auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
So, last Friday night, this happened...



Yes, after twelve years of alphabets, numbers, packages and packages of lined paper and crayons, dodgy math education and questionable science, hoping that this year she gets a good teacher, hoping that the district keepsthe good teacher, crying when the district lost a good teacher, two bouts of mono, freezing in the stands and cheering for her while watching her play soccer, then holding her when the coach turned out to be a major asshole, endless teacher conferences and meetings with the principal to argue against stupidity in administration, doing the happy-happy-joy-joy dance with her teachers when something went right, many, many MANY bento lunches, and lots of hugs, love, and encouragement... the Impertinent Daughter has graduated from high school.

Even through the many obstacles that were thrown up at the end, like having to have a stupid orange paper signed by teachers that my daughter NEVER HAD and pay any fees that were owing OR SHE WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO WALK ACROSS THE STAGE TO GET HER DIPLOMA, my daughter graduated.

And it was a wonderful, joyous ceremony, too! I have to share!

There was a brouhaha because of the threat of rain, and we weren't sure whether we'd be able to hold it at the high school stadium or not, but the weather remained clear. As parents, the Husbandly One and I were seated on the football field (the ceremony was held on the field, with everyone else sitting in the stands), and we got to watch our daughter file in with her classmates, that million megawatt smile in full evidence when she spotted us. The Tall Blonde told me later that past graduations were much more solemn and controlled than this one, but this one? Well, let's just say the Impertinent Daughter's influence on her classmates was most clearly seen in this ceremony.

And, I will also say it was because Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere has been the grade-level principal for this particular group of seniors since they were in sixth grade. Well, actually, she was placed on administrative leave for a year after 8th grade because of the howling protest all of us parents put up. Unfortunately, she turned up at the high school when they got there for 10th grade. So, when I say Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere had an influence on how this group handled their graduation, I don't mean it as a compliment.

Let me put it this way, when the valedictorian gave her speech, she directly contradicted what Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere said in her speech to the kids earlier, her "Your years in high school are the best years of your life," or some such nonsense. Valedictorian said, "Guys, don't make high school the best years of your life. Those are yet to come. If high school is the best time of your life, then your life is going to suck." Or something to that effect. But the best part of her speech was the end, when she said, "Okay, remember what we discussed? On the count of three, one... two... three..." and the seniors shouted, "DOBBY IS FREEEEEEE!!"

Oh, yeah. Awesome. And boy, didn't Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere looked puzzled?

The other funny thing? The beach balls. OMG, y'all, the moment that woman started speaking, the beach balls bounced up from everywhere among the seniors. And silly string!! Streamers!! CONFETTI CANNONS!!! It was EPIC!!

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Adding insult to injury? In previous years, when administrators and security caught the balls, they'd pop them with knives and dispose of them. This year? THEY THREW THEM BACK TO THE KIDS AND EVEN JOINED IN ON THE FUN!!

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I noticed all the kids were hugging Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere and thought that was weird, but I also noticed they were draping something around her neck. I found out later the hug was REQUIRED (by guess who?), but I was vastly entertained when I found out that what the kids were giving her and draping around her neck were their school ID's and lanyards.

If that isn't the biggest "fuck you, bitch!" I don't know what is!!

Oh, yes, the kids got their hits back in on Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere, and did it with humor, class, and the full participation of the rest of the staff! In fact, the entire ceremony pretty much fell apart when it was time for her to give the closing speech. No one knows what it was, because everyone was pretty much up and moving to take photos with their kids, or leaving the stadium.

If that doesn't give a clear impression of "No one in this district respects you," then I have little hope of anything getting the message across to her.

But I care not. Do you know why? Because my beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, talented, artistic, and just plain epically awesome daughter graduated from high school, and did it her way.

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The first photograph is mine, but credit for the gifs go to [personal profile] krystiegoddess, who was much calmer than me and took more photos than I did. I fully expect to return the favor in a few years when it's her turn!
auntbijou: (Kirk duh what??)
Can I just... vent my spleen here? I mean, seriously, the people at the middle school... the stupid, oh, my gods, the stupid...

That steady thumping you hear? It's me, banging my head over and over again into the desk.

You know, seriously, I really thought it was Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere, but apparently, getting assigned to the middle school causes some sort of... brain damage. Or maybe Sees-Plots-Everywhere cursed the school, sort of like how Voldemort cursed the DADA position at Hogwarts. I dunno, but the last two weeks have been... horrible, and today was just the capper.

*head-desk*

Okay, so... last Monday... no wait, let me start over. It all started with a phone call. The Impossible Son had been playing a "game,", one of those stupid games 6th grade kids play that are so stupid and you think, "Surely my child is too smart to play that sort of stupid game," But, my son isn't immune from Stupidity, so... he took a pencil, turned it over and rubbed the eraser into his skin until... he literally rubbed a hole into his skin. Not only that... he did it three more times! All on the back of his hand!!

The principal of the school, who was the Impertinent Daughter's vice principal last year and thus knows me, called me to tell me that Mr. Impossible wasn't in trouble, but if it happened again, it would be an automatic suspension. Okay, fine. I can handle that. And the Husbandly One and I had the "any game that involve bodily injury, or harm, to yourself or others, is a game you are not going to play because it is stupid and people who encourage you to play these games are not your friends, they are stupid people you do not need to be around" talk with him. And that was that.

I thought.

I had been told to keep the eraser burns on his hand covered until they were healed, so I went and bought some vet wrap at the local feed store because, let me tell you something: Band-Aids aren't going to stay stuck to my kid's skin. His papa is the same way, I don't know if it's skin oils or what. The only band-aids that have any hope of staying on his skin more than ten minutes at a pop (and that's a generous estimate) are the waterproof kind made by 3M. So vet-wrap and gauze it was.

So, by the following Monday, I was almost out of vet wrap and didn't have enough to wrap between his thumb and forefinger to make sure the dang thing would stay put. Needless to say, it slid off by first period.

His first period teacher, a language arts teacher I will most generously call "Mrs. Picky" instead of what I want to call her (which is Mrs. Bitch), sent him to the nurse, who threw something together with band-aids and... get this... scotch tape. Yes, you read that right, scotch tape, the tape you use on wrapping paper when wrapping a present. Yes. That lasted... not at all. And when he got into band and started playing his trombone, it became painful, so he pulled it off. In the meantime, he had a friction burn from gym on his forearm so that had a band-aid, too, that Mrs. B... Picky put on his arm. That was stayed in place, until it fell off, unnoticed.

About this time, Mrs. Picky shows up to pull my son out of band class. Apparently, this is something she's been doing quite frequently, and no one has been informing me of this. Nor have I authorized her to pull Mr. Impossible out of classes. Period.

So, Mrs. Picky pulls him, notices the missing bandage and immediately decides to write him up and haul him to the office, where he is put in In School Suspension. Which basically means he's suspended and can't attend classes, but... within the school instead of sending him home. Talking to the 6th grade Assistant Principal (hereforth to be called the AP), it sounds like he was put in I.S.S. to separate him from Mrs. Picky.

Riiiiight.

So, the Impossible Son is very upset when I pick him up and informs me of what happened, and that he will be serving in I.S.S. the next day as well. When I asked why, it turned out he had participated in another Stupid Game, this one called Nut Check Thursday This game involves going up to other boys and striking them lightly in the crotch with a hand and saying, "NUT CHECK THURSDAY!!" Except it was Friday.

Shoot me now. My son has testosterone poisoning.

He was caught, and assigned I.S.S. for the following Tuesday. And that one, I will freely admit, was wholly deserved. Because stupidity fully deserves punishment, right?

Now, while he was in I.S.S., his teachers were supposed to send his work to the I.S.S. room so he didn't fall behind. And they mostly did... except Mrs. Picky. And she waited until FRIDAY to decide he hadn't done his work, and she pulled him from P.E. and sent him to the library... not to work on the written part of his assignment, but to color a picture.

Yes. This woman pulled my son from his physical education class to have him color a picture. I am not kidding. I wish I were. Really.

And the only reason I found out about this was because my son lost a baby tooth in the library, and was sent to the nurse, who called me immediately. Because he had a second loose tooth he was in danger of losing, and it was causing him a great deal of pain, so they wanted me to come pick him up.

It wasn't until after we got in the car that I found out what had happened, and... I pretty much hit my limit of patience with Mrs. Picky at that moment. She rides him constantly, calls me and tells me things like, "Maybe you should move Mr. Impossible to another class, because he has such a hard time staying awake in mine. He's always half asleep, he never has a pencil, and he's always forgetting his I.D." Then she turns right around and says, "I love having your son in my class because he's so smart, and he's always reading, and he's so funny, and I just love him!!"

Talk about mixed messages!!

Okay, so I looked at him and said, "You want me to transfer you out of her class while we're here?"

He looked massively relieved and said, "Oh, thank you, Mom!!"

We go in to see the counselor, and I smiled pleasantly and said, "I would like to have my son switched out of his first period language arts class and into another first period language arts class. There's a personality conflict with his current teacher and it just isn't getting better, so I think it would be best for everyone all around if he's removed from her class and put in another one."

The counselor smiled at me and said, "Well, Mrs. J., I will speak to the AP and see if we can do that. It's late in the year, and we may not be able to do it, but I'll do my best."

Yeah, that's pretty much when my patience went out the door. I kept my smile, but raised an eyebrow and said, "Let me rephrase that. I'm not asking you to switch him out of that class. I'm telling you to switch him out of that class. It's not a request. He will be pulled."

"Mrs. J., it may not be possible..."


"Oh, it will be possible," I said, keeping a firm rein on my temper. "Because you put him in I.S.S. to get him away from her, you put him in I.S.S. because he pulled off a band-aid that SHE had put on him, you have allowed her to pull him out of classes at least twice a week with what sounds like very little justification, because this is a class he happens to be doing very well in, and he spends more time in lunch detention because of her than he does actually eating his lunch. So, yes, this is going to get done. Because you and I both know there is much more than just a personality conflict going on here, and I have completely lost my patience with it. I am done, are you understanding me?"

She looked at me gravely for a moment and then said, "Yes, Mrs. J. I am understanding you. If you would please write a note with your request and the reason for it, emphasizing the...er... personality conflict, then sign it and date it, I will give it to the AP and tell her that this is urgent. His schedule should be changed by Monday."

"Thank you, Mrs. C," I said, and I accepted paper and pen, writing the note right there. I dated it, signed it, and then I looked at her and said, "And this will be done by Monday, won't it?"

"I'll do my best, Mrs. J." she said.

"No," I said. "This will be done by Monday."

"Yes, Mrs. J, it will be done by Monday," she said.

I took my son and left, and went home.

So... today came, and... I got a phone call this morning. From Mrs. Picky. She informed me that she was writing up the Impossible Son for a referral, because he didn't do his journal assignment in class, and didn't finish his worksheet by the end of class. "I wasn't in class today," she gushed over the phone, "I was supervising some testing, so there was a substitute in my class, and she told me that your son said he was on restrictions and couldn't write. So I went to find him during his band class and there he was, playing his trombone just fine, so I decided to write him up for a referral. Would you like to speak to him?"

Which made me realize he had been standing there listening to all of this. And that when I talked to him, she would be standing there, listening.

Yeah, I was at the school within the hour. I went to see the counselor, and she looked up at me and said, "Oh, Mrs. J! I'm so sorry, but I haven't had time to get to Mr. Impossible's schedule!"

I smiled grimly and said, "Okay, so, this is what I'm going to do. I'm pulling Mr. Impossible out of school today. When you get his schedule redone, you call me and let me know. Because he's not coming back to school until he's out of that class. He and Mrs. Picky have gone way past personality conflict and mutual antagonism and that class has become a hostile environment. I won't have it. So, you change his schedule. The only thing I ask is that you keep him with his math teacher, because he's actually doing pretty well in her class. Other than that, do what you want."

Her mouth fell open during this "But, Mrs. J, these things take time!"

"No. They don't," I said angrily, not bothering to try to control it any more, because I was just so done. "If you can't do this, then I won't be bringing him back. My husband and I will pull him from this school and put him in another district. And since it wouldn't be fair to put our son in a better school district and leave his sister here, we'll pull her, too, and put her in the same district with him."

She actually went kind of green with that one and said, "I'll work on it right now."

"Thank you," I said, and turned to sign my son out. And on the line where it said "reason to check student out," I wrote "Rescue Mission."

I took him to San Marcos, because I had an errand at the library, and within the hour, my phone rang. It was the counselor. "I gave the information to the AP, and she approved it. Mr. Impossible will have his new schedule in the morning."

"Thank you," I said and let the Impossible Son know.

And you know, I am SO TIRED of having to spend so much time in front offices, trying to get this district to do right by my kids. It's ridiculous. It's so unnecessary. It's like clearing one hurdle only to find out there's another one to jump, and it's so frustrating. If we could move tomorrow and find a better school district, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But we can't. So we try to make the best of it that we can and hope that what we do to supplement our kids' education is enough.

Tomorrow, I will most likely be bearding the principal in her den to see if we can (1) get that damn referral shredded, and (2) find out just how many times that woman pulled my son out of classes. Because that? No. Just no. Because it seems like that was more harassment than for actual education purposes. And I am definitely not putting up with that!
auntbijou: (Blessed Bee)
Okay, I have to address this.

"This," of course, is the story about the cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas who want to display biblically themed banners at pep rallies and football games.

*sighs*

They're claiming it is "free speech" and they should be allowed to do it. And, of course, it is free speech... but they cannot be allowed to do this.

"But why, Auntie?" you ask.

I will tell you why. If these cheerleaders were acting as private citizens, or as regular students, holding up their banners from the stands like the legendary "John 3:16" Guy, there would be no problem. I, personally, would have no problem with this. It would be great, they could do it all they wanted. They might offend some people, but as they say, it's free speech, and they're allowed.

However... they're not acting as private citizens. They're cheerleaders, and they are acting at a school sanctioned event, as representatives of the school. A PUBLIC school. That's when those banners stop being free speech. If the school allows them to use those banners, the school is then allowing these cheerleaders to "proselytize" to every person in the audience, including their fellow students.

What's wrong with this?

Nothing, if you assume that every person in that audience is a Christian, and goes to their church, or follows their particular brand of Christianity.

The problem is, and it seems to be a concept that a lot of Christians can't grasp, not everyone is Christian. Not everyone sitting in those bleachers at the pep rally, or in the stands at the football game, are Christians. Or belong to the same church, or denomination, as those cheerleaders. Let's face it, some denominations are very particular about how they worship and express their religion.

Now, as you know, the Constitution of the United States has a Bill of Rights, allowing us all equal protections under the law. However, another concept that most Christians seem to be unable to grasp is... the Bill of Rights does not protect the rights of the majority.

Let me state that again.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS DOES NOT PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE MAJORITY.

It protects everyone. That means non-Christians as well as Christians.

That means non-Christians, be they Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Viking, you name it, have the right to attend a public event and not be proselytized within an inch of their lives.

It also means that if those Christian cheerleaders get to use biblically inspired banners at the football games, then Wiccan students can bring out Wiccan themed banners to the game. So can Buddhists. And Muslims. Yes, if they want to paint a banner that says, "Allah Hu Akbar! Go Team!!" then they can. And the Texas State Attorney General can't say diddly squat, because HE SUPPORTED THOSE CHEERLEADERS.

If you're going to allow it for one group, then you have to allow it for ALL OF THEM.

Because public schools are government funded entities, and therefore cannot support one religion over another. And a football game/pep rally are events sponsored by that publicly funded entity, and those cheerleaders are representatives of that publicly funded entity.

Do you understand now?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

If you're going to allow one to pass out religious materials in a school, or have meetings, or have religiously inspired banners, or to pray at meetings, games, etc... then you have to allow them ALL to do it. ALL OF THEM.

Get that through your heads. This is not a Christian nation. It is a nation made up of people from many countries, and of many different religions (or lack of them). It always has been.

And that, my friends, is the way it is.
auntbijou: (Kirk duh what??)
Haven't posted in a while, I know. Real life keeps me busy, mostly in the form of two harum-scarums who regularly give me fits.

The Impossible Son has shot up this summer, growing at a rate that leaves me breathless. His feet are as big as mine, and the top of his head now comes up to the top of my upper lip. He can wear my shoes comfortably now. What's even weirder?

The Impertinent Daughter can wear his outgrown shoes. Guys... he's eleven, she's sixteen.

It's... mind-boggling, to say the least. I think the tall genes from my mom's family finally got turned on in my son.

O_O

The Impossible Son also got his first phone last week when the Husbandly One, Miss Impertinent, and I got our upgrades, and of course, he's going nuts with it. And driving us nuts in the process. Of course, I remember the Impertinent One doing much the same when she got her first phone. It will calm after a while. In the meantime, I have used his Blackberry to my advantage, setting the alarm on it when he goes off to play with a friend so he'll know precisely when he's supposed to come home. It's worked pretty well so far.

Heh, heh, heh...

Meanwhile, our clothes dryer has stopped heating, so unless we want to run up our electrical bill air drying our clothing, I have been hanging clothes out to dry on a clothesline in the backyard. I've discovered a few things about myself, too. Like... I still know now to tie a half-hitch knot... but have no memory of being taught how to do it. It's possible I learned it in boot camp, but... really, I have no clue.

And considering it's been forty one years since I last hung clothes out to dry, it's amazing how much I remember. Like.. turning jeans and shorts inside out so that the pockets dry, too. And hanging shirts inside out so they fade on the inside, not the outside. At least that's what my mom used to say.

I also totally understand why my mom wore loose house dresses when she hung clothes out on the line during the summer. Because it's friggin' hot out there, and shorts and a tank top just aren't cool enough! Ugh! At least I'm in Central Texas, where it only takes about fifteen minutes max to dry the clothes (sometimes, it only takes about five), as opposed to Houston, where it can take up to an hour or more, depending on the humidity. And you have to take the clothes in the very second they're dry... or they'll start to mildew.

Nope, no mildew out here!

Still, this hanging clothes out to dry and taking them back in is exhausting! I'm kind of dreading the bed sheets, but I know it has to be done. *sigh*

Hopefully, we can get a repair person out to at least look at the dryer soon and find out whether it's worth fixing or not. If it is, great, if it's not... not so great.

School starts in a week and a half, and I'm both looking forward to it... and dreading it. Looking forward to it because, hey, time alone to write again without someone either hovering over me or popping in every five minutes to ask questions. Dreading it because... the Impossible Son starts junior high, and while Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere is no longer there (though this may change), I'm still going to worry. He may be growing, but he's still small, and Grand-Daddy's Smart-Ass Gene™ has kicked in big and strong this summer. This is not necessarily a good combination, unless he can think of the kinds of insults that stop people in their tracks.

Heh.

The Impertinent Daughter starts her junior year this fall and guess who the new 11th grade principal is? In case y'all don't remember, Mrs. See's-Plots-Everywhere was the 8th grade principal when the Impertinent Daughter was still in junior high. She was the nutjob who tried to ban button-down shirts for the girls because "boys can unbutton them," and shirts that showed the collarbones because "that's inappropriate." Yep, you guessed it, she's the 11th grade principal at the high school, and if I have anything to say about it, she won't stay there long.

No, seriously, this woman needs to go. The district sticks her at the junior high, then moves her up to the high school, or the alternative high school, the parents rebel, the district yanks her out, puts her out to pasture until the next school year, then sticks her back at the junior high, where she'll hum along for a few years until they try to move her up again. Why do they do this, you ask?

Well, it could be a variety of reasons. It could be they need any warm body they can jam into administrative positions.

It could be that she has something on someone high up in the district.

It could be that the administration are complete and total idiots and keep hoping that the parents who keep trying to have her removed will disappear as their children graduate (I personally hold out for this one, even though they don't seem to realize this woman keeps pissing parents off every single year).

It could be she doesn't get fired because her husband was once on the board of trustees. Or still is. I honestly don't know, because the lineup of the board seems to change on a weekly basis.

I knew something was off when I logged onto the high school's website and saw, for the first time in years, a dress code. Are they kidding?? Yeah, she's not staying, folks. I'm just sayin'... And it's not even ME they have to worry about. There are more than a few kids who are "different" at that school... and all of them are honor students, all of them are from what everyone likes to think of as "good" families, and the first time that woman crosses one of them, oh, boy, I think I'll just pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. In fact, I'm pretty sure who she's going to piss off first, and the mom in question knows all the major players in town and has no problem getting them all behind her. Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere won't know what hit her. I can't wait.

I should really be ashamed of how gleeful I feel about this, but... I'm not. Nope. Not one bit. The woman lost my consideration when she locked the girls in the cafeteria to lecture them about their clothing and their personal choices.

And that's how my last few weeks have been going. How about y'all?
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
I'm doing research for the Book Bag Incident, but I came across an odd little study a Central Texas school did on the impact of inappropriately heavy backpacks on elementary age childrens' backs. Mostly it voiced concerns about children hauling extremely heavy backpacks that are just stuffed with textbooks, papers, extra reading material, school supplies, lunches, etc, and how their backs are just bowing under the weight.

*snort*

Um... two cures for that. One, parents going through their kids' backpacks every couple of days and eliminating the detrius children tend to accumulate that has nothing to do with school, such as pretty rocks, extra pencils that may or may not belong to them, that collection of rubber bands and paperclips that have mated and become their own species, etc, and just tossing them out!

The other cure is... properly adjusting the straps on the damn backpack. One of the things I do while waiting for the Impossible Son is look around at the other kids, and it's a habit of mine now to stop a kid or two, usually with a parent in tow, and adjust the straps on their backpacks so the damn bag's not hanging down and bumping the back of their calves. I do the same thing with other types of bags that have adjustable straps. There is no reason for an eight year old to be walking along with their messenger bag dragging on the ground, or for the child to be holding the bag UP while trying to walk with it over their shoulder.

Seriously, does no one know how to adjust straps around here??

I have also found that my Problem Principal had been "removed" from head principalship at the local alternative high school due to parent complaints. What about? Oh, about her wanting to ban... backpacks and book bags. Think I might raise that point in my letter to the board. I'm also planning to talk to some of my fellow soccer parents who have kids at the junior high and find out how many of them are bugged about this issue, and see if they are willing to join in making complaints to the school board. Half the time, people don't protest something because they don't realize they have the right to, or think they're the only one's who feel that way. The way I look at it, the more the merrier.

*off to do more research*
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Okay, so... I talked to the 8th grade principal, who happened to be the person who took the Impertinent Daughter's bag. And I must thank [personal profile] elfwreck for her invaluable advice and suggestions!

Anyhow, I organized my thoughts and called for an appointment... only to have the school secretary take my number because Ms. Principal was in a conference with another parent and would call me back as soon as possible. Ms. Principal did call back, probably hoping to catch me off guard, and wanted to handle things over the phone. Fine. I had everything I wanted right in front of me, no problem.

The basic gist of the conversation was ...

(1) When the junior high was completed a little over ten years ago, a decision was made to not have lockers, and not allow backpacks, bags, etc. as a safety issue.

(2) Any bag large enough for a zippered binder to fit into was too big.

(3) The junior high had 1000 + students, and it was hard to keep track of them all and they are clever about hiding/concealing things they don't want the teachers/administrators to see.

(4) The one thing they had discovered over the years was that students were continually hiding things in their bags, things that weren't allowed at school, and it was causing problems. It's been a much safer, calmer school since they banned backpacks and book bags.

On that last one, I said, "What kinds of things were they hiding??"

She said, and yes, I am totally serious, she actually said this, "Things that aren't allowed by the Code of Conduct." You could actually hear the capital letters in that phrase.

*mental eye-roll*

"Can you be more specific than that?" I asked patiently.

"Well, electronics, cell phones..."

"Since cell phones are allowed by the Code of Conduct with permission note from parents, I don't see that as a problem. And I'm not sure I understand the danger of iPods and DS games, though I admit they are distractions." I considered, then said, "If you're talking about drugs or weapons, I should think you would keep parents informed and involved, since they are probably your best bet in preventing either from showing up at your school." Didn't want to mention the fact that if there were drugs in the school (and there are), it's likely that a teacher or other member of staff is part of the supply-line. During my time at high school, even the un-cool, straight edge kids knew which teacher or janitor to go to for something to either ease the pain or keep you happy for the weekend.

She said hastily, "We just find it's better overall if there aren't bags or backpacks in the school. Since the students aren't allowed to take text books home, and all they're carrying is their zippered binder and their lunch, it's not like they're loaded down."

I pointed out that some kids carry considerably more than just a binder and their lunch. Some carry a binder, a lunch, gym clothes, instruments for band, special supplies for other classes that can't be kept in the classroom. And that since there is no textbook for my daughter's Algebra 1 class (and that is an entirely different rant I won't get into now), that binder is now crammed with notes and handouts from THAT class, as well as work from her other classes. "I'm not asking for an exception for my kid," I said, trying very hard not to sound angry. "I'm asking for a review of your policy, because y'all are being very inconsistent in enforcement of that policy."

Oh, it's not a policy. It's a procedure. And they're doing it because they've always done it, since the school was built ten years ago. She kept harping about that, ten years ago, we did this because it was decided ten years ago... over and over. This puzzled me greatly.

She told me that there was going to be an administrative meeting the next morning, and they would review the policy procedure at that time. The woman also seemed to have uniforms on the brain, too, because she said, "And the issue of school uniforms is not something the district can decide on its own. It has to have the input of the parents as well. I'm so glad you reminded me of this, Auntie! I'll put it on the agenda for the meeting tomorrow morning!"

I said, "Ms. Principal, I didn't say one word about uniforms. I'm talking to you about book bags, purses, and the no backpack policy..."

"Procedure," she said.

"Policy," I continued. "Do not count me as one of your supporters where uniforms are concerned."

She promised to call me after the meeting to tell me the results (like I couldn't predict the outcome of THAT meeting) and I said, "Thank you, please do call me, because if you don't, I will be calling you."

"Oh! Certainly!"

After I got off the phone, I kept hearing that "ten years ago," over and over, and having a little suspicion in my brain, went to do a bit of research. And BINGO! I was right.

Columbine happened ten years ago.

*shakes head*

I guess it makes no difference to her that the two boys involved did not "hide things in their backpacks," and sneak them into the school. Or that this happened in a high school, not a junior high. Or that there were concerns expressed about the two students involved, that they had been in therapy, had been investigated... and that law enforcement had failed to follow through in their original investigation.

This also explains the almost rabid fear of Goths in our district.

I also had forgotten that Ms. Principal had originally been the head principal at the junior high, and is responsible for the dress code that has been driving us all nuts. And she got fired for it... twice. And now she's back as the 8th grade principal.

So, I wasn't surprised at all when she called me yesterday to tell me that the administration had reviewed the situation and decided to keep the no backpacks/no book bags policy in place. And that they had sent an email to all the teachers at the junior high to remind them of this procedure and that it was part of their job to confiscate bags as they see them.

She also told me the teachers were quite happy about this.

My feeling is, if the teachers were quite happy about it, there wouldn't be so many kids openly walking around with beach bags/totebags/messenger bags.

So, I will be following up on this, either with a letter or an email to the principal, and a letter to our school board representative. This becomes a little more imperative since the Impertinent Daughter is now taking part in the UIL art competition (though she isn't taking art at the school) and is having to bring her sketchbook and art supplies to school.

I'm getting tired of this, and I am very glad that this is Miss Priss' last year at this school. Now, if I can just get her through the debacle that is her algebra class!

September 2015

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