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Members of the public file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque, in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London, on Sept. 16.POOL/Reuters

The parents of British Columbia, initially, were being polite – perhaps even feeling some actual sorrow. Canada’s longest-serving monarch had died. A life was lost, and many were grieving.

Then, very suddenly last week, the discourse shifted from a vague, muted sympathy to a collective, frantic scrambling: B.C. Premier John Horgan announced all schools would be closed on Monday, Sept. 19, in observance of the funeral services for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“This will be a national day to reflect on the incredible life of Canada’s Queen,” his statement reads.

Okay, fair. She did have an incredible life. But is it necessary to close the schools in order to mark the end of it?

“We recognize school closures impact families and are sharing this information with you as early as possible,” the superintendent of the Vancouver School Board said in an e-mail that hit my inbox on Tuesday at 5:34 p.m., local time.

How will provinces across Canada honour the Sept. 19 federal holiday? Here’s what we know so far

Working parents scramble after schools closed Sept. 19 to honour Queen Elizabeth

I mention local time because this is relevant. The funeral services will commence in London on Monday at 11 a.m. GMT, which means it will be 3 a.m. on the West Coast.

The children will not be watching.

In my circles, any sense of reflection suddenly turned to revolt. The moms of B.C. were angry, the neighbourhood Facebook groups filling up with shrieks of disbelief. No classes this Monday? The school year has just started! Professional Development days are already keeping the kids home on other days this month. In some cases, special events booked months in advance – a camping trip, for instance (which hasn’t happened for two years because of you-know-what) – became a giant question mark.

And, most significantly, they’re closing the schools so that the kids can mourn (as if) the Queen a week before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

“Thanks, useless monarchy,” one parent wrote in my local Facebook group. “Does anyone know of any planned anti-monarchy events I could take my child to on Monday?” another parent inquired.

Even some educators were fuming: “A colossal blunder,” one “gobsmacked” teacher remarked. You can’t just drop this on an entire provincial school system with a few days’ notice.

The school system is just getting up and running again. Only last week did we have the first full week of classes. Some kindergarteners were still completing the (ridiculous) program of gradual entry here, where they attend school initially for an hour a day.

Disruptive, frustrating, anger-inducing. Nobody was thinking sad thoughts about the Queen any more. A revolution was brewing.

“Maybe Horgan can come babysit for us while we work,” one parent suggested online.

Aside from the huge hassle for parents – most of whom do not get the day off on Monday – this is also a huge educational opportunity lost. Schools could have taken the occasion and run with it. The Queen has died, her funeral is being broadcast and we have a group of young minds at our disposal – let’s talk about it.

Let’s talk about what led to Elizabeth becoming Queen. How many of these kids know about abdication? It’s interesting! And it’s history.

Let’s talk about the official role of the Royal Family, particularly in this country. Class, today we are going to learn how a constitutional monarchy works.

Teachers could talk to their students about what Elizabeth herself accomplished over her 70-year reign. The highlights. The damage.

This was an opportunity to talk about colonial violence – in particular, its impact on Indigenous peoples.

For any monarchist parent who feels such lessons would be disrespectful on the day of the Queen’s funeral, please feel free to keep your children home on Monday – if you have that option. Or ask yourself why that lesson makes you more uncomfortable than the actual oppression enacted in the name of king and country.

Instead of sitting around reflecting about the death of this faraway royal, mothers and fathers will be parenting off the side of their desks, or paying out-of-pocket for babysitters – at a time when inflation and interest-rate hikes are already causing sleepless nights for us commoners. Problems Queen Elizabeth never had to personally confront in her long life of service; problems King Charles will never know.

In my case, I’ve got a teenager, so he’ll mark the sad occasion by playing Minecraft all day.

Does that make me a bad parent? Maybe. But right now, there’s no time to come up with a better backup plan. A scramble has replaced the sadness.