Prom dress 

One of my girls asked me if she could show me a picture of the dress she wants to buy for prom. 

“I don’t have a mom, so…”

Oh lord. 

I wish those words never had to come out of anyone’s mouth, let alone a seventeen-year-old girl. 

But that is reality for more kids in America–even suburban America–than I think most people realize. 

Our state is very close to passing a bill that would take away money from public education and give it to families who choose to homeschool or send their kid to private school in the form of vouchers. 

Listen, I’m a product of private schools and homeschooling. 

But, guys, don’t we have a responsibility to take care of each other’s kids? How are we going to do that if we intentionally separate ourselves from the most vulnerable children in our neighborhoods? How are we going to do that if we take more funds and resources from the schools who are trying to be everything to these kids?

The girl who doesn’t have a mom to help her pick out a prom dress–she deserves so much more than a teacher who will look at a couple pictures with her. What I want is for her to have her momma. A momma who will take her to get her nails done, who will complain about how expensive her daughter’s shoes are (even though she wouldn’t have bought anything less), and who will embarrass her with a barrage of photos. 

A mom who will stay up late waiting for her girl to come home from the dance so she can hear all the details of the night. 

But she doesn’t get that. 

I can’t give her that. 

This doesn’t have a nice,  neat ending. Usually when I write I can see where I’m going and tie things together. 

Not tonight. 

Tonight I just want to say to public school parents: I’m proud to be a part of the community in which you put your kids. If you have a lot, please look out for the kids who don’t (and I don’t just mean financially). Encourage your children to make friends not only with the kids who are like them. Meet people who don’t look like you or talk like you. 

As everyone’s favorite scientist, Bill Nye said: “Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t.”

Take care of each other, public school parents and teachers and administrators. And take care of our kids. 

 

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