Please note, this occurred in Tullahoma and not in Bedford County.
That was my reaction Thursday night after an unexpected little visitor stopped by the house.
I had just finished up the Shelbyville study session story for Friday when the soft tones of the doorbell sounded. I nearly didn't hear it due to having Otis Redding cranked, but I answered the door, thinking it was my Amazon package finally being delivered.
Instead, I found myself looking down at an obviously nervous young lad that looked about 11 to 12 years old. He had an envelope in his hand.
"Umm.... sir, I'm raising money for West Middle School and I was wondering if you..."
I can't believe this.
School just started in Tullahoma on Wednesday, and 24 hours later, they've already got these children going door to door, asking for money.
Poor kid. I didn't want to startle the boy, but I said pretty much the same thing to him. "You mean to tell me you've been in school just a little more than a day they've already got you doing fund raising???
The child sheepishly nodded in agreement.
"Shouldn't a kid your age be out playing with your friends?"
Heavy nod of agreement.
"I mean, aren't they suppose to be teaching reading, writing and the rest, instead of sending you out to shake down the public?"
OK, maybe that was a bit much, but I began to become a little upset as another thought began to occur to me.
It was dusk, and looking around my yard and the sidewalk, I saw no evidence of any parent or adult keeping an eye on this kid. I had not seen the boy before in the neighborhood and here he was, walking down a major state highway all by his lonesome, knocking on doors, pleading for funds.
With all the sickos in the world, sending a child out totally unsupervised like this to the homes of strangers is next to insanity. It's not like it was when I grew up anymore when you could trick or treat through the entire neighborhood and be absolutely sure you were safe.
Some nut could have pulled up, snatched the kid off the street and with all the traffic, no one would be the wiser until he was overdue at home.
I felt sorry for the kid and apparently, he picked up on this.
"So, would you like to subscribe to a ..."
Sadly, I had to send the boy away empty handed, but I can't help but wonder how important fund raising must be to schools to think of sending a child on the second day of school out to plead for cash in this way.
I'll be no doubt hearing from educators about this, touting the importance of raising cash but in these times, this practice is flat out dangerous. Hold a car wash. Have a yard sale.
But for pity sake, if you are going to send children door to door, at least make sure they are supervised. Educators are suppose to educate, and if something happened to one of these kids, the rest of the class would be getting a lessen too horrific to contemplate.