We’re all used to the weather being a news story in Oklahoma. Oftentimes it leads the reporting. I am not sure why we still are flabbergasted by a drop in temperature or a heavy rainfall, but apparently it’s so strong for ratings that you can expect wall-to-wall coverage when one of these things happens.
My husband and I used to do a commentary on how ridiculous the scenario had become:
(Scene -- your living room watching an evening sitcom. Suddenly your favorite weather person breaks in.)
“Folks, it’s Rick Mitchell here, breaking in with some important weather information. If you look out your window you’ll see a large arc of several streams of water pouring down near your house. I don’t want you to be alarmed, but we had to tell you. And remember you heard it from News 23 first. You’re neighbors are sprinkling their yard. Again. Rick Mitchell here Oklahoma’s weather Guru breaking in with urgent news. Your neighbor is watering her yard. Stay with News 23 for continued coverage of this weather incident.“
Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but the weather and concerns about it have gotten a little out of hand. Little did you know how much havoc this kind of alarmism wreaks on a public school system.
Here’s a before and after to further illustrate the colossal waste of time and misappropriation of resources created by overreacting to weather-related events.
Twenty years ago, schools had heat and air issues that caused the temperature in the school buildings to not be ideal. As teachers, we opened windows and doors to circulate air, or told kids to keep their coats on. In Putnam City we were fortunate that it didn’t last for too many days, and then the problem would get resolved.
Fast forward to today, and somehow this has become a major news event. The administration was informed that the heat would not be working at one of our schools today. The school courteously used the automated dialing system to alert parents so that they would dress their children more warmly in anticipation of a cold building. Then some people -- likely students -- decided to post the loss of heat on social media. And for some reason, this became newsworthy. Our communications director got media calls to which she had to respond. Our operations director had to be pulled out of a meeting to make comments.
I’m not kidding. They actually wanted sound bites on this issue.
Help me understand how this is news. Are they piling on negative news to hurt public education as part of some agenda to kill it? Aren’t there actual news stories to be chasing in our state?
Trust me, if they need ideas for things on which they could be reporting, I am chock full. Consider why we had a heating issue in the first place. Could the school possibly need some money to regulate that system better?? Hmmm???