auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
The Impertinent Daughter is a senior and will be graduating this year. That's twelve years worth of excuse notes that I've written for her alone (because I home-schooled her for kindergarten), and I am so done with this school district. Seriously.

In fact, you could say I've gotten rather jaded, and after last year's experiences of having to go toe-to-toe with administration just to get the Impossible Son moved to a class where he wasn't being bullied by his teacher, and then this year, well... I finally just... let go and gave them the full benefit of my biting sarcasm and dry wit when I had to write excuse notes. Or when I have to check the kids out of school.

Once, when I had to pull out the Impertinent Daughter to go with us to one of the Impossible Son's orthodontic appointments, I wrote in the check out slot, "orthodontic torture" for the reason. When she started her period and was cramping so badly she couldn't stand up straight, I wrote, "uterine vengeance and gore."

Why not?

So one morning, when I was sitting there, trying to cudgel my not really awake brain into composing yet another bland and professional excuse note, I just... gave in to my inner demons and wrote this:


"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter's absences on Monday, February 3rd, and Tuesday, February 4th. We shall blame her grandfather for this one, because he was the one who decided to pass down the completely unnecessary and totally un-fun Migraine Gene. He could have passed down any gene but this one. Did he give her his green eyes? No. Did he give her the ability to imitate any bird call she hears? No. He gave her migraines.

We have both decided this is totally unfair and wish to complain to the management. Management seems to be ignoring us at the moment, and so, she’s had a migraine the last two days, and while she isn’t really over it, she’s attempting school today anyway."


I figured, what the hell? What are they going to do, yell at me? I'll just smile evilly and ask them what precisely is wrong with the excuse note? It gives the salient facts in an entertaining and light-hearted manner, and if they don't agree, too bad. Besides, I'm working on the supposition that these things are just as boring for them to read as they are for me to write. Why not entertain everyone? I figure it's a win all the way around. I get to practice my creative writing skills, and they get to spew coffee all over their office! WIN!!

Here's another one:


"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absences on Tuesday, February 11th, Wednesday, February12th, and Thursday, February 13th.

There was an epic battle with a virus that turned into a secondary sinus infection. Fortunately, the valiant Sir Zithromax came to her rescue, and destroyed the bacterium that tried to invade her sinuses. This enabled her trusty White Knights to defeat the despicable virus that had brought her down in the first place. Thus, she is able to return to school today. Do not be startled by the barking. It is not a werewolf. It is merely Miss Impertinent coughing."


Or this one:


"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence from school on Friday, January 11th, and Monday, January 13th. We were having adventures with possible mono, which most fortunately, did not come to pass. The doctor did not want Miss Impertinent to return to school until the blood work came back, due to Miss Impertinent’s unfortunate habit of biting people and trying to turn them into werewolves. We’ve had the werewolf discussion with Miss Impertinent. I don’t think she’s listening. Still, the blood work came back and showed no mono, just an opportunistic virus that had nothing to do with werewolves, and everything to do with making her queasy and tired. She should be fine for most activities, but definitely not werewolf hunting."


This is one of my favorites:


"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence on Wednesday, January 8th. There was nausea. There was cramping. There was fatigue. And even worse, there came the Dreaded Noises We Shall Not Speak Of. Because of this, I, in my role of “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” decreed that the Impertinent Daughter should stay home and not inflict herself, nor her possible projectile vomiting (which thankfully did not occur) on the innocent populace of the high school.

She is still pale, wobbly, and vaguely nauseous, but determined not to miss classes. Should she become horizontal and immovable, I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the doctor."


On that last line, I ALMOST said, "I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the voodoo practitioner of our choice, there to have beads rattled over her, and then to be suspended by one leg until the evil spirits be exorcised or fall out forthwith..." but I figured that would have been a bit much. Besides, l like to keep the excuse notes to one page, if possible. It's best I limit myself, you know?

Lest you think I left the Impossible Son out, here's the only excuse note I could find (I think two others are either on the iMac, which is unavailable right now, or simply lost):


"Please excuse the Impossible Son’s absences on Tuesday, March 4th, and Wednesday, March 5th. First he turned green. Then he got the bulging eyes. There may have been excessive salivation. Thankfully, there was no projectile vomiting, though there were prodigious amounts of mucus.

Did I mention tonsils the size of ping pong balls?

Thankfully, it wasn’t some strange tropical disease, though that might have been quite exciting. And the doctor tested him for strep and mono (which seems to be going around), both of which turned out to be negative. So he should be good to go. However, should he start sprouting excessive hair, well, it could be puberty, or he could be turning into a werewolf. Please refrain from the use of silver bullets until I can come pick him up."


Fortunately, the staff at both the junior high and the high school have been getting a big kick out of these excuse notes. I had the principal at the junior high run me down one morning to tell me how much she enjoyed reading a note I had written when the Impossible Son got his first migraine (ugh). It reminded her of her mother writing a similar excuse note for her when she was in high school, so she thought it was pretty hilarious. And the normally dour attendance clerk at the high school is cheerful and greets me by name when I call in now. So... WIN!!!

And just think, they have at least five more years of this, until the Impossible Son graduates!

*evil smirk*
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
Yes, yes, haven't updated in forever, I know, I know. Life has been busy, and plenty to do and all that stuff. As usual.

So, how have things been? Well, let's see. After weeks and weeks of annoying low-level headaches thanks to being reduced to taking Prilosec while waiting to find out what exactly is going on with our medical insurance, I am now back on the Dexilant, and today is the first headache free day I've had in what feels like forever.

Second... I've been hesitant to proclaim this, but seeing as I'm back on the Dexilant, why not?

I haven't taken my asthma meds in over three months. I haven't needed my asthma meds in over three months. This isn't to say I don't have asthma, because I do, but at the moment, I'd say it's relatively mild, almost to non-existent. Why? Because... I don't think I have asthma. I have acid reflux. Which is being taken care of by the Dexilant.

And I have to say, it is the weirdest thing, to realize that I have been taking asthma medications for some twenty years now that... I probably didn't need. Except I did, because twenty years ago, they didn't have any of the medications that they have now for acid reflux. I remember actually getting medication for acid reflux twenty years ago that didn't even come close to making a dent in my asthma... and I wasn't being treated for acid reflux! I was being treated for a gall bladder flare up that had me throwing up almost constantly, and my doctor was trying to protect my esophagus. So... it's extremely weird to think that my problem all this time has been acid reflux, and when I told my gastro that, he said, "Actually, it's quite common," and he explained why, which I am not going to share because... EWWWWWW!!!

Still, I have to say, the Dexilant has changed my life, and I'm grateful. It's worth the hassle I've been through over the last two months. Seriously.

And I have some... pretty incredible news. Yesterday, for the very first time ever. EVER. The Impossible Son got a 100 on a math quiz.

*pauses to let you all absorb that*

Yes, you read that right. He got a 100 on a MATH QUIZ!!! HUZZAH!!!!!! *does cartwheels*

First, he has a pretty awesome math teacher. Second, because our district has not met "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) in math and reading (among other requirements that haven't been met) my son's class is required to take an extra class that is basically a tutorial class in math and reading. Which is awesome because Mr. Impossible is finally getting the instruction in all the stuff he was supposed to have learned in elementary, and they've finally stopped teaching the stupid "strategies" that were actually hampering his ability to learn math. I'm sorry, but teaching kids the "shortcuts" in how to do certain math functions before you teach them to do it the "long way" is... well... STUPID.

And over at the high school, the district has all of a sudden come to the horrifying realization that, "OMG, our students have no clue when it comes to writing! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???"

*makes a rude noise*

I'll tell you how it happened, you idiots. It happened because you were teaching the kids how to take a stupid standardized test for the last ten years, and you skipped over some very vital bits of instruction, and gave them the bare minimum it took for them to be able to write a little essay for the test. Woopie. Ding. Dong. And now, now that things have changed, that when you realized, hey, wait a minute... they don't know anything.

The Impertinent Daughter's class is the last who will take the TAKS, and only now is the district changing the curriculum and actually requiring them to know how to write. So over the last two weeks, Miss Impertinent has been literally sitting at the table, staring at her notes, her head spinning as she contemplates complex sentences and structure, compound words, predicate nominatives, superlatives, and all those wonderful parts of speech that my generation was learning in second grade, and that hasn't been taught in our schools in, what... fifteen years??? And all of a sudden, they're supposed to know it? Heh... I know my kid isn't the only one sitting in her chair, looking hopelessly lost while swathed in a paper cocoon of notes!!

So far, that's all I got. But... that's enough, don't you think?

Oh... and I'm contemplating the arrival of... 49. And gave the Blonde Sister heart failure when I pointed out that next year, I'll be contemplating 50.

Awesome.
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Dear Principals, Teachers, and other concerned adults,

You wanna prevent bullying in schools? Really? Want me to tell you how? Okay, stop with all the "Oh, let's build up self-esteem and tell the bulliessocially awkward and overly enthusiastic children that bullying is wrong and hurts people!!" crap, because y'all have been doing that for about, what, ten years now? Is it working?

NO. It's NOT.

Let me elucidate for you. The BULLIES already know that bullying is wrong. They already know it hurts people. That's why they do it.

They don't do it because they have low self esteem.

They don't do it because they're unaware of their own strength.

They have a sense of entitlement, and they know their own strength and have no trouble at all using it.

Why?

Well, maybe they're being abused at home, and they're acting out. Maybe one or the other of their parents is a bully at work, and has given their child the impression that the best way to get what they want, to get things done, is to bully people. Because if you think bullying stops when the bullies graduate, you are living in a dream world.

But the main reason bullies do it? Because... they can get away with it. They know that you, the principals, teachers, administrators, counselors, etc, will only do so much when one of their victims is brave enough, or desperate enough, to report them to you. They know you will take them into your office, sit them down in chair, and talk gravely to them about bullying. You'll ask them if they understand what they've done, and they'll say and do whatever they need to in order to get you to leave them alone. They know you will nod, and frown, and speak firmly to them, that you'll say something about calling their parents, and then let them go back to class. You'll send them to the counselor for a few weeks, who will also talk gravely to them, maybe make them watch a video or two full of those "happy, happy, cheerful, cheerful, don't be a naughty bully!" crap that does nothing at all whatsoever, maybe have them draw a few pictures, and then release them back into the population of the school. A few weeks will pass where the bully will do nothing. Then, when everyone's breathed a sigh of relief that the bully has been magically cured...

... it will start all over again

You might go a little farther if the victim's parents throw a hissy fit and mention the words, "lawyer," "lawsuit," and "police involvement" when they call you or storm into your nice, quiet, clean offices. You might give the bully an "in-school suspension."

Or you might send the bully home for a few days with a mild suggestion to his/her parents to see a therapist, or even to just "communicate effectively to your child that bullying is wrong!"

All you've done is give that kid a three day vacation from school work.

Wanna know how to stop it? Really, really stop it?

For one thing, tell your teachers when they're on playground duty to stop gathering in little clumps and getting so involved in conversations with each other that they only notice bullying when it's reached the point that someone is either bleeding or has a broken bone. If they're on playground duty, they need to separate and walk around the playground. They need to pay attention when they see a group of girls around one single girl, and need to notice the expression on her face. If she's crying, looks angry, or terrified, she's being bullied, you nitwits, not playing a game!! If a boy is being pushed down to the ground and two other boys are kicking him, it's bullying!!

Shit, people, this isn't rocket science!!!

And so help me, if you come back at me with, "What, you mean I'm supposed to actually watch the kids like they're in jail??" I am going to kick you so hard, your grandchildren will feel it! Yes. You are supposed to watch the children. You are supposed to walk around, keeping your ears and your eyes open. You're supposed to intervene before fists fly, before words that are worse than sticks and stones hit, before that one kid who stutters, who is smaller than the others, who wears weird, hand-me-down clothes, who has unusually colored hair, who wears glasses, who has braces, or whatever other fucking stupid reason bullies use to justify why they torment their victims is hurt again. That's your job.

That means at junior high level, you not only patrol the halls, you walk into the restrooms. What, you don't want to intimidate the kids? Why the hell not??? Isn't that your job, too?? What the hell else do you think is going to work?? Don't you remember junior high? Where did most of the worst bullying happen? IN THE RESTROOM!!!

And high school, same thing. PAY ATTENTION!! It isn't that hard. You did it every time you took your own kids out to play at a park, or at a family gathering, or any place where there were other kids, some of them older and bigger. You watched your kids like a hawk, and swooped in like a fury when they were threatened, and gods, if you didn't, I feel so sorry for your kids.

Well, you know what? For eight hours a day, my kids are your kids. And you better damn sure watch them like a hawk, because if you aren't, then you shouldn't be teaching. Or a principal. Or a counselor. Or anything to do with kids.

Seriously, people. You want bullying to stop, you don't try to make them feel good about themselves. You don't show them flowery, happy videos, and you don't treat them like victims who are mislabeled, or misunderstood. You stop them. You make them know, in a way they cannot ignore, that they are being watched. You get in their faces and confront them. You tell them it won't be tolerated, and then you don't tolerate it. You call the police and file charges on the behalf of the school and the victim. You fine the parents. You do whatever you have to do to make it damn hard for them to get away with it. You give the damn bullies consequences. Remember those? You stopped teaching about those a few years back, right about when you stopped teaching logic and critical thinking.

Until you do this, it won't stop. It will keep going. You can't wish it away. You can't close your eyes and pretend.

You're just as responsible as they are for what they do, what they get away with, and the damage they leave behind.

Well? I'm waiting...

September 2015

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