I’m a parent of a 9-R student and I keep rolling my eyes about the absurd permission form I had to sign for the solar eclipse. The district required parents to waive all liability if a kid looks at the sun. Do parents not tell their kids to not look at the sun? Are teachers not trained to instruct students on basic matters of common sense? What other perils await the uninformed? – Nan E. State
Today is Back-to-School. It’s also the much ballyhooed “Great American Eclipse.” So let’s shed some light on the subject.
Not since 1918 has a solar eclipse swept across the entire continental United States. Here in Durango and La Plata County, the sun will be 93 percent obscured.
Even with that amount of sun blocked, it’s not OK to gaze at the sun – and 9-R’s permission form makes that clear.
“Safety is a priority! All schools will take precautionary measures with both students and staff to make this experience both safe and enjoyable,” reads the document.
It informs parents that sunglasses and homemade filters don’t protect eyeballs.
In addition, students will not be allowed to view the celestial hullabaloo through “cameras (including cellphones), telescopes, binoculars or other optical devices.”
Instead, some classes will have special eclipse glasses or pinhole viewers.
Action Line will join 9-R in admonishing everyone to not look at the sun. That includes today and for the next 7.6 billion years of the sun’s anticipated lifespan.
For crying out loud, people, don’t look at the sun! You’ll go blind!
As for 9-R requiring a permission form and liability waiver, it’s not surprising. Schools are all about CYA, and it doesn’t stand for Colorado Youth Activities.
But why don’t school cafeterias post warning signs about the dangers of milk? Who hasn’t tried to make friends laugh while they were drinking milk, just to see it squirt out their noses?
It’s all fun and games until someone drowns in dairy products. Talk about lactose intolerance.
And what about paper cuts from textbooks? There are many cases of someone getting flesh-eating bacteria from a paper cut.
Glue sticks, meanwhile, are neither free range nor organic. This might be rather upsetting for a few Durango parents.
At least don’t run with scissors, even with the ones with rounded tips.
Schools weren’t always so risk-averse. Mrs. Action Line recalls when scented markers first came out.
“It was art time and we’d pass around each marker to sniff and see which one we liked best,” she said. “I remember banana, cherry and lemon.”
Then Mrs. Action Line huffed the purple one. “I literally got sick when I smelled the grape marker. Maybe that’s why I don’t like purple to this day.”
Thus, we really ought to have warning stickers on scented markers and liability releases regarding disturbing olfactory reactions.
Better yet, we should post huge warning signs on schools everywhere, saying that children entering the facility will be exposed to the two most dangerous things in the world: ideas and knowledge.
So what if there are bureaucratic eclipse waivers on the first day of school? It’s actually teaching kids about what they can expect in modern life and how to navigate the good, the bad and the ridiculous.
Thus, knowledge becomes wisdom. Wisdom is the moment when you see the light.
But just to be clear: You don’t see the light by looking at the sun.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you have dark thoughts about today’s eclipse.