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Got To Be Real: Kids back to school, parents broke

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Column by Shonna Sheckles

It’s that time of year again. Back to school for the kiddos and to the local bank for a loan for parents who buy all these school supplies.

I looked at a list for a couple fourth-graders and a sixth-grader. Can you say ridiculous? I know it has been more than 20 years since my oldest child started school, but today’s cost to get a child back to school is too high.

In the school my children attended, students wore uniforms and that was an expensive venture. But once we got into the swing of things, it worked. At first I was against uniforms and I complained to everyone who had a shallow breath that looking like everyone else would affect my kid’s individuality. Well, I lost that battle and I’m glad I did, for I did not have to listen to my daughter, Lindsey, complain about how she did not have anything to wear. She did have something to wear — those cute little khaki pants and a purple, gold, navy or white polo. I did find myself spending more money on name brand tennis shoes and Dooney and Bourke backpacks, though.

So, I find myself over the uniforms. But I can’t wrap my head around all these supplies.

Crayola crayons and Crayola markers. Does it really matter in the large scheme of things if the crayons or markers are Crayola? I think any crayon will do. I thought coloring had something to do with helping to define hand to eye coordination and working on fine motor skills.

What about a sixth-grader needing a T-15 calculator? That little ditty was not cheap. Not to mention hand sanitizer, the large one, two boxes of tissue, 24 No. 2 pencils, six folders, a zip-up binder, four three-ring binders and the list goes on.

And what really threw Bippy, as my great-nieces and nephew call me, under the bus is I could not put their names on anything except for the binders and folders because everything else is community property. What the what? Yes, the other supplies are to be used by the classroom. Not for one moment do I think the teacher should be responsible for all this stuff but can the school systems chip in a little?

What about single parents who are barely getting by? How does this make them feel, when they really can’t afford supplies and wonder if that causes their child to be left out? With times as hard as they are, some dual-parent homes have a hard time affording this list if there is more than one child in the home.

In my opinion, school days should be happy times, where children learn as much as they can. It should not be a stressful time for parents or children because families simply can’t afford back-to-school supplies.

Shonna Sheckles lives in Bardstown and works in Elizabethtown. She can be reached at kyclassie78@hotmail.com.