One of my favorite expressions, that I think I inherited from my sainted mother, is, Fill in the blank, doesn’t have the sense that God gave a goose. Here is the latest incident that elicited that phrase from me:
A Minnesota public high school was so committed to obeying its fire drill policy to the exact letter of the law that it forced a female student–dressed only in a swimsuit, and sopping wet–to stand outside in the freezing cold for ten minutes. As a result, she suffered frostbite.
The trouble began when a small science experiment triggered the fire alarm at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz was swimming in the school pool for health class at the time. Her clothes were in her locker, and a teacher told her that there was no time for her to change. Hagen-Tietz was rushed outside–still wet and dressed in only (a) swimsuit.
Hagen-Tietz asked to wait inside an employee’s car, or at the elementary school across the street. But administrators believed that this would violate official policy, and could get the school in trouble, so they opted to simply let the girl freeze.
I have spent my life explaining to people that common sense doesn’t necessarily fly out the window when Law enters the picture. The defense of, “I was only following orders” didn’t work for the Nazis and should not work as a shield for boundless stupidity. Honk!