in the morning, and noted that she's no longer focusing on the monotony of homework, permission slips and the like.

She has got to be kidding.

Let's do a little math here. There were 31 days in January. My children did not return to school until the 5th day of January and attended until Jan 9. Semester exams were administered Jan. 13-15, which meant they were excused after each morning exam, often times home by noon.

They were off on Jan. 16 because of the end of the quarter, and it was a bonus four-day weekend with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day being celebrated on Jan. 19. The junior high and high school were off on Jan. 20 for a "planning day" for the teachers.

Students then returned for three straight days in a row, Jan. 21-23, then received another bonus three-day weekend when school was cancelled on Jan. 26 due to snow. They went full time three more days in a row, and then had a two-hour delay on Jan. 30.

Let's figure the math here.

Thirty-one days in the month. Five days are Saturdays and four days are Sundays. Two legal holidays (New Year's and Martin Luther King Day) round out 11 days these students should not have gone to school.

Actual days they attended - and I'm including the days of final exams with early dismissal and the two-hour snow delay day - equal 15 days, or just under 50 percent of the month these students were in classes or exams.

I really hope the children adjust here pretty soon before February rolls around, because they might be expected to attend classes five straight days in a row.

But then, that's what we working folk call "the real world."

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Chris Lemmon of Milford is the mother of four teenagers.

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