Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Serving 40



Martin didn't show up today so it was me against the backboard. I think the backboard won. The junior high school kids stole two of my tennis balls. Does anyone remember when it was funny to say, "Give me back my balls."
"Mr. Henderson! Tommy is touching my balls!"

I get to overhear the conversations and I'm not as horrified as I expected. The kids are children, raised by overwhelmed parents and clueless teachers and administrators who now make growing up a legal matter, like bullying. With a few recent suicides that were related to harassment the schools have taken a proactive approach. Man, I wish there were an easy answer but there isn't. I bring this up because I could tell by some of the comments yelled across the court that the middle school has some kind of zero tolerance policy. Basically, if you can prove a kid was intimidated by another kid then the bully is getting suspended. Now, this is a serious thing for a 13 year old to absorb. In fact, the middle school has grades 6-8 and that means kids who are 12 or 11 with kids who are 14 or 15. One of the kids at the tennis court sort of freaked out and started hiding behind gates and squeaking like a dog caught in a trap. He was about 4 feet tall. The racket was like half as big as him. I'd say he was 11 years old.
What's my point? I think it's up to all of us to make public schools tolerable. I'm sure they serve some useful function, though I'm not sure what that function is, but they shouldn't also be a place of torment and fear, in my opinion. A school-wide bullying policy is a start, but it's like expecting the police to prevent crime. The only thing they prevent is repeat offenders, which doesn't help the first victim much. It's important to be positive role models. Most kids just ape the actions of their parents. Some have loose screws, like me, and can't be helped. This will all be sorted out in the next million years I'm sure.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.