Civic Duty in the Trash?

To the Editor;

            Civic Duty in the Trash?

            First of all, thank you for your time.

            Over a year ago now, a handful of parents, led by our young students, took on the overdue task of implementing recycling and composting in the lunch room of Sippican Elementary School.  (Yes, it is 2019 and this is not common practice yet). There were hitches, messes, spills, and learning curves but together the children persevered and, together, they made it work… that is, until a few naysayers hastily shut it down. What happened?

            One day, upon inspection, the recycling bins and the compost buckets were overlooked and not sanitized by a new-to-the-process custodial staff. In short, all progress ceased and parents/tax payers were not informed of this decision. Communication was broken. The kids’ hard work was discarded and sent to SEMASS along with the compost and the recyclables. Education and civic duty were thrown out with the trash.

            However, there was a silver lining to this tripped-up work in progress: Although the students at Sippican Elementary School were never given due credit for their efforts, they did manage to get rid of plastic straws within Sippican Elementary School and neighboring schools also took the same initiative. Bravo, young leaders and future town councilors.

            Most remarkable to witness in this tedious process was the seamless transition and growth of our young students. One day they were all habitually grabbing a plastic straw with their plastic utensils and the next day they were foregoing it for the sake of their environment, their futures, and the greater good.

            Fast forward to present time. Plastic straws are back. Why did this conscientious small measure of foregoing a plastic straw stop? And, moreover, why this deleterious setback? As of this September, not only are plastic straws back in our children’s schools but they are also pre-packaged with a plastic utensil and further wrapped in more plastic waste. Now, omitting a plastic straw is no longer an option. Each child is now forced to include a turtle-choking stick with their utensil. This is a glaring social slap and punishment for our well-informed children, our investment for the future.  

            Let’s please remedy this as soon as possible. Parents and the community are willing to buy the remaining inventory for the sake of our children and our environment because civic responsibility takes precedence over saving a few pennies, especially when young impressionable minds and formative learning are involved. Let’s do the right thing. And, thank you to our new principal, Ms. Marla Sirois, for supporting and advocating for our children. Let’s now unify our communities to embrace this overdue change: Let’s get rid of these insidious plastic straws and work to reduce single-use plastics. Single-use plastic bottles and bags are next, Kids. Keep striving. We’ve got this.  

Emily Field

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