Americans seem ready for a rare and exciting event – today's total solar eclipse – which happens to be the first one viewable over the U.S. in 38 years (I was ten during the last one). Unfortunately, the apparent convergence of sun and moon will occur over a very different United States from back in 1979, nearly four decades ago.
In ancient times, a solar eclipse was widely feared and viewed, due to a lack of scientific knowledge, as a sign of an apocalyptic event. You'd think we would have greatly progressed, but today, thanks to an ever growing nanny-state, the only totality that needs to be feared is the trend toward a total lack of basic knowledge on the part of individuals.
We initially received an email from our local school district warning that the only way to safely view the eclipse is through a proper solar filter and were provided with some links to more information. Commonsense stuff, but fair enough. But then we got the following email from my daughter's high school, where she just began her senior year:
You should have already received an email from our district office in regards to the solar eclipse that will be happening on Monday. Rocklin High School would like to keep you informed about the precautions we are taking to help keep your students safe. We will be changing the bell schedule for this Monday so that break/lunch will not be during the most visible part of this event. The schedule is listed below.
8/21 Articulation Schedule
Block 1 7:45 - 8:55
Block 2 9:00 - 10:10
Block 3 10:15 - 11:25
Brunch 11:25 - 11:45
Block 4 11:50 - 1:00
While we will still have a five-minute passing period where the students will be outside between 2nd and 3rd, the hope is that the shorter amount of time will limit the opportunity for any student to make a poor decision.
We would encourage you to speak with your student regarding the dangers of looking directly at the sun during this time. Thank you in advance for your support.
Yes, this is from a high school and not an elementary school. How far have we declined as a civilization when a school's schedule must be changed to keep high school students away from viewing an eclipse and parents need to be reminded to remind their nearly adult teenagers that looking directly at the Sun will damage their eyes? I know we're a bit farther down the rabbit hole here in California, but I suspect that other states can't be too far behind.
As I mentioned, I was ten years old during the last total (partial in my area, like this time) eclipse. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember bringing a shoebox to school to make a solar viewer, and I know for a fact that I fully understood (at ten) not to look directly at the sun. And I certainly don't recall hearing of a mass epidemic of high school graduates from the classes of 1979-82, struggling to accept their diplomas while dependent upon the use of white canes.
Instead of teaching kids the skills they need to think for themselves so they'll eventually be able to take care of themselves (what a concept), the current snowflake factories are instead turning out young adults who will be more and more dependent upon government for basic survival. But at least they'll know how to use the proper gender pronouns when the situation requires.
I grew up during a very different time and have made the personal decision to safely view this event through my eight-inch Newtonian reflector topped with a glass solar filter. I suppose that this unfairly makes me the beneficiary of some sort of previously undiscovered privilege.