The school entrance is choked with minivans waiting for the
prime parking spot, the one right in front of the gate. Twice a day, parents block
the flow of traffic to the empty parking lot twenty feet away, while teachers loiter
by the gate wearing sunglasses to avoid eye contact. Parents won’t listen to
them anyway. The police were called in to direct traffic last year, but parents
snubbed them too. Angrily most times.
Everyone knows how to fix the problem and no one does a
thing about it.
The real education begins out here, in the drop off zone.
Roll call in homeroom is shorter by four names today. The empty desks have already been pushed to the back of the room. Outside, the flag flies at half mast, which means we’re still allowed to say goodbye. I add my name to the cards on their desks and pray their souls find peace.
Soon, the flag will rise to full mast, and when it does, we won’t be allowed to say their names anymore.
“It’s the price of our freedom,” they say, and, “this is not the time for questions.” They’re angry when we speak. How dare we bring it up at all. It’s the price of our freedom.
Except, I don’t feel free at all.