RPS 205 Strike Day 1: A Hot Mess
The ball was dropped by Rockford Public Schools in a big way. As a parent of an RPS 205 student I think I can speak for many when I ask, "what the heck is going on?"
The first day of RPS 205's bus drivers, nutrition service workers, and paraprofessionals should prove RPS that business needs to be taken care of. Comb through Rockford Facebook posts and you'll find a lot of frustrated parents with many questions.
The biggest question I have is did RPS 205 competently plan what they implied would be a three day strike? As of Wednesday night it seems like this could last longer than"expected" and that worries me. Back, to the question, how well was this thought out?
1. Dropping off/ Pick up was a disaster. (Although the latter was the worst.)
- Pickup at several elementary schools was chaos. Not to discredit the staff that were on-hand to aid the students, but it seemed like no one knew what was going on. There no memo to parents about students being dismissed fifteen minutes early. There were no missed calls or email on my phone, at least.
- Traffic in parking lots and, in some cases, on nearby streets were like being downtown Chicago during rush hour - a giant massive headache leading many to wishing we used Uber to pick up our kids. Sure, there were police presence there to guide traffic but some schools only had ONE officer. Kudos to those officers for dealing with us crazy always-in-a-hurry parents.
2. This might be the biggest snafu. What was the deal with lunch?!
- Many parents that I talked to agreed that sending a child to school without a lunch during the strike was a gamble, and it proved to be true. There were incredibly long lunch lines dishing out Domino's and applesauce, which is fine, but some ran out after the first lunch period, leaving kids to eat cereal and pop tarts. Some kids don't do well with that sort of sugar intake. Sounds made up, right? After hearing this happened to a friend's child I had to see if it happened to anyone else, and it did. RRStar.com backed up the story.
It's important to stress that I support the workers that are taking a stand to get what they feel is deserved. Same goes for the staff that are doing their best with what is being dealt. With that being said, it seems like RPS 205 may have dropped the ball on effectively planning what to do, step by step, during this strike.
Maybe next time RPS 205 shouldn't wait until the last minute to discuss protocol with staff.