continued Bell's principal, Stacy Spector, says it's not a matter of funds being suddenly available. "We are on the district's landscape schedule, and we are on their maintenance schedule for facility upgrades for repainting, stucco repair, etc. In this situation, we were able to work with the district to sort of move some of that forward; it was going to be done anyways, but we were able to reconfigure the calendar so that it [could] be done now."
Another issue of concern to Bell teachers is that students were prevented from using the new fitness rooms and outdoor physical education areas for a few days leading up to Shriver's visit because the school administration wanted to keep them clean. "That is partially true," Workman says. "Each individual coach had classrooms to go to, and they did work there. I don't think they did physical activity; they could have done some nutritional things. I can't speak for all the coaches."
Kids were kept out of physical education for four or five days, Workman says, adding that the motivation was not to keep students from sullying the facility. "Absolutely not," she says. "The room was still under construction, and we just didn't want the kids in and around the construction site. There were workers everywhere. It wouldn't have been safe to have kids in there. That is why we gave them an alternative room to do their thing."
Asked if she feels the school district was putting on a false face for Shriver, Workman answers, "Yes, I do, but I would be embarrassed otherwise. And I think the best thing to do is to tell her, 'We did all this because you came; this is not the way it was.' I guess just to vocalize that with her when she comes."
"The other thing about all this is the kids are not fooled," adds Teacher #2. "When [the cleanup] began, our students were sitting here in class, and they were asking, 'Who is the school getting fixed up for?' And that is an awkward position to be put in: to have to tactfully, without politicizing it, explain to them that a dignitary is coming, and suddenly the funds are available. But they are not stupid. They see through this as well as anyone else."