Sometimes Change Is Stupid

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I received an alert email from my daughter's elementary school warning parents about a man who has been hanging out at local playgrounds and taking pictures of kids. One witness said when she saw what he was doing, she purposely walked over to where he was sitting and sat next to him. He acted nervously and walked away moments later. Parents were warned to keep a look out for a man "wearing dark sunglasses". That was the description that was given to us: A man wearing dark sunglasses.

Needless to say, I was not the only parent who replied back to the email asking for a better description of the guy and the school sent out a second email containing a picture of him. At first I thought it was negligence of whomever that composed the email alert until I found out that the description of the man was intentionally left out due to changes in the school policy in providing descriptions of alleged suspects in crimes. To address the concern of misinformation and racial profiling, many major media outlets and schools now do not provide description of alleged suspects in regards to their race. Many will simply post a picture and let the viewers decide. If there's no visual evidence of the alleged suspects, then the only information you get is what happened.

I'm glad not all news outlets changed their policies because at least I know there'd be some other media alternatives for me to go to for more information about a crime. This is just for the time being though. I think sometimes when you try to please a group of people, you end up screwing others along the way. So this is what we have to put up with for the time being. I say time being because I don't think this will pan out for long. It's just simply impossible to inform people about a crime without providing the essential aspect of the crime and that is the identity of the suspect. I've been around San Francisco for 30 years and I've seen policies come and ago. We always end up going back to the ways things were.

Ten years ago, there was a group of parents who protested then sued the city for, honestly, I don't even know what their legal basis was, but they won and the city was forced to change the school admission policy. What ended up happening was you have kids that lived in one end of the city bused to the other end of the city. The political term was "diversifying the schools". In order to satisfy 5% of the parents who protested 10 years ago, the city created inconvenience for the remaining 95% of the population. It was just a huge mess. There were students who lived right across the street from their school of choice but were admitted to schools on the far end of the city. Outraged parents protested every beginning of school year. I remember watching on the news last year of an angry mom who said her daughter had to leave the house at 6AM and catch two buses to her middle school. Her school was choice was only a 5 minute walking distance. As a parent, I completely felt her frustration and anger. The policy was plain stupid. This year, the school district announced that they will revert the admission policy to the old ways and students will be admitted to schools based on where they live. The announcement was greeted by celebrations and cheers. What a nightmarish 10 years for parents.


23 comments:

Cheryl said...

Sometimes I wonder why some policies are even made or why! We are so afraid of being "politically incorrect" and sometimes overlook what really matters.

Serline said...

Better late than never... in Singapore where I'm from, we have another phenomenon: the elite schools. They are such a sure ticket to success, parents would donate money and volunteer for what often amounted to menial tasks for years, to get a chance to ballot for a place when their little princes and princesses turned 6. What a nightmare!

Janice said...

Hope the reverted policy won't change in a year or so. It was a stupid policy for sure. I have friends that went through the school district appeal process and it was such a anguish ordeal of all of them.

CVmom said...

You know they say, majority rules, but in SF, minority rules. All it needs is small group of people to make enough noise to change things around for their benefits. Never mind about the inconvenience for the remaining population. It's all about them and no one else.

Alicia said...

Good for that mom who walked over to him and sat right next to him. That was really brave. If I saw that happening, that would make me so mad!

I think I remember hearing about that in San Francisco. That is just crazy!!! Why do they even change things????

Anyway, I hope this stalker guy gets caught, or at least has a legitimate reason for taking pictures! UGH!

TK said...

It is a pity that a child has to go to school at 6. In our country students go to the nearest school to the house as they are placed according to the home addresses. Some parents prefer to send the children to their favourite schools which are farther from their houses. All they have to do is to just change the home address!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I live in SF and I remember that happening, having to bus kids all over the city.

In this case, I say, and excuse my language but to hell with the schools policies. This is obviously a danger to the children and school. Police should be called. Seriously. With so many abductions and crimes against children these days, intruding on someone's rights is not the priority.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

That's really creepy and scary that your dealing with this so close to home. Hope they figure out how to get that guy off of the playground.

Mei Teng said...

In situations like these, a detailed description of suspected persons should be provided. It's not racial discrimination. Sometimes, witholding detailed or full info does more harm than good.

Gwei Mui said...

In the UK the laws surrounding this type of criminal offence are complicated and a real mess. I really sympathise with you.

AVCr8teur said...

Who comes up with these ridiculous policies?! Is there no common sense anymore?

Veronica Lee said...

Over here in Malaysia, kids are placed in schools according to their home addresses too. But of course, some of the parents 'cheat' by registering their kids with their friends' addresses when they want the better schools.

A Full-Timed Housefly said...

Sometimes these " so-called " school policy are really pain in the a**. Why wait till something nasty happened then start to react...a potential paedophile will strike anytime , hope parents themselves are on high alert

Ebie said...

As a photo hobbyist, I am very cautious as to taking pictures of people. I would ask permission. My opinion is that before the email was sent out, school officials or security should have approached the person in dark glasses and probably ask him to leave.

P.S. I am posting at my new blog now.

Lazy Pineapple said...

I think at the cost of being politically correct most school administrations or for that matter government agencies really screw up policies big time...
I sometimes wonder if they really think it through when making such policies?

Buckeroomama said...

Sometimes policy makers succumb to political pressure when it comes to making decisions...I understand that, but you do wish that common sense would prevail.

Icy BC said...

I dislike this type of letter since it made me nervous, especially when they gave such a general description like that!

Hope the police sorts this out soon.

Nezzy said...

I'm thrilled about the admittance policy being changed back but what about the questionable man hangin' around??? My goodness, we are talkin' about the safety of children vs. racial profiling. Get real!!!

God bless and have a wonderful day!!!

KidsDreamWork said...

This sounds so scare! I hope the man doesn't mean any harm the the kids!
Glad that in my country, the children are assigned to schools according to the home address. That would be so much convenient!

Wendy said...

I work in a school. Enough said!!

Have you ever checked out the registered sex offender registry? It's definitley scary to do, but interesitng that it's available

Gina F said...

What a screw up world we have. I think it is a time we ALL stand up for what's RIGHT! I would definitely be worry about that man taking pictures of those little children. Their are so many missing children being kidnap by stranges these days. SCARY! Hope all works out. HAVE A GREAT DAY!! ((HUGS!)) :)

Gina
motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

Mr. Stupid said...

Those are some crazy policies. I just hope he doesn't mean any harm. But the fact that he's taking pictures is scary.
Have a good day!:)

Ryhen said...

The moral of the story is:

"When you try to please a group of people, you end up screwing others along the way."

You said it right. Great post, RB!!