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Phys ed and fish sticks

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Bedford Primary done a disservice

By Mike Forster

  Once a week, I enjoy my lunch in the gymnasium of the Bedford Primary School.

Once a week, I also eat my lunch in the auditorium of the Bedford Primary School.

And, once a week, I have my midday feast in the cafeteria of the Primary School.

In truth, I only have one actual meal per week at the school.  The reason I mentioned the three locations is that they are all the same place:  a smallish, multi-purpose room at the school.

For $2.25 I get to have a decent meal, served up by the nicest bunch of ladies.  I have that feast of cheese sticks or chili dogs with my lunch buddy, a second grader at the school. (The wife got me involved in the program, a part of Big Brothers.  This is my second year doing it and I highly recommend getting involved.)

So, you see, I’m an interested party in the decision that was recently handed down that  put the kibosh on the construction of a gymnasium at the school.

I freely admit my bias.

I also freely admit that this decision was moronic.

If you want to catch a pathetic vision sometime, swing by the Primary School and catch one of its gym classes.

The urchins are limited by the (small) size of the cafeteria/gym/auditorium, the lack of any gym equipment and the fact that those wonderful cafeteria ladies are trying to put lunch together.

As a result, you have a couple hundred five- to eight-year olds with no reasonable way to work off their energy.

In the meantime, here are some things that have been funded:  brand new directional signs around the city that carry an egregious grammatical error (“Elk’s Home” is the way it is shown--why is there an apostrophe in there?); a large payout to fund a search for a new schools superintendent; and infrastructure improvements to enable more growth in our already-crowded county.

There are many examples of unworthy ways your local tax dollars are being put to use.  For example, I’ve been told that Advanced Placement high school students were being induced to attend weekend remediation training via pizzas and door prizes. 

How about this one:  On prom night, one of our high schools opened its gym for an after-prom party.  Considerable expense went into that effort.  I’m told a total of 35 students showed up for it.

Talk about a waste.  Take a look at a school bus the next time one passes you by.  If there are more than 10 students on it, you should be shocked—at such a high number.  Meanwhile, parents sit in a long line of SUVs that winds around the school, waiting to deliver their darlings home, while bus after near-empty bus passes by the line, ostensibly to do the same thing.

I’ve seen full-sized activity buses depart varsity sporting events with two people on them:  the head coach and the assistant coach.  All the players found their own ride home.

The point is, money is being frittered away, right here in Bedford.

But, the thing that goes on the chopping block is something that is both tangible and needed.  

I can attest that the faculty at Bedford Primary was stunned when it learned of the sheer stupidity of this decision.

Of course, faculty members can’t be quoted for this paper, as they value their jobs.

I, on the other hand, have an obligation to point out the inanity of this move.

Kids at this point in their lives (Kindergarten through Second Grade) should be exposed to basketball, volleyball, dodgeball and gymnastics.

Instead, kids at Bedford Primary get to do some stretching exercises and jog in place amidst the wafting odors of frying fish sticks.

Good exercise habits and an enthusiasm for sports must be instilled at an early age for them to take root.

Similarly, combatting obesity is something best started early.

The current configuration at Bedford Primary is ill-equipped to do either.  

This decision is a disservice to these youngsters and to the teachers who are charged with their development.

Sadly, it is probably a disservice we’ll allow to stand.