It was the kind of scarring childhood experience that might be discussed at length in a therapist’s office someday: When I was growing up on Staten Island and didn’t have enough money to attend my school’s end-of-the-year carnival, I pressed my face against the school-yard fence and watched all the other kids laugh, play games and eat cotton candy, and I wept.
It sounds like a boast straight out of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch, but according to the Staten Island Advance, this “cruel” act took place earlier this week at P.S. 39, aka the Francis J. Murphy Jr. School in Arrocar, where 23 “have-nots,” as the Advance called them, were prevented from attending their school carnival because they didn’t pony up the $15 entrance fee. Some of the children also apparently forgot their permission slips.
These children were left to “gaze gloomily” through a fence, the paper says, at all the fun being had at the carnival on the other side, prompting an outcry from parents and hundreds of angry comments on the paper’s website.
“They were just sitting there watching everything,” said one mother of a third-grader told the Advance. “All of a sudden, it’s a crime to be poor. It’s a disgrace.”
And you try and tell the young people of tomorrow that — and they won’t believe you! A call to the school principal, Robert Corso, was not returned.