Posts Tagged ‘knoxville’
Step one: Find the perfect venue for an end of eighth grade party/dance.
Step two: Sundown in the City schedule ruins perfectness of venue.
Step three: Find different, but equally awesome venue.
Step four: Principal changes date of event and neither venue is available.
Step five: Pound head on wall for several hours.
Step six: Begin step one.
If the PTA ever updates their site, they should add a community guide to assist with planning for local school events.
*We have a venue that works with the new date. I’m holding my breath that it’s in our budget.
After meeting opposition at every proposed site, the plan to create permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless all over Knox County has ended where so many wanted it to be, Lakeshore. Pessimistic voices argue that this keeps the mentally ill homeless near mental health services. Optimistic voices argue that Lakeshore is lovely and one of their favorite places to go for a walk. How many of those voices have ever been inside the locked buildings at Lakeshore? How many had no idea there are still patients at Lakeshore? How many understand that Lakeshore is not an out-patient medical center, but a crisis stabilization facility? How can they miss all the news reports that identify Lakeshore as the forensic facility for people whose dangerous crimes may have been connected to personal illness?
Do I take my children to the trails at Lakeshore? Of course I do. The difference is that those buildings with locked doors aren’t invisible to me. I am constantly aware of their presence and the seriously ill people inside them. People who are struggling to survive. People in very real pain. People who have been victimized by their extreme vulnerability. Human beings in locked rooms, in locked buildings, behind locked gates. Lakeshore is a hospital and no matter how much they have to sell their land to stay in business for the people who desperately need care, it is still a place where sick people go to get better.
Is permanent supportive housing a place for people with special needs who lack the support systems needed to fully function in society? If so, why isn’t it being put in neighborhoods with other people? Group homes belong among other homes. Apartments cluster with other multi-family housing facilities. Where are the other families living at Lakeshore? They are not there. Where can the PSH residents go when they need a cup of sugar? Shall they knock on the hospital door? Even the Lakeshore chapel was sold to make additional parking for soccer moms. That’s not a community. It’s a business. It’s not a business that will hire them though.
Oh, ha-ha Cathy. You’re so stupid to claim Lakeshore is not a community. Look at all the people walking their dogs and watching children play soccer. If a crowd of strangers decided to let their dogs poop on my street, they would not make this a community. Community is the all of the neighbors who know each other. Community is the ability to walk next door for a cup of milk or collect a neighbor’s mail when they are on vacation. Community is knowing that everyone in this neighborhood recognizes my children and keeps an eye on what they are doing just as I know and watch over their children. Community is not a place surrounded by gates and designed for lock-down protocol. Not gates to keep the scary out, but gates to control the residents and keep them inside the facility. Gates to keep the mentally ill and now the homeless out of sight and out of mind.
The people who don’t want this site discussed because they think this is the issue that will put someone in or keep someone out of the mayoral office are helping nobody. Constant media attention has made politicians completely ineffective people whose primary goal is their next elected office. The only decision politicians make that isn’t based solely on campaigning are the ones they make when they take off their britches. I know that the League of Women Voters could revoke my membership for saying that, but I suspect they recognize frustration and aggravation as the predecessors to focus and motivation.
When a very opinionated senior wasn’t entertaining me with his tales and ideas that made me grit my teeth (“You don’t need school if you’re going to pour concrete.”), I spent Saturday listening to people discuss the unacceptable graduation statistics in our school system. While we were separated into smaller groups based on each public high school, I suspect that every single group made the claim that someone in our group made. “We have to think outside of the box, because things that work in other schools, won’t work in ours.” The better statement would be what a wise teacher tacked on to that claim. “Each student has unique circumstances and needs. One size does not fit all.” That teacher voiced the one thing that everyone in our group could agree on as a solution. Every student needs a caring, supportive adult in their life.
Then, the invisible wall that keeps Knoxville from going from scruffy to shiny made its’ inevitable appearance. “It still galls me that we have kids who belong in other schools at our school. We are a community and those kids know they don’t belong in our community.” The hair on my arms assumed the porcupine pose, but I bit my tongue. Half a dozen high schools are a fifteen minute drive from my house. This is not MY school. These are OUR schoolS. Those teenagers strutting their feathers like peacocks at the mall, concert and party attend all of our schools. The teenagers committing vandalism, shoplifting and assault attend all of our schools. The teenagers excelling at academic and athletic competitions attend all of our schools. The teenagers adrift in the murky bog between childhood and adulthood attend all of our schools. The teenagers without the motivation, support or ability to graduate from high school, attend all of our schools. The drop-outs without literacy or skills to work have and will continue to affect each and every one of us.
If a student is enrolled in your school, they ARE a part of that community and anyone who thinks otherwise is a part of the problem instead of the solution. This feudalistic attitude about tiny geographic segments of Knoxville hurts our city and the people who live in it. Knoxville is too small for this us vs. them behavior. We have to work together to help every school. We have to embrace every student in every school. If you won’t even connect to the students in your own classroom because you see some of them as usurpers, we won’t succeed. If they are sitting there, they belong. If they live in Knoxville, they belong in ANY of our schools. Celebrate the fact that every student in the room is a student who still has the opportunity to graduate. Don’t pretend they are not a part of your community. Those students in that OTHER school are your community too.
This picture was taken three years ago, on Northshore. This is what Northshore looks like on winter mornings around the same time that the elementary bus arrives. It is a dark, dangerous road that has a roadside memorial every few yards. Some of those memorials are recent enough that it is still painful to see them. The traffic is heavy and the drivers exceed the speed limit. Driving home from a meeting one night, I witnessed an act of road rage on Northshore. A car deliberately rear-ended the car in front of them and then they dashed around their victim and sped away. The car that had been bumped, took off in hot pursuit. It was an ugly thing to watch and although I reported the incident to the police, I did not “follow them” as the 911 operator suggested.
Despite the nearby businesses that my older children love to frequent, I don’t allow my teenagers to walk on Northshore. It is just too dangerous. I don’t walk on Northshore. I would call the man around the block who runs a taxi service before I would venture out on Northshore on foot. Why would Knox County Schools think it is acceptable for elementary age children to stand on one of Knoxville’s most dangerous roads? How can they possibly justify putting children in harm’s way on a bus route that begins at 7:10 and ends at 7:13, with the excuse that they don’t have time to add three minutes to their route? This is unacceptable. Knox County Schools need to do the right thing and move the bus stop back to where children have been safely waiting for the past few years.
Update: Knox County Schools has returned the spot to its’ much safer location. Thank you!
Doug: “What would YOU do with the empty strip mall where K-Mart used to be?”
Me: “A skating rink would be fun to have nearby.”
Doug: “I’d build an entertainment complex with a restaurant/bar and fighting robots.”
Me: “Ummm, yeah. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Doug: “It will if you give away my great idea.”