OP/ED: Packing up the school supplies and..... toilet paper???

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
September 9th, 2010

Well it’s back to school week for everyone and as the children get used to their routine once again, it’s the parents in some places who were in for a surprise when they went shopping for school supplies.   While the Boundary hasn’t yet stooped this low, some schools, particularly in the United States, are so hard pressed for funding that students are being asked to supply their own toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper! These kind of requests are not surprising when, schools are beginning the new school year faced with decreasing budgets and ongoing demands for basic supplies.   The New York Times reported the following demands placed on parents in different states: “On the list for pre-kindergartners at McClendon Elementary in Nevada, Tex.: a package of cotton balls, two containers of facial tissue, rolls of paper towels, sheaves of manila and construction paper, and a package of paper sandwich bags. “Pre-kindergartners in the Joshua school district in Texas have to track down Dixie cups and paper plates, while students at New Central Elementary in Havana, Ill., and Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock, Colo., must come to class with a pack of printer paper. Wet Swiffer refills and plastic cutlery are among the requests from St. Joseph School in Seattle. And at Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, every student must show up with a four-pack of toilet paper.”   We should be proud that in Canada we are still asking for the basics – paper, pens, pencils, etc. although local lists still include Kleenex and band-aids – but with the budget crunches experienced last year for school districts across B.C. more than just extra-curricular activities are probably going to be questioned in the near future.   While it’s not cheap sending your young ones off to school – Visa estimates the average Canadian will spend $621 on school supplies this year –this increasingly seems to be the way of the world. Our parents probably thought it was expensive when all they had to buy were scribblers and pens, maybe a bit of glue or something for that elective class we were taking.

Nonetheless, most of you packed your little ones off to school this week with their backpacks full of their listed items. Here’s hoping for a wonderful school year, lots of fun, positive teaching, and best of all – in-house toilet paper! 

Categories: Op/Ed