Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Raising Snowflakes 

Schools in my district are canceling classes on the day of the solar eclipse on August 21 “for safety reasons.” The eclipse will last for 3 minutes but the school board says the “danger window” for children will last for 3 hours. They will not have time and resources to train the teachers to deal with the danger. 

What the danger actually is remains unexplained. I kind of thought that the fear of eclipses has been put to rest a few hundred years ago but apparently not in this country. As somebody said, the little snowflakes probably run the danger of melting when the sun reappears. 

No, I’m not inventing this shit. 


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13 thoughts on “Raising Snowflakes 

  1. Dreidel on said:

    “What the danger actually is remains unexplained.”

    Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage (solar retinopathy) — this is a REAL danger. Nobody is tempted to look right at the sun during normal days because the intense light is obviously uncomfortable, but will stare at it during eclipses, because the reduced amount of light getting through the eclipse feels tolerable.

    People who stare at solar eclipses should do so through protective filters that block the harmful rays. Children are unaware of the danger and of the need for eye protection.


    • Imparting this information to students would take 20 seconds at most.


      • Dreidel on said:

        Do you think that telling the students not to look at the eclipse would actually keep many of them from doing so anyway?


        • And what are the parents going to lock them in closets during the eclipse? When I was school age we were much more responsive to teacher directives than mere parents.


          • I taught Klara not to stick wet fingers in the electric socket. And she understood me very well. You can’t go through life hiding them from everything. An eclipse is a great educational moment.


        • And that’s how they learn about responsibility and choices.


          • Stringer Bell on said:

            Uff, that’s some tough love, haha. I’d rather start them off with some lower stakes.


            • I seriously envision zero hardship if I had to teach a class of kids any age about eclipses. If an educator can’t turn an eclipse into a fun learning adventure, what can she do? Administer multiple choice tests?


              • Pen on said:

                My guess is that none of the teachers in the district have enough pairs of eclipse glasses to pass out among their students. The glasses are surprisingly expensive for such a cheaply made thing, and it’s not the sort of thing that gets set into the budget. Just telling a group of kids not to look at the eclipse doesn’t mean they won’t do it anyway. And then when a kid ends up with serious eye damage, it’s the school’s fault because they’re responsible for the kids’ safety while at school.

                Comparing other kids to Klara isn’t really fair, either. An 18-month-old will be far more likely to follow directions than a kid who’s twelve to fourteen. A lot of younger kids won’t follow directions like that, either, especially if they think it’s safe because the sun doesn’t appear to be bright enough to cause damage.


      • I think this is probably about liability. If a kid suffers eye damage from looking at the eclipse, their parents could claim that the school didn’t do enough to prevent it.


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