The school year starts

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My son has worn this week for the first time his “peas color” uniform at a high school building of Groin architecture barely five minutes from our Yugoslavian model building. The last days of vacations were marked by the process of buying the shoes, the search for a new backpack, and the discussions about how much to stretch the oversized size 18 pants.

The morning meeting of the first day went by with inflamed words and promises of a perfect course. Then, it came time for us to get familiar with the new model of high school, so different compared to the years when I went to one. For instance, for a while now, high school kids can’t go to their homes for lunch. The measure aims to eradicate the contrasts between those who have a good lunch awaiting and those who have less or almost nothing. It tries as well to prevent the boys from going around and misbehaving.

Under this new system, at noon each student receives a sandwich of some protein food and a glass of yogurt. At that age, such a small ration only serves to awake the lions of appetite and make them roar for the next class hours. So from twenty past twelve, the parents start to approach the school’s surrounding fence with pots, jars and spoons, to reinforce their children’s diet. Some schools have banned this practice, and other schools have announced that the students must bring with them, in the morning, their lunch.

Every day, in a quite stealthy way, I go near the school and pass through the fence the “shopping bag” with the necessary diet reinforcement. I notice many parents outside doing the same, but I also notice that a good share of the kids don’t get the additional ration. All in all, by trying to erase the differences, another one has been created, a difference so visible and painful, that I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to soften the above mentioned measure and let the kids have their lunch in their homes, while guaranteeing decent food for those who stay in school.

All that is imposed, whatever is mandatory and rigid ends up being undermined, weeakened, and worst yet, rejected.

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