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During the recent snow storm, pedestrians walk in the street to avoid sidewalks in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
The headline writers are trying to come up with ways to describe the snow emergency in DC. My personal favorite is: SNOWPOCALYPSE!
I love it.
I love that interplay between acknowledging your own personal hysteria and your responsibility as a news person to keep it together.
Frankly, as major situations go, this is a SITUATION. But let's be clear; it's NOT a disaster. Now, it's not the most fun I've ever had, especially now that the weekend is over and I have to truck in to work. Certainly, it's not fun if you've lost heat or power. It's demanding and perhaps frightening if you are vulnerable in some way — physically challenged, elderly and in need of special equipment or services, such as dialysis. But for the most part — how can we say this? — It's not so bad. It isn't Haiti, it's not even a hurricane.
But still, it's kind of fun to be all over the top about it. Many of the roads are not great but there are more people out than one might expect. I still have not managed to make it to Starbucks and it's affecting my attitude. Thankfully, Matina and Oscar and Antonio and the crew are taking care of business in our little cafeteria upstairs. So there's hot coffee and sandwiches and I even saw Oscar making some waffles.
One group of people I find myself having sympathy for are the school superintendents, or whoever it is who has to make the decision to close schools, open them late, or keep them open. Sure, these decisions can wreak havoc with child care and so forth. But sometimes, I think some people forget that school is the safest place for many kids to be.
I'll tell you a story:
Years ago I got close to a young lady who was attending one of the premier charter schools in DC. Getting in was a very lucky break for her and her younger sister (in DC, admission to all but two charter schools is by lottery). Her mother loved her and her other kids and clearly meant well, but she was also a stone cold addict and had not gotten ahold of her addiction at that time. She was on and off the wagon. That left this young lady often in the position of caring for younger siblings, not to mention trying to get through her own life. Well, after a big snow storm one January a couple of years ago, school was closed off and on for most of three weeks, and I couldn't reach her. At that time, I was in the early stages of pregnancy, at that awkward point where you might be throwing up all the time but not telling anybody...trying to keep it quiet. I found out later that her mom had disappeared for much of that time. So, nine months later, guess what? That young lady had dropped out of that excellent school, where she was one of the top math students. And the boy who she turned to for comfort? He went to college.
Of course I ask myself, what could I have done? What if I had just gone across town and picked her and her sister up and brought them over? Would that have been right? But wouldn't it all have turned out differently had she been in school?
That's what I'm talking about. And that's another reason I am so interested in today's story about abstinence education. What would have helped this young lady put herself first?
Read a recent story about that study and a piece by NPR's Brenda Wilson. And here's the study itself.