Fellow Senators of Pompeii,

Each of us has been devastated by Mount Vesuvius, from the moment it started erupting, five hours ago, to the moment a sea of lava swallowed the amphitheatre, at the beginning of this sentence.

At this time of great death and destruction, it's abundantly clear that this is the moment when we must send our children back to school, even though that school is located inside the gaping mouth of the still-erupting volcano.

Now, it might seem dangerous to disregard the advice of medical experts like Hippocrates, who have specifically advised us not to go anywhere near the volcano, and in fact, to flee our city, whose streets are quickly filling with magma. But what would be more dangerous would be to disrupt our children’s routines. Children need structure. Their mental health depends on it. What could possibly be more mentally healthy than taking a spelling test while molten boulders—such as the one that just flattened Senator Constantine—fall from the sky?

While parents know their children are unlikely to be affected by the rivers of magma (which children can easily avoid, given their childlike acrobatic abilities), many parents still fear that little Romulus could bring home a flaming stick as a gift for grandma. But to them I say: Grandma’s 41, prime dying age. For our children’s mental health, we must sacrifice a few decaying, decrepit, (not to mention disgusting) 41-year-olds.

What’s the alternative? Parents don’t have time for homeschooling. They’re already busy enough with all the gathering of their belongings, panicked fleeing of the city, and desperate attempts at creating makeshift shelters to huddle in. If schools don't reopen tomorrow, how are parents supposed to also have time for lessons in subjects as diverse as Latin conjugation, reading an abacus, and all 79 years of world history?

It’s easy for a single, childless doctor like Hippocrates to recommend that we “wait until the volcano stops erupting before reopening schools.” Hippocrates may be the Father of Western Medicine, whatever that means, but he isn’t an actual father. He doesn’t know what it feels like to reach your breaking point, snap, and just fully need your kids out of the makeshift shelter.

He has the luxury to think of the teachers, who—news flash—also have to go inside the volcano school, who do not possess childlike acrobatic abilities to keep them safe from rivers of magma, who need to keep an eye out for the fires that block every exit, and who struggle to create lesson plans due to the smoke that turns the noon sky black as night. Well I’m sorry, Mr. Luxury: sorry you thought your “role in medical history” was more important than becoming a father.

Parents don’t need to worry. We’ll institute common-sense safety measures to keep kids safe in volcano school, such as giving them masks to prevent smoke inhalation. If there’s one thing we can always depend on, it’s children’s well-known ability to not get annoyed by an article of clothing and randomly remove it in public.

All that being said, I myself will not be sending my children to volcano school, and neither will any of the other senators.

We’ll still get our kids out of the house—obviously—but private schools will do their own thing: private tutoring sessions safely outside the perimeter of the city. Now, does that mean the public volcano school is unsafe? Absolutely not.

I yield the floor (or at least my half of it, since it has just been split down the middle by a river of fire). Good day. Veni, vidi, vici.


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