Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher's car

I’m glad she’s not suffered lasting harm, if only so I can make the dumb joke:

“Hagen-Tietz? More like Kayona Haagen-Dazs!” Amirite! elbow jab


Remember when the story about Saudia Arabia hit the news that unaccompanied women are banned from Saudi hospitals ? Much histrionics where had here on BB and elsewhere in US media.

Then a girl in the US in a wet bathing suit has to freeze until she got herself frostbite because she’s not allowed to sit in a teachers car.

From the outside perspective there are certain parallels …


Only at first glance. Dig just a tiny bit deeper and you’ll see the glaring difference is religious idiocy v. administrative idiocy. One is more dogmatic than the other, but I’ll leave it to you to determine which one.

If you drill deep enough there is a chance you might find some sort of puritan thinking at the core of this administrative idiocy.


“Zero tolerance” isn’t about kids’ safety, it’s about minimizing administrative liability. Welfare of the kids is a secondary, if not tertiary consideration.


It would be interesting to know if this is a common rule…from personal experience, this is not a rule at either of my kids’ public schools (either that or the teachers routinely disobey it).

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They both look like dogmatic idiocy to me.
(Yes, there are differences, but not in the blanket application of policy where it is obviously not applicable)

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Administrative idiocy.

Actually, as an outsider I’m always astonished how much reverence Americans show for administrative rules. Granted, they also revere rule-breaking when it’s obvious that’s a stupid rule that needed to be broken, but I much prefer giving people enough freedom in interpreting rules that they do not need to break them at all.

Regarding the case in point: Both rules come from the wish to protect minors from molestation, the difference isn’t really that great.


Perhaps I was a smart ass teenager, but I think that I would have thrown a fit about being asked to exit a building without proper clothing. I wasn’t a disciplinary problem or anything, but I did have a reputation with my high school administration for asking a lot of questions and not accepting stupid answers. I would hope my (hypothetical) child would not comply with dumb instructions.

Sure, the teachers could get fired for going against policy, but what’s the worst that could happen to a kid who refused a stupid order? “This will go down on your permanent record”?

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I went to Como High School myself.

I can personally attest to just how stubborn the administration there is. They have very little budget, a hugely diverse, and economically disadvantaged student body. As an underfunded inner city school they face so many challenges and just aren’t up to it.

Instead of rising to address those challenges, they have a litany of cover your butt, and save a few buck policies. The rules and enforcement I saw in my time at Como were draconian and blunt. It’s all they could do to keep themselves afloat.


Zero-tolerance policies = zero-brain policies, as always.

Intelligent people must always have the right to decide when the letter of the law does not apply.


@F​Fabian is right, I have to say. Why is this a policy? Why is there even the question of administrative liability? Because of the terrible specter of kiddy-fiddling, and the belief that there can never be a good reason for a student to enter a teacher’s car.

It’s still society thinking about sex, as always.


The school is is Minnesota. Sub-zero weather is not a surprise occurrence there. Why didn’t it already have policy in place for what to do in severe weather conditions?

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I had a similarly stupid thing happen when I was a kid (Texas) and I borrowed a phone, called a parent, explained what was happening and was picked up by the time the stupid vice principal could figure out what to do. That being said, in some schools you can be arrested for as much.

I wonder if it’s just different now. I was in high school in the late 80s/early 90s, when everything was less zero-tolerance-hysteria-baloney, and there were no police patrolling schools.

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You do realize that it would require someone to think far enough ahead to realize that running a fire drill during winter months was going to result in some kids getting yanked from the swimming pool if it wasn’t timed close enough to class start or end times. You’re asking a bit much of school administrators, obviously.


The teacher or teachers who honored the policy in this situation, should I not think of them as monsters? Did our parents & grandparents fuck around in Nuremberg for absolutely no reason?

Fire alarms exist for reasons of safety. Rules about students in teacher’s cars, exist for reasons of safety. But safety can’t be addressed purely with rules, there’s no point in adding another rule to these existing ones, having to do with bathing suits in cold weather. There’s no way to be safe if human judgement can’t be relied upon in an emergency. Entropy will always find a way to outsmart bureaucracy.

It’s called “The School to Prison Pipeline” and “zero tolerance” and the more authoritarian the system, the more likely they are to come down like a ton of bricks on a kid who kicks against it. Or a teacher. (Especially in the current “teachers are a bunch of over-paid morons and assholes who should all be fired” climate.)


I see your point, and I think my comment shows my age and how different school has become. It probably also highlights my privilege (white/middle class/female/etc) and my childlessness. It’s sad that humanity and rational thinking have been done away with, in schools and in our society.

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