Thursday, September 23, 2021

Safety or Popcorn?

That's the dilemma we face at our school. On several occasions in years past, we complained about air-conditioners shorting out and dropping dead. The response we got, and I don't doubt the truth of it, is that the DOE will come in, march around the building, and say you have to get rid of that microwave, that refrigerator, that coffee machine, and a whole bunch of other stuff. 

This, of course, is a Catch-22 in one way. If you want the AC to work, you can't have any of these conveniences. So maybe you ignore an AC unit malfunctioning here and there. We never really pushed the issue. 

Now, though, we're facing a very different situation. I, for one, have three of the NYC non-HEPA air purifiers in my miserable little half classroom. None of them work for more than two minutes at a time. I don't know how good these things are, how well they work, or how essential they are. But my inclination, unlike the mayor's, is to err on the side of safety. I don't much care about whether or not I'm able to microwave popcorn after class.

Of course, I'm only speaking for myself. If you take an action that causes a lot of people to lose conveniences upon which they depend, they're likely to come kill you and stuff. So it's a risky move to advocate for the city to come in and deal with this, at least in the short term.

In the long run, the city ought not to hide behind formalities like this. Policy, evidently, is any school that complains is threatened. If they don't follow up, the city looks the other way. That's pretty convenient for Tweedies, who can sit around and do Whatever It Is they do, while schools like mine struggle to get by with 60-year-old electrical systems. Hey, a lot of things have happened since 1960. You don't see a whole lot of fuseboxes anymore, for example.

But that doesn't matter to Tweed. As long as they can save money to redecorate the Assistant Chancellor's office, or whatever it is they do with that bloated budge, they're golden. So what if a few thousand kids have to sit in sweltering miserable classrooms, or moldy broiling trailers? There are thumbs that need twiddling and video games that need playing. 

The fact is, a modern school should handle modern workplace conditions. People in offices have to eat sometimes. I don't know anyone who brings Sterno cans to work and we shouldn't have to either. Personally, I'd be happy to give up coffee or popcorn or whatever. But even if I weren't, it's on the city to update our electricity to a modern standard. 

People who threaten you when you make requests about human comfort or safety are slime. Being slime, of course, might be the first thing you put on your resume if you want a Tweed gig. 

I hope the next mayor cleans out that place from top to bottom, fumigates, and hires a staff that's Not Insane. More likely, having taken millions from her PAC,  he'll just turn the whole place over to Eva Moskowitz.

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