It began when a science experiment at a Minnesota high school set off a fire alarm. One of the students, Kayona Tietz, was swimming at the time. Her clothes were in her locker.
Because the alarm was unplanned, a teacher ushered Kayona outside without letting her retrieve her clothes. All she had between her wet swimsuit and the five-below-zero weather was a towel.
Once outside, to be protected ASAP from the cold the 14-year-old could simply have sat in one of the faculty-owned cars. Everyone knew this. Nevertheless, ten minutes passed before she was allowed to do so, by which time she was suffering frostbite. A teacher felt it necessary to first acquire permission from school administrators for an exception to rules obviously inapplicable to the circumstances. Eventually, also, a teacher lent Kayona a jacket . . . but not immediately.
What happened immediately is that her classmates huddled around to keep her as warm as they could. Apparently they lacked the training to blindly follow rules intended to protect students as morally superior to, well, actually protecting their classmate.
A girl got frostbitten because school personnel were complicit in a bizarre and dramatic loss of common sense. One needn’t “review procedures” to prevent such things. One need only use common sense (and be free to use it!) The inane regulations may have originated in some bureaucrat’s cubicle. But those on the spot were responsible for their own judgment.
Or lack of it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.