Time to Get the “LED” Out!

I’m sure that many of you have frequently driven past the type of outdoor, LED signs oft found in front of public schools. What I’d like to know is who, if anyone, ever gets to actually read even one of the displayed messages in its entirety?

Even if motorists are obeying the posted, usually slower, school zone speed limits… oh say 35mph / 56.3kph… just how much info can one possibly assimilate while passing by? Not much… especially considering how it oft requires two to three sequential displays to completely convey one message. If timed out right, about all one could ever expect to totally read would be the time and/or temperature reports.

Even so, should anyone operating a vehicle even be attempting to read such messages in the first place? After all, Rule #1 is to always keep your eyes on the road. The only good news, here, is that… to my knowledge… my own hometown’s sign has not caused any distracted driver type car crashes… so far… so far…

So, might rubbernecker car passengers fare better in reading more? Not likely. The mph/kph issue would still be in play. Beyond that… if your town is anything like mine… most cars zipping on by are driver only. So…

What I’d still like to know is who, if anyone, ever gets to actually read even one of the displayed messages in its entirety?

In my locale, that’d likely amount to just three people… my two neighbors and I. That’s because we live right next door to the school in question. The irony, here, is that since none of us have any kiddies enrolled, these flashing school calendar / events specific messages are of little value to us.

The further irony, here, is how folks, who do have school age kids, are likely gathering all the info they need right off the school system’s website.

Adding further insult to injury is how the three of us do find this sign to be aesthetically offensive. There’s no escaping it’s flashing red, orange and green garish LED glare! Even our windows’ closed thick drapes get noticeably backlit.

Folks, this goes on and On and ON… 24/7… even now while school is out for the summer. This unwanted, undesirable radiance intrudes whenever I sit down to eat at my dining room table… whenever my neighbors attempt to chill out on their back porch.

While such marquee-like displays complement cityscapes dotted with movie theaters, nightclubs, saloons, tattoo parlors and pool halls, they do utterly clash with the last remaining vestiges of the small town, laid-back, pastoral atmosphere, which my neighbors and I had so enjoyed… i.e., prior to the advent of this excessively bright urban blight.

One must not ignore the environmental concerns in play, either. While LED technology is supposed to be more energy efficient… nonetheless… such signs burn up energy anyway. Factoring in how this sign, in actuality, is serving no purpose… that makes the wastefulness even more unforgivable.

Ditto that sentiment re the light pollution issue. As a amateur astronomer my options have become few… either move out west ISO the dark desert skies or dust off my scope and sell it to the highest bidder.

Or… maybe it’d be possible to educate the educator powers-that-be?

SIDEBAR: One would hope that our local school board is not made up of frittering away the budget, little boys playing with their worthless, little high tech toys. Not in an era where schoolteachers are forced into collective bargaining concessions and purchase (with their own money) school supplies for their students. Not when teachers’ benefits packages and retirement plans are being mercilessly slashed. Not when students have become the sitting ducks of gun nuts… when they’re getting packed into dilapidated classrooms like sardines and are facing down the humiliation of lunch shaming.

Even if this LED sign had been donated by some “philanthropist”, this lets neither the donor nor the donee off the hook. It is up to the superintendent to remind benefactors of the higher priorities… properly paying teachers and preserving their benefits… the urgent need for buying textbooks, computers, and (the aforementioned) supplies etc…. the pressing need to fund school meal programs for the needy… the need to pay the building and grounds maintenance bills, etc. If she or he offends any frivolous gift givers lugging around Santa sized bags full of worthless toys, too bad.

Of course, what’s done is done and what remains is the need to FIRST convince the school board muck-a-mucks to see the light… their garish sign’s light. NEXT, they’d need to get the lead out AND get the LED out… by pulling the plug on this sign… if not forever… at least from dusk till dawn?