Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Snow lion

What excitement - it snowed not too long ago, actually the second time this year. We took our sled from ice box state and drove out into the country to find something that resembles a hill to go for some fun in the snow. On the way I came across this snow lion.

I am upset. Teenage Daughter came home from school yesterday running to the bathroom. When asked what was going on she explained that several fights in her high school resulted in the closing of all bathrooms with the exception of one. This is a school with about one thousand students. A teacher or principal accompanied those who had to go or I should better say, managed to go to the bathroom. Today the situation went from disturbing to upsetting, at least in my opinion. This past weekend there had been a shooting in U Town, and one teenage kid shot and killed another teenager. This shooting obviously triggered some kind of gang or group induced violence throughout the city high schools. So this morning all the kids were greeted not only by metal detectors but teachers and principals body searching each individual student entering the school. Teenage daughter had two tests scheduled today, first Biology, and later Algebra. All the searching – the airport is nothing in comparison according to Teenage Daughter – caused Biology to start about 45 minutes late, and there was not enough time left for the test. Throughout the day, kids were searched, and not allowed to go outside in the enclosed courtyard, same bathroom procedure as yesterday. The disruption of the daily routine reached a point that the school administration let parents pick up their children early at noon if they wished to do so. However, the only way for the students to reach the parents was via cell phones that students were not allowed to have and were taken away. But there must have been still enough cell phones around, even with all the searching. So, why am I upset. First of all it is more than horrible if teenagers start to shoot each other because they cannot settle an argument. Secondly, it is disturbing that groups identify with teenager x or y, and start fights in high schools not even directly related to the shootings. And thirdly, I am upset about the school administration not informing themselves all the parents, that they may pick up their children. I do not care, how many teachers it takes to call all the parents, or even try to reach the parents. It is unacceptable not to allow cell phones, search for them and take them away, but then let the kids know that the parents can pick them up – hoping for some of the illegal cell phones having stayed in circulation to be used by the students. What kind of signal does that send? Yes, we know that we are not successful in finding ALL cell phones? And what next? Yes, we know that we cannot be successful in finding all possibly lethal weapons?

This is supposed to be the “good” public high school! Is this what school is about? Security and lock downs? Confused students and upset parents? We wanted Teenage Daughter to experience the “real” world, hence her switch this last year to the public school system. Yes, she has had some good teachers, but yes, she has also experienced some not so good teachers. But learning governed by the fear of violence? Will we send her back to private school? I almost guess so. But what about the other parents, who do not have this choice because they cannot afford it?
I am upset, saddened, and concerned.

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