Scream into my pillow

Scream into my pillow
Photo by Jude Infantini / Unsplash

For me, scream into a pillow anger is the kind of anger that is good, righteous even, but the sound of it will change absolutely nothing. So I shove the sound of my fury into a pillow, or the palm of my hand or the walls of my shower. It’s the kind of anger I have at systems and institutions that are more likely to feed off my screams than be chastened by them. 

Today? Today, I got that angry when I saw news crews in front of it my kid’s school. Reporters in jewel tones with lights that made them look airbrushed even when I drove past them in real life. 

My daughter’s school is one of 48 Denver Public Schools that does not have air conditioning. On hot days, the classrooms are 90 degrees. Kids are going home with heat stroke. The reporters were there because her school is closing early all week because of another record breaking heat wave in Denver. 

Kids are being rushed through classes so they can be released by 1:30 instead of 4pm. After dismissal, the school is providing BlackJack pizza for any kid that needs to eat lunch before going home. So many kids depend on school for lunch. School should be the safest most comfortable place in the community. Instead, kids are getting heat stroke because of climate change on top of a pandemic on top of a long history of neglecting public school. 

A bond was passed in 2021 to get AC into 24 of the schools. (Yes, that means there are lots of schools with no funding or plan for AC installation…still.) Work was supposed to start and finish at my kid’s school over the summer. Now the district says AC will be in by late-fall. The district says the delay is because of a supply chain problem. Maybe.

But I also wonder - what if this school was an office building? Full of tech workers who expect cool air and free bagels. Would the HVAC have been figured out then? There has been reporting on the lack of AC since at least 2016. Well before supply chain issues and the pandemic. Do DPS district buildings have AC? If they don’t, do they have fans? Portable a/c units in the offices? Our school has neither.

I felt resigned when I heard about the early closures yesterday. So why did seeing those news crews make me so angry I could spit? I know the news reporting on this is a good thing! Or at least not a bad thing. But it didn’t feel good. Instead, it felt like cool, comfortable people filming kids who are going to overheat today for content. A segment in between ads for Clorox and McDonald’s. 

But even with that irrational reaction set aside? Haven’t these kids been exposed to enough for the past three years? Haven't they been a lesson people won't learn for the last three years? I just felt so protective and angry. Stop using their names and images in vain. No one is going to help them. At least let them overheat without the indignity of people gawking at them, shaking their heads and then moving on.

After I dropped my kid off, I texted her, “Don’t talk to the news crews. The viewers don’t deserve you.” Then I came home and screamed in my pillow.