Unnecessarily scary 2nd grade picnic


My son’s school held its end-of-year picnic today on the Forest Lakes Recreation Council sports fields just to the west of the school grounds. About 100 children and their younger siblings were darting in and out and around the pavilion and ball fields when a Harford County garbage truck showed up at about 11 a.m. to unload the weekend’s trash from the metal bins clustered around the pavilion and spread throughout the fields. The bins definitely needed emptying. Every single one of the them near the picnic area was filled to overflowing with the weekend’s collection of paper plates and pizza boxes. All the room mothers had been eyeing them nervously as they unpacked their picnics and asking each other if anyone had thought to bring a trash bag. So the sight of the garbage truck was a bit of a relief – at first. Then we all watched nervously as the truck drove onto the grassy fields – as I’m sure is their usual method on a sleepy Monday morning – to position the business end of the truck nearest the trash cans. We gathered the littlest ones onto a wooden platform and made them swear to stay put until the truck left. But then the truck pushed on, driving on the grass, through the middle of the picnic to the next group of overflowing trash cans. The workers were admirably cautious, seeking out someone in charge to move the children out of their way. They found a teacher with a whistle who directed the children away from the pavilion onto a ball field. But the garbage loading went on for some time and the kids’ interest in staying put quickly waned. By the time the truck crept along to the next group of cans, the children were again ricocheting across the park like pin balls. The garbage pick up proceeded smoothly and no one was injured. But the risk was simply unnecessary. Imagine if during the picnic planning meeting someone stood up and suggested that during the event a garbage truck would drive straight through the middle of the festivities? I imagine someone at the school would have promptly contacted the county to make sure trash pick up didn’t coincide with the picnic time. I imagine that’s what they should do before the next picnic.