Below 20° is very cold. But when is very cold too cold?
High School Marching Band Problems: Safety Worries
Our community held its Thanksgiving Day Parade last Sunday. The temperatures were in the twenties, but the wind chill factor made it feel like it was much colder, in fact, unbearably cold. It was so windy that the Stamford, Connecticut parade committee cancelled the floats and balloons.
My daughter is in her high school marching band and weather was no deterrent. They had “the show must go on” attitude. I was so worried about my daughter the entire day. And because the weather was so brutal, I wondered whether anyone would come to watch the parade.
As a teacher and daughter of a school principal, I know the weather safety rules by heart: Temperatures that drop into the teens, including the wind chill factor, are dangerously cold and it is unsafe for children to go outside for recess. Yet, these same rules do not apply to teens in a marching band. The radio announcer warned that pets should not be left outside for too long. But no one was worried about my kid marching in a parade for several hours. And her uniform did not include a winter coat, hat or gloves.
I’m on the executive board of the marching band committee, so I raised my concern at a board meeting. “I’m wondering what our policy is about kids marching in brutally unsafe temperatures?” I brought up this topic because parents need to protect their kids, even when the school is making the decision. Of course, I no longer have a personal interest since my daughter will be graduating this spring. But I wanted to make sure that a policy was in place to protect all the kids.
I achieved one small victory: The band leader agreed that when the temperature drops below 10°, he will allow the kids to wear their jackets.