Back to School

Children with backpacks running through the hall at school

Back to School

Kids are back in school!  Some parents have anxiously been awaiting the day they could send their children back to brick and mortar school since March.  Some parents have made the decision to home school even though they never had that in their family plan before.  Some parents are supporting their children in virtual learning.  Families have had to make tough decisions about what is right for their children and their families.  It became universally apparent this past Spring that teachers and schools are unbelievably valuable and most of us weren’t cut out to be teachers – especially to our own children.

When late August rolls around our thoughts turn to school and they turn to the children who will be starting back to school.  At Pulaski County CASA, we are extremely aware that life is not equal for all children.  This poem by Joshua T. Dickerson always speaks powerfully to us.

Cause I Ain’t Got a Pencil

I woke myself up

Because we ain’t got an alarm clock

Dug in the dirty clothes basket,

Cause ain’t nobody washed my uniform

Brushed my hair and teeth in the dark,

Cause the lights ain’t on

Even got my baby sister ready,

Cause mama wasn’t home

Got us both to school on time,

To eat us a good breakfast

Then when I got to class the teacher fussed at me,

Cause I ain’t got a pencil

Does it make you stop and think?  Did you start easing your kids out of their summer schedule a few weeks before school to make sure they were getting plenty of sleep?  Lay out their new school clothes the night before?  Make sure their personalized pencils were in their new backpack?  Fix a huge back to school breakfast?  Take first day of school pictures with cute signs to memorialize the day?  Life is not equal for all children.

School is defined as an institution for educating children.  Yet, it is so much more than that.  School can be a haven for many children.  A safe place where they get to go each day.  A place where laughter and smiles are shared.  A place where there is food.   A place where they aren’t being yelled at or hit or hurt.  A place where they aren’t neglected.  A place of community, of learning, of comfort, and peace.  A place where educators invest in children and make them believe in themselves. 

Schools have been working hard to become more trauma informed over the last few years.  Schools are more likely to be a place where a child facing food insecurity is discreetly sent home with a backpack full of food than a place where a child is chastised for not coming to class with a pencil. A place where a teacher may recognize the signs of physical abuse and report that abuse to the Child Abuse Hotline rather than punish a child over a missing notebook.  A place that is not only an institution for educating children but a place where a child’s wellbeing is priority.

With all that in mind, we at CASA want to say WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL to all the children and educators.  And a huge THANK YOU to all the educators who make a difference for children.  We are glad to have you back!  Stay safe and remember YOU are appreciated. 

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