Readers — This is just a rather perfect illustration of the way our society works now, when it comes to parents, schools, media, fear, mistakes and, heck, let’s throw in umbrage.
A great-grandpa picked up the wrong kindergartener from school. The two boys had similar hats, and the one gramps took home had his hat pulled all the way over his head. Frankly, I can see how that could happen.
Gramps got home, realized his mistake, alerted the school. The principal called the mom to say her son had been accidentally picked up by the wrong man — someone known to the school — and that the child was not in danger. He was being returned immediately. At which point, the mom insisted that the police and child protective services be notified.
This kind of mistake is not criminal, and it is not harmful to the child. If anything, it could become a family story.
Instead, it became a news story.
Trained to Overreact
We have been trained, as a culture, to treat every blip in school protocol as an outrage. We have been trained to see every child not directly supervised as in unspeakable danger. We have been trained to imagine what terrible thing COULD happen in any situation involving a child, and to react as if it DID, or almost did.
So maybe the school should go ahead and make doubly sure the kids are being picked up by the right person. But let’s also remember there was an era not so long ago when no one picked up kids. They just went home on their own. Now the school is establishing pick-up areas for kids through grade 8!
Overreaction breeds overreaction and we are living in Overreaction Nation. – L.