The school board in a small Maine community held some late night meetings.
Actually early morning discussions. In fact one that droned on at 2 AM in the morning. That caused some school board members to close their eyes, put their heads on the table in front of them. From the exhaustion of the topic front and center before them to thrash out, come to a shared solution, conclusion.
To move on to other bigger problems of running a small Maine school system. Keeping everything afloat, everyone in the boat.
The issue at hand not about the heated debate over a school budget and spending money the district did not have.
It involved a child wearing a mask daily to school. Not with aspirations to be a bank robber. Or a fantasy of being a super hero.
The surgical like blue mask to protect the small boy from pollutants, contaminants. That threatened his life, immune system.
And one local teacher feeling sorry for the boy who was the target of jokes, sneers and just too much attention.
Due to the mask asked “could you go a day without it?” Innocent question, not a demand but just wondering what would happen, was it really needed all the time.
The parents got wind of the question when the lad got home.
A phone call was made, the beginning of a series. Then letters generated from a law firm and here we go. We have a barn burner of a legal issue staring down the double barrels right at the school board. With a what are you going to do about it, looking for damages from the hub bub.
At the school board hearing with both parents in attendance, smoking was allowed. This was back in the time when it was smoke them if you have them. Reach for your chest pocket or purse and be a real Marlboro Man. Or a Virginia Slim Lady. As the parents explained that the boy was allergic to everything. You could not help noticing being quiet as a church mouse in the room that both parents were professional smokers. Toking, smoking, lighting one up before the other stopped the blue haze, toxic wispy air curls.
The school board chairman, a doctor had tried to make it off limits to smoke at the school board proceedings.
Any meetings but was quickly hushed up by one school board member that did smoke. But does not now and is dead because of it. But at this proceeding with the high power out of town attorneys racking up the billable hours to oversee the what you say, how you say it, it was obvious.
The small boy had rights to wear the mask.
But with the amount of two, three packs and more of second hand smoke generated by his dad and mom, it was obvious all the blame was not to be rock piled on the school board for questioning the need to wear the mask.
Because of the impassioned plea from the school board chairman at 2AM in the morning, a call came in from the parents.
The next day they dialed him up on the rotary phone. Thanked him crying. Saying they were sorry for making an issue of the teacher who was simply trying to help the boy with the mask.
Who got a little too much attention over the need to wear it at recess, at home too. To protect from those who loved, cared for him who were part of the problem as heavy, round the clock chain smokers.