Thursday, February 05, 2009

I still owe you guys some stories...

like my Free Grand Slam experience, and some interesting Facebook reunions, me pulling a total PK at Pie's tennis class, Tito's recent killing spree, and an update on my dad. Don't worry, I'll get to all of that shit.

But first, I have to vent a bit about some ridiculous middle school bullshit in which my Beebie has found herself entwined.

Beebie has a new friend named Dana. Beeb spent the night at Dana's last weekend, and by all accounts, Dana is a nice girl from a nice family.

Beebie came home from school yesterday and casually mentioned that she and Dana had been to the counselor's office that day.

What for? I asked.

Susie and Sally.

What, did they do something recently?

No, not really.

Then what did you go there for?

Well, Dana and I decided that we should tell on them. Because what they're doing is HARASSMENT.

Did they threaten you or anything like that?

No. But Sally gives me these evil glares all the time, and that's NONVERBAL HARASSMENT.

Whaaaa?

And the counselor said if Susie and Sally didn't stop, they'd get IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION.


(Are you fucking kidding me??)


Apparently Dana and Beebie decided today was the day that they needed to tell the school counselor about the snotty remarks Susie Rottencrotch and Sally McSnotpants have made about Beebie practically every day since the beginning of the school year.

I thought it was interesting that Beebie didn't mention to ME that she was planning to go to the counselor with this crap, because she knows I'd have told her to suck it up and deal. Life doesn't get any easier.

I was HELLA pissed. So what did I do? I called the counselor to ask, politely, exactly what the FUCK is the definition of harassment that we're dealing with here, please.

Here's what I found out. At the beginning of the school year, the counselor led an assembly with the entire 6th grade and spelled out exactly what harassment is. It's pretty much anything that bothers another person. And she mentioned Nonverbal Harassment specifically, too. It's the eye rolls, the dirty looks, all that.

It's not exactly like the bitches who sent her the threatening text messages (and personally I'm shocked that those girls didn't get ISS, but whatever, this is a different school), but based on the definition the school uses, yes, Susie and Sally are guilty. They can't claim ignorance of the law. The rules were clearly spelled out to everyone, and they broke them.

All the kids were instructed to report harassment when they see it (even if it's not happening to them) and it's the counselor's job to intervene. I appreciate that she's doing her job, but I was just completely stunned by what a big deal this (what I consider) junior high pettiness has become.

I mean, come on, it would be one thing if those girls were threatening Beeb, but they're LOOKING AT HER. How would you even know someone was looking at you unless YOU'RE looking at THEM?!? Look the other way!! How hard is that?

Not to sound like I'm unsupportive or indifferent to my daughter's feelings, but what is wrong with the world? What a bunch of fuckin pussies we're raising! I'm pissed off because I consciously refuse to coddle my own kid and let her be a whiney ass victim or worse - a nark - but, how lovely, I can rest assured because the school's doing it FOR me.

I get that it's a liability thing, sure, but I am SO SICK of liability being the reason why nobody wants to tell anybody to fuckin man up and deal with this thing we call LIFE. Sometimes it sucks. Too fucking bad. Get used to it.

It's the whole "everybody gets a trophy" Pussifying of America that makes me want to fucking puke. We don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt. Self-esteem is fragile. We can't risk this kid's self-esteem being damaged or they're going to bring a gun to school and unleash hell on their tormentors.

I'm not trying to minimize or make light of the fact that yes, self-esteem is a big deal and yes, having it damaged is hurtful and the hurt stays with you for a long time (I can still remember how much 6th grade sucked, but I got over it, and just look at what a well-adjusted grown-up I am!), but I believe that we do our children a tremendous disservice when we take away opportunities for them to grow a spine and handle a little unpleasantness every once in a while.

14 comments:

Kashmir Knitter said...

Amen.

KOFA said...

You know I'm totally on board with this. Guess what, not everyone is a winner all the time. Instead of trying to make our kids feel like they always win (guess what, they don't actually believe it anyway), we should be teaching them that losing from time to time doesn't mean anything negative about them. Everyone has their own strengths, and not succeeding at one thing doesn't mean you can't succeed at something else.

Cheryl said...

Is it the SIXTH GRADE or what??
We are going nuts here with that kind of crapola too.
Last week the kids on the bus (son included) got called to the office because they were calling this kid "Little Bear" on the bus. (his last name is Bair- numbnuts) His asshat parents called the frickin' POLICE because of it!!! So my son was threatened with in school suspension.

Now yesterday I get a letter to the teacher that my son STOLE something from the science LAB. Letter sent to me, his home room teacher, his GUIDANCE COUNSELOR and THE F'N ASST. PRINCIPAL!!! Know what he stole??? THREE PACKING PEANUTS. THREE.

Brinstead said...

You're so damn right. Kids respond to the expectations we set for them.

Cindy in Happy Valley said...

If eye rolls were considered harassment in my office, I'd have been fired by now.

I've been sayin' for years that we're raising our daughters to be wimps.

You go!

speed racer said...

well, If we're looking at PK as our model of "well-adjusted grown-up"...

I kid, I kid...

Yeah, we used to play dodgeball. Not only at recess, but in gym. And some people got hit all the time. they LOST. Some of them found other games to play, some stuck it out and got better.

I totally agree that this whole "everyones a winner" and no keeping score thing is stupid. Guess what - you're going to apply for a job, and not get it. Did that for months.

I mean, we got into fights at school, and nobody got suspended. A kid was shot outside the school building, and we still had school that day. A kid brought a gun to school to shoot a specific person, and we just made sure they never saw each other that day.

None of this stupid "Zero Tolerance" stuff.
For a good rant on ZT, go here:

Randy Cassingham's This is True: Losing my Tolerance for "Zero Tolerance"

Kaye said...

Oh it's starting early too. Chunky has described assemblies where they cover tattleable and non tattleable offenses. I think they've taken the bullying stuff too far. But we've got a couple of trigger happy jackasses in Colorado to thank for part of that I think.

Kay aka dkswife said...

Well put!!!

turtlegirl76 said...

Maybe her friend is the one catching the eye rolls and faces being thrown Beebies way? I dunno. But I totally agree with you.

SiressYorkie said...

They expect a pre-teen not to roll her eyes?? Man, if they come up with a cure for little girl bitchiness, they will make a FORTUNE.

Lookit, I heard about a kiddie league baseball team that prided itself on NOT keeping score. "Everyone just have fun," was their motto. Likewise I've heard of a kid's hockey team where the parents decided that only the best kids should play, and only if there was a HUGE lead at the end of the game, the less-skilled kids should be allowed a little ice time.

The first school I worked in, right out of uni, had this sign plastered all over the place: "Caution: Self-Esteem Building Ahead". I thought, okay...in my mind, you build self-esteem from helping kids to do well academically. That's not what was meant, apparently. It was at the end of my first year when we had a handful of kids who hadn't done jack shit all year...didn't even bring a pen to class...who were constant disruptions, the whole nine yards, and who were up for failing the whole grade.

And we were told, "You can't hold them back because IT WILL MAKE THEM FEEL BAD ABOUT THEMSELVES."

Yep. That's when I realised the teaching game wasn't one I wanted to play.

The pendulum will swing back in about 10 years. You know it will. I think you're doing a great job with your chitlins.

Disco said...

Word!

Tactless Wonder said...

I'm torn...

I totally agree that the schools have gone completely over the edge...but I was a teacher for a while and just before I left we had a "how to hug a child" lesson during one of the preps.

Yep, that's right, middle school teachers had to be taught the appropriate way to hug their students. (Personally I avoided physical contact of any kind...but this was Hawaii and they do a lot of touchie feelie things you'd be amazed about...) Picture it: You stand behind or to the side of the student, you only use one arm, you wrap it around their neck, do not touch heads.

A'yup, it looks as bad as it sounds. But it was to make the parents happy because they thought we sucked and we thought they sucked.

No really, it and the training and the stuff your kids are seeing? It's all a reaction to what the parents of the past have seen as "the problems" that are all schools' faults and the schools blaming the parents...

Which is also all true. (I did mention torn...)

The whole system is broken and has been for decades. This is just the newest way to try to "fix" it all.

Ki said...

wow, that is really f'ed up. i do agree they are taking the bully thing WAAAAAAAY too far. i am VERY anti-bully, but, that's how the world works.

Carol said...

So then, these children whose self esteem has been built up beyond any reasonable belief, who feel that dirty looks constitute harassment get out into the real world and get their first job and the boss says,"You aren't doing your job right. Get it together or you are fired" and the kid has a nervous breakdown because they didn't get a pat on the head and were threatened?

wow. can I write run-on sentences or what?