Saturday, January 20, 2007

Recipe For Disaster

(This is the first in a series of articles about the Cumberland County Schools)

You might think that a school system would be aware of safety procedures. In this case, you would be wrong. Either that, or the Cumberland County Public Schools just doesn't give a damn.

When the schools started using the Luther P Jackson school site for a middle school at the beginning of the year, the transportation of students to and from that site became necessary. I drive by that area almost every day, going to the Post Office or somewhere else. Last October, when I saw someone standing out in the middle of a busy highway with her hand up, I was both mad and disbelieving. I have done work in the road before as a land surveyor, and I always kept protective gear close and wore a vest and a hardhat. I have seen many instances where the driver of a car will claim that they did not see anything even when someone was there with a brightly colored vest.

I went to the School Board Office. I talked with Jim Thornton, Superintendent of Schools, about what I had seen. This was not the first time Mr. Thornton had talked. We have had a storied relationship almost from the moment I moved to this area 5 years ago. That, however, is another story for another day.

Mr. Thornton assured me that the problem would be taken care of. He agreed that an accident would be a disaster and he wanted to avoid that. We exchanged pleasantries, talked about the elections, and I was on my way.

You can imagine my amazement then, when last Monday, I was driving by at that time of day and I saw the same thing again. Tuesday I made it a point to be there. This time, the person had all black clothing on, black gloves, and a black stocking cap on. I took a few pictures with my phone and came home.

Well, I like pictures, and I like my cell phone, but the two really don't mix. The quality of the pictures wasn't that great, and I wanted to be able to show that I wasn't making this up. This week, I had my camera in the car from a meeting the night before. I went over to the school area and waited. The same thing happened again, and I took many pictures of it.

Here's what I saw that day this week:

Mr. Thornton, do you owe an apology to me and the parents of students on those buses? I think you already know what my answer is. Fix this now, or put up with complaints in the real world about your inability to get this done. This is not rocket science, Mr. Thornton.


Edir said...

As usual, after a castrophic event, then we will hear "I'm sorry". I'm sorry does not bring a life back. What does it take to make public officials accountable?

Mark Brooks said...

Thanks for commenting, edir.

Yes, they will learn someday that while they are micro-managing everything else, safety, or the lack of it, will come up and slap them around.

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