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I admit, one of my favorite jobs ever was working as a custodian for a very large child care center. When something broke, I fixed it. When a child puked masticated bile scented Crunch Berries on the floor, I was the guy who came out with the magic sawdust-clay mixture to soak it up and take it away.

When the center was short handed in the infant room, I got pulled into the infant room. When they were short handed in the 3 year old room, I got pulled into the three year old room. And when the kids finished their lunch, I was the guy mopping up vast amounts of wet, sticky rice from the floor, sanitizing the tables, chairs and high-chairs, and washing the dishes.

I sanitized doorknobs. I filed down jagged parts of metal that somehow, every once in a while, stuck out from steel door jams and bathroom stalls. I hauled out dozens of bags of dirty diapers Every Single Day...and yes, I cleaned up an unholy amount of poop from a dozen itty bitty toilets.

Incidentally...these are many of the things Newt Gingrich believes should be jobs for poor children in our public school systems. Perhaps you haven't heard Newt Gingrich's suggestion that we shit can the union custodians at our schools and hire poor students to do the work instead.

Cleaning up vomit. Cleaning feces off of toilet seats. Handling cleaning solvents that can eat right through latex gloves. Washing dishes with an industrial dish washer that heats the water over 180 degrees, enough to scald young skin...I can't tell you how many times I burnt myself in that water. OUCH. Plunging toilets plugged with diarrhea and toilet paper, then sanitizing the toilet seat for the Non Poor students.

Newt Gingrich wants our children cleaning blood, mucous, feces, urine, dried snot, vomit loaded with God-Knows-What pathogens from floors and walls and door knobs with chemicles that can eat the skin right off your arm or cause permanent blindness if it splashed into the eyes or loss of smell if some Janitor Kid jammed his finger up his nose...which kids never do, right?


Because an 8 year old is going to observe strict safety regulations, right?

When tasked with removing the rusting nails from the wooden playground equipment that has been discovered on the playground, that child janitor is of course going to be mindful he doesn't pierce himself....or when an errant ball sends glass and fluorescent mercury filled lightbulbs shattering to the ground, we're absolutely certain that nine year old girl is going to be so extremely careful not to slice herself open, expose herself to mercury, or for lack of attention span leave shattered slivers of glass on the shelves that happen to house the flatware and plastic cups for lunches and snacks. We're sure she'll observe proper safety procedures when removing snapped off electrical prongs from outlets.

We're absolutely sure little Kayden is going to be mindful enough to shovel the sidewalks and keep the entry ways salted to prevent people from slipping, and that he'll be sure to winterize the water systems and change the furnace filters, make sure the soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, toilet paper rolls, hallway hand sanitizer cartridges, and, of course, cherry scented urinal cakes made from hazardous quaternary ammonium compounds are well stocked and pubic hairs removed from the edge of the piss coated urinal edges. Right, kiddies? Make sure to get those black curlies off of there.

And surely those very custodian children will be on hand for the monthly to weekly deep cleans that take place late into the nights when most lucky children are at home. Meanwhile the poor kids are polishing the floors. Dusting the vents. Changing the light bulbs on ladders 20 feet in the air in the massive gymnasium.  

But maybe............just MAYBE...... Newt has no idea.

Maybe he doesn't actually know what janitors do. Maybe he imagines there's a routine to the job. Go in, wax on, wax off, mop the floor. Done.

DONE. Clean and sanitary. Every day is exactly the same. In Newt's mind, this master custodian he's talking about will have plenty of time to watch over the children as they clean the grease trap in the kithchen. He'll follow them around as they use the high torque 110 pound floor buffer, which, incidentally, one of my teenage co-workers at the child care drove through a wall at one point. He'll be sure they're not leaving the mopped floors covered in soap, and watching over them to be sure they handle toxic chemicles with proper care at all times.

I can't keep going on talking about this.

Newt is a fucking idiot who clearly hasn't worked a day in his life, and if he has, his decades of corruption have stripped away any working understanding of what it means.

He should be embarrassed for suggesting we make poor children clean our schools. There is SO much wrong with that statement and the most irritating thing is, he doesn't even know WHY.

Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 09:34 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Kos Georgia.

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