Monday, May 11, 2009

"They're Freaks!"

I was doing time yard duty on Friday at the elementary school on the lower yard. Our school is adjacent to a public park and a creek. Middle school students, including Eldest, use the creek area as a shortcut from the middle school to the elementary school. Homeless people have been known to dwell in the creek area. High schoolers have been known to drink there in the off hours. [And I have been known to walk through with a huge garbage bag picking up beer bottle recyclables like the bag-lady-wannabee I am.]

On Friday, a parent mentioned that she'd seen a homeless person walking along the wooded creek area, carrying a guitar, and that she'd told the principal who, in turn, had called the police. This was at lunchtime, when all the kids were out on the fenced-in school yard. The parent who mentioned it to me was there with two other parents in charge of a "running club" for the kids. There were three additional adults -- myself included -- who were doing yard duty, watching the kids as they played soccer or kick ball or built fairy gardens or played on the blacktop or play structures.

A bit later, I saw a policeman walking outside our fenced in little haven. He was clearly looking for the homeless man and his guitar.

As for me? I was freakin' outraged that we'd call the cops about a guy -- maybe homeless, maybe not -- who was walking off campus, beyond a fence on public land. WTF? I mean, come on, WTF??! Has it come to this, folks? Is this really who we are? Some guy is walking along with nothing more than a guitar as a visible weapon, and we feel compelled to call for the police?

I relayed my conversation to another yard duty woman, a woman I perceive as being as reasonable as me. The third yard duty woman overheard my telling of the story and jumped in saying, "You have a problem with us calling the cops about those freaks? There have been some weird things happening."

My response, "I think we're the freaks here."

Yeah, I do.

Frankly, it makes me want to dress like a homeless man and walk along the creekbed during lunch time just to see what happens. Either we appreciate freedom. Or we don't.


Jeni said...

Just out of curiosity -but how do homeless people dress? Do they all look the same and like hobos, using what must be a stereotypical guide there? That reminds me of something I read somewhere about if Christ came and sat by us today, would we recognize Him and rejoice or would we, because maybe He is dressed differently than us, avoid or ignore Him or shoo Him away? Or, as in the instance recently of the British singer who wowed everyone once they heard her but not before the judges had openly laughed at her, based on her appearance, we shouldn't be so quick to judge books by their covers. Good for you for standing up for principles.

josie2shoes said...

Amen Patty! What they are teaching the kids with this kind of behavior is that everyone who is different from you is scary/bad. A guitar? Wow, that sounds terribly violent doesn't it? I remember a generation who lived in the parks with their guitars and "homeless look" attire. I'm all for being careful with our children, but I agree that this goes too far. Good for you for voicing some opposition!

Tara R. said...

We could all do with a little more tolerance. I'm glad you said something.

SandyCarlson said...

It is wildly possible this person liked the sound of children at play. It is a joyful thing to be near a schoolyard at recess time. The laughter, shouts, blows of the whistle, all magic. The energy and joy are a tonic. I hope this person enjoyed that and moved on without hassle.

All Rileyed Up said...

While part of me wants to crack a joke about Desperado and the housing of guns in a guitar case, I'd rather applaud you for calling that FREAK out on her comment. WTF, indeed!!!!!

D... said...

And they knew he was homeless how? And what about him perceived him to be dangerous? As my daughter would say, Ridonkulous. Truly.

What you said about freedom rings so true.

Lori said...

Just remember that whoever called the police on that guy...they're trapped, and he is free.

Caloden said...

Wow, the paranoia of some parents is insane. As a preschool teacher I sometimes bite my tongue when parents behave in similar manners, while other times I gently tell them they need to calm the hell down. Yes, protection is good but insanity is another topic all together. Yay for you for speaking out!


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...