My son Nyles started school last week at a wonderful charter school in the Northeast DC called Two Rivers. Last year, my wife and I were a part of the Charter school lottery and we didn't find out until the third week of school, that my son had been accepted to Seaton Elementary school. Two Rivers had been on our wish list, but we fell just short. This year, Two Rivers was our first choice and we knew early on that Nyles was going to be in attendance, so there was no headache or worrying.
In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, the staff of Two Rivers PCS reaffired that my wife and I had made the proper decision for Nyles. His new teachers sent a letter Nyles where they briefly introduced themselves and included headshots so we'd know what they looked like. I put that letter on the wall in Nyles' room so he would know exactly what he was in for the first day of school. There was a typo in the note they sent to Nyles, but my wife said I should let that slide (but I really haven't), because the gesture was so nice.
A couple of days before school started, my wife and I went to meet the new teachers in person, and they seemed very genuine, caring, and young as hell, which made me feel old(er). They were a little stiffer (in terms of their demeanor) than the teachers Nyles had the previous year, but academically, I had no doubt that my son Nyles was in good hands inside that school. Outside the school is an entirely different story.
Directly next to Two Rivers PCS is a Planned Parenthood facility which is scheduled to open very soon. There are construction workers around the building making cosmetic changes, but for the most part that facility is ready to open--more importantly, the words Planned Parenthood are visible in big bold letters, which attracts protesters.
Every day last week and once this week (today) Two Rivers called my wife and I with a recorded message saying that protesters were around the Planned Parenthood buildling with explicit photos. Two Rivers suggested that parents use the back entrance to enter the school if we did not want to subject the kids to such things. I hadn't seen any protesters until today, when I saw a lone woman standing in the front of the building with a picture of an aborted fetus, and it was about as disgusting as it sounds. A Two Rivers staff member positioned herself slightly in front of the sign so the kids would not see it, but it was clearly visible. Luckily for me, Nyles and his four-year old beady eyes, fixated on a dog that was behind us. Crisis averted...for now.
The bigger issue is, whose bright idea was it to build a Planned Parenthood next to an established school that houses Pre-K to 8th grade students? I am not here to speak on my views about abortion and Planned Parenthood, because a) no one cares and b) that's not the point here. The point is that Planned Parenthood establishments are always fodder for protestors with creepy signs and angry axes to grind. Sometimes the protests are done respectfully, other times they are met with violence--sometime of the gun variety. If I know that, I'm quite sure the powers-that-be in Washington DC know that as well, and yet, that building is still sitting right next to the school.
In fairness, when my wife and I first researched this school, we knew about the Planned Parenthood situation, and we decided to power through and apply anyway, because their academic reputation was just that strong. Perhaps I have no right to bitch and moan about an issue that I knew good and goddamn well could affect me and my child daily. But why the hell do I have to make that kind of decision anyway? Why couldn't they put that Planned Parenthood next to a church, or a liquor store or a CVS?