The Lady Speaks

What Our Childrens is Learning…

I hated my high school, and most of the teachers in it. I still dislike most high schools and most of the teachers and administrators in them. (School choice? Doesn’t exist in Bradford County unless you want to pay an outrageous amount of tuition.)

I’m sure it all stems from being whacked on the head with my 6th-grade teacher’s big-ass paddle – the one with air holes drilled through it so it would hurt more when it hit your ass. (How did it hit my head? Well, there’s his story – that it slipped out of his hand – and my theory – which is that I was leaning my chair back again and reading in class, so he decided to “remind” me not to do that.)

Or it could be from the time the school mandated that girls (and only girls) had to wear tube socks with their gym clothes. Ugh! Did anyone in high school in the mid-80s wear tube socks? Apparently wearing shorts exposed too much skin, so they decided we should cover our lower legs?

Or it could be from the time I was unjustly given a D-minus grade because my “potential” was so much higher than the other students that it wasn’t “fair” to them if I received an appropriate grade – because the material was so much “easier” for me than for them; they’d put more “effort” into getting their B’s and C’s.

Acckk…the flashbacks!

Anyway….

Schools are about one thing and one thing only – teaching children to be unquestioningly compliant with authority. Nice if they learn the three R’s and a little more, but really, it’s about teaching obedience.

As anyone who’s ever attended high school knows: Kids have no rights. None.

Here’s a lovely example of idiocy run amok: (via Pandagon and Slacktivist) Tri-Valley Central School in Grahamsville NY created a “no backpacks or bags” rule. (Supposedly for security reasons, as well as to prevent back injuries among students caused by excessive homework loads and/or tripping hazards.)

And then…

From the Times Herald-Recorder’s recordonline:

Several television news crews from New York City are camped outside the Tri-Valley Central School following the story in today’s Times Herald-Record about what question a school security guard asked a 14-year-old female student.

The girl was called out of class by a security guard during a school sweep last week to make sure no kids had backpacks or other banned bags.

Samantha Martin had a small purse with her that day.

That’s why the security guard, ex-Monticello cop Mike Bunce, asked her The Question.

She says he told her she couldn’t have a purse unless she had her period. Then he asked, “Do you have your period?”

Samantha was mortified.

She says she thought, “Oh, my God. Get away from me.” But instead of answering, she just walked back into class.

At home, she cried, and told her mother what happened.

It appears that at least a few other girls were also asked the same question. [my emphasis]

OH MY GOD!

Can you imagine asking any woman that question – especially a “newbie” one?! Teen girls are already going through enough what with hormones going every which-a-way and the complete and total fear of being humiliated in front of their peers – and some man asks if she’s having her period, so she can justify carrying a purse?!

I was a terribly shy student in 9th grade. Even as a senior, after the worst of the paralyzing shyness ended, I used to hide my tampons in a zippered folder in my binder, because carrying them in your purse was an invitation for someone (Candy K., you bitch) to steal your purse and empty its contents on the floor in the front of the room. (I once abandoned a small purse with my extra pens, change, a ticket stub from a Foreigner concert, and – yes – my tampons, because the witch dumped it on the teacher’s desk.)

If someone in authority had asked me this question when I was that age, especially a male person, I would have wanted to die right there, and it would have taken my mother literally dragging me by the hair to make me go back there.

The girls at Tri-Valley Central are tougher cookies than I was at that age, though:

The small Sullivan County school has been in an uproar for the last week. Girls have worn tampons on their clothes in protest, and purses made out of tampon boxes. Some boys wore maxi-pads stuck to their shirts in support.

After hearing that someone might have been suspended for the protest, freshman Hannah Lindquist, 14, went to talk to Worden. She wore her protest necklace, an OB tampon box on a piece of yarn. She said Worden confiscated it, talked to her about the code of conduct and the backpack rule — and told her she was now “part of the problem.”

Goddess love ya, ladies! And gents, too! I can’t imagine even one of the young men in my high school being willing to even acknowledge the existence of tampons and maxi-pads, much less wear them stuck to their shirts in a show of support against a school regime gone completely off the tracks.

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October 1, 2007 - Posted by | America, Children, Education, Health, War On Women, Women

6 Comments »

  1. I grew up in Sullivan County and am so proud to see young women as well as young men in Grahamsville protesting their school’s outrageous controlling behavior. Shame on the school for getting caught up in ridiculum rather than curriculum. Although on the other hand, if there were to be another Republican in the White House (goddess forbid), at least it would prepare the young folk for what will surely come out of our Federal courts. Nice post.

    Comment by Ronnie Ann | October 1, 2007 | Reply

  2. I think it’s wonderful to see these kids getting involved, especially the young women. And not just in situations like this. You see them out on the streets protesting, or wearing orange “Impeach” bracelets, or volunteering in their communities. They are the future, and it looks very bright indeed.

    Principal Worden does make a fine example of the “rule of law” we have under the Bush regime.

    Comment by PA_Lady | October 1, 2007 | Reply

  3. Minors may have fewer basic “rights” but unless the court rules agains them, this is a matter of Privacy, and should be afforded these young women, and all women. Even in prison, they have to have a female guard search them. This school is in big trouble…sexual harrassment, intimidation, even abuse under the color of authority? A man conducting a personal interview with a girl, a man without a female witness to that interview, no less. Even Doctors now know better.
    I am proud of these students for standing up for themselves.
    However, are there adults also going to bat for these kids..some good civil rights attorney, perhaps?
    Kids can not win on their own.
    Bless them!!!!

    Comment by mom | October 2, 2007 | Reply

  4. Chilrens learn best when their creativity is ignited. About three days ago I posted some thoughts on Stimulating the Creativity Spark Within You that brought up many aspects of how the public school system ends up being a twelve year sentence of mind control, crushing creativity, smashing individualism, encouraging collectivism and compromise, destroying the exercise of intellectual inquiry and twisting it instead into meek subservience to authority. It had quite a response. Do you think we are spurring creativity in our childrens?

    Comment by Herman Najoli | October 2, 2007 | Reply

  5. Herman: Interesting post you have. I absolutely agree that the education system is – at its heart – about subduing creativity and individual thinking and expression in order to create subservient automatons. Leo Buscaglia, in his book Living, Loving, Learning had a wonderful analogy, which I’ve paraphrased:

    An art teacher comes into the classroom and draws a brown stick with a green circle on top, and tells the class it’s a tree, and to draw a tree. One student, having climbed, sat in, and even fallen out of trees, thinks “That’s a lollipop!” and uses purple and blue and orange and red, and draws his impression of a tree. The teacher takes one look and says, “Brain Damage!” and sends him off to special ed.

    Moral: The sooner you learn to draw their tree, the happier the school will be.

    I have a 5yo nephew, in his first year in the system, and he’s wonderfully creative with an incredible imagination and a vocabulary far advanced for his age. He’s full of spirit, but generous, kind, and well-behaved, and he’s interested in everything. I honestly think that if we started teaching him algebra, right now, he’d understand it. Of course, all he wants from school is to be able to read books by himself. 🙂

    But you know what he’s learned in his first 30 or so days of kindergarten? That not being able to tie your own shoes is a major defect, and that “school is borin’.”

    Comment by PA_Lady | October 2, 2007 | Reply

  6. Yes, but how many other kindergarteners can do a back flip on the trampoline? Or know what copper wire is? Or write songs with their uncle? Or understand Heaven and God better than all the zealots on the earth?
    Tie their own shoes…big whooping deal. That’s why they invented velcro!!!
    Einstein always wore loafers or slippers…
    And he surely managed to get by.
    Dumb teachers..Smart students.
    The only hope for the NEA is to dumb the kids down.
    Heaven help us all.

    Comment by mom | October 3, 2007 | Reply


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