My home of Palo Alto, California, has been in the news a lot for the past couple of weeks for reasons we needn’t explore here. I’ve written about my town many times before, including this post from three years ago in which I explained how the city had hired guards to stand alongside the train tracks in town to try to make sure students weren’t leaping in front of express locomotives to escape the pressure of being someone’s child in this town. At present, I think the city is spending about $1.5 million a year on these guards. I pass them every single day, and you’ve never seen a human more bored.
I was reminded of the subject of Palo Alto children today when I saw this on the front page of our local newspaper, the reading thereof being a rigid morning habit of mine:
The headline doesn’t really say what the story is about, but apparently one of the candidates for the school board (a woman with the surname Jordan) made a frequent habit of writing to, of all things, the student newspaper at Palo Alto High School, which is called the Campanile.
I’m not sure if you remember your own high school newspaper, but I remember mine, and I can’t imagine a publication of less consequence (The Gartman Letter notwithstanding). So this grown woman emailed the student newspaper 15 times, according to the article which, according to the same article, “traumatized” the poor students who had to go through the act of reading the aforementioned emails.
Unless Ms Jordan was sending nude images of Ernest Borgnine, I can’t imagine why the student experience would be characterized as traumatic. So much so that the school district decided the way to address this problem was to tell the students they were being dumbshits and could set up a simple filter to automatically delete her messages.
No, no, no. I kid, I kid. What the school district actually did was hire an esteemed First Amendment attorney to take up the matter with Ms. Jordan and thereby act as both sword and shield to the students who, in the district’s own words, were being threatened and harassed.
The legal fees involved are not revealed in the story, although for a district that shells out $1.5 million year after year to have a bunch of men sit next to railroad tracks, bored out of their minds (and probably seriously considering leaping in front of the next train themselves), it probably seems immaterial.
This entire nation is going insane. It’s happening so steadily and so slowly, very few of us realize it. Still, I thought you just might like this data point from my corner of the world, since we’re going insane in our own special and expensive way, as befitting a city like Palo Alto.