Sheila Sybrant

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a parenting book, but I’m pretty sure that the advice hasn’t changed that much over the years: Throwing children is still definitely a no-no.

Isn’t it?

Some parents in France apparently never received the memo.

There’s an elementary school in a French city that locks its gate at 8:30 a.m. This is a good thing in terms of safety — at least in terms of safety for the kids on the inside of the gate.

But what about those still on the outside of the gate because their parents were not timely in getting their kids to school? That locked gate — well, it’s a safety hazard for those kids.

At least, it’s a safety hazard for those kids whose parents have determined that neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor a locked gate will deter them from delivering their children to school.

That’s because those parents have figured out that all they have to do to get their kiddos to class is to throw them over the fence.

Yes, you read that correctly. Parents are throwing their children over a fence when their tardiness is met with an otherwise impenetrable barrier.

This can’t be an easy feat — or an easy fall: After all, the fence is 6 feet high.

So far, no one has been hurt (at least not physically — can you imagine the emotional trauma of your parents heaving you over a schoolyard fence?).

But the potential is certainly there, which is why the school has posted signs warning parents not to throw their children over the fence.

Wow. Has the world come to this? We now have to warn parents that throwing their children over a fence is not a good idea?

If we want to be generous, we might presume that the parents are so education-minded that they can’t bear the thought of their offspring missing out on any mental stimulation.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling so generous.

For one thing, the gate is open again at 10 a.m., so kids who miss the 8:30 a.m. deadline would miss just an hour and a half of school. Any parents, though, who think that throwing their kids over a 6-foot-high fence such that they could potentially land on their heads is probably not too focused on bettering their children’s brain cells.

Here’s the scenario that I imagine: It’s 8 a.m. in the Dubois household, and the family must leave the house no later than 8:10 a.m. to make it to school on time. Little Cherie has been obstinate all morning about getting ready and now she is dawdling with her toast. Little Jacques is running around the house, trying to find the library book that is due today. “Hurry, hurry,” urges Mother. At 8:10 a.m., out the door they go — but back in they must go when Jacques realizes that he forgot his backpack. They end up leaving the house at 8:13 a.m. Despite some speeding, they don’t arrive at school until 8:31 a.m. The gate is locked.

Mother looks at the gate. She looks at Cherie and Jacques. She thinks about having to put up with her rascals for even just one more second that morning. Then, heave-ho! Up and over the fence they go.

The school’s sign denigrating throwing children is obviously, but unfortunately, necessary. A better use of signage, though, might be a banner at the wedding chapel warning that if you think throwing children over fences is OK, then you shouldn’t have children.

Readers may contact Sybrant at svsybrant@gmail.com or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, NE 68714.

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