Friday, August 1, 2014

The Backpack Scandal

Never argue with a teenager. It doesn't matter how many reasonable, well-thought-out points you make. If they feel they are right, nothing you say will convince them otherwise.

It was Friday at the continuation high school. The counselor followed Juan into the room to retrieve his backpack. She left with two.

(The continuation high school does not permit backpacks. I've always assumed the ban was to discourage the bringing of weapons and/or drugs to campus, considering the makeup of the student body.)

Juan was incensed. It was one of those drawstring bags (kind of like this one), and it only contained a folder, his cell phone charger, his keys, and some hand sanitizer. (Which he pulled out before the bag was taken away. Which he could retrieve at the end of the day.)

Why, Juan wanted to know, couldn't he bring that to school when girls are allowed to bring purses?

And he grilled me on this.

(Because I am somehow responsible?)

After ten minutes of his haranguing, I explained that complaining to me about this policy was about as useful as arguing with the wall.

The policy is, I agree, a bit sexist. I understand the distinction, but the girls do take advantage of the purse exception. Some of them carry bags that hold about as much as a backpack does. But there are some things that a girl does need a purse for.

I tried to argue the distinction with Juan, but he shot down every one of my points. I don't know why I bothered. Even if I could find a good argument, Juan would have found a way to argue against it.

(This is not the first time I've been in this sort of situation.)

Somehow the class finally settled. But Juan was still upset. He decided to write a letter to the principal. He even suggested starting a petition and asked his classmates if they'd sign it. Even the girl in the room with the offending purse agreed.

I did not know Juan was writing this letter until he brought it over to me. He asked me to read it. I offered a few notes. (I checked the grammar. It was a bit rambly and had just a basic argument, but it made his point, so I told him it was "good".) By the end of the period he had it ready and he said he was going to take it to the office.

It'll be interesting to see if he gets anywhere with this. (It's within the realm of possibility that he could get the administration to make some sort of a change. Probably not everything he wants. Several policies have changed in the past, so it's possible.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No July 31st?

So, I've gone and joined the #ThrowbackThursday crowd. And I figured this post from July 31, 2010 was apropos...

I don't know why these things come up, but as this was rather timely, I thought I'd share.

On Monday, I went over to help my 9-year-old niece clean out her closet. As she did the work, I blathered on about random things.

I told her about the time when I was a child that I was paranoid about July having 31 days. My child brain reasoned that since February sometimes has a 29th, then perhaps other months could lose their last day. My niece thought that this logic was crazy, and she said so.

Of course, I was assured by my parents that July would always have 31 days. And now I see the craziness of the thought. (I was a small child. I had many crazy worries.) I hadn't thought of this for years.

Nothing quite like trying to entertain a child to bring out such strange memories.

Happy Birthday to me.

Niece, whose online alias is ArcherGirl, is currently 13. She goes into the 8th grade this fall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Is That a Cell Phone in Your Pocket?

He wasn't being very subtle about it.

All I did was to meander over to where Antoine and his two friends were giggling when Antoine exclaimed a few expletives when he saw that I was paying attention to him.

But I hadn't seen the cell phone yet.

It wasn't that long after that I took another stroll and spied Antoine watching some video on his phone. I immediately went in for the confiscate.

He refused to give me the phone. He said he'd go to the office. I had no problem with that and let him go.

He returned about fifteen minutes later with a pass back to class. And I thought nothing more of it. Until I meandered his way again and noticed a cell-phone-shaped bulge in his pocket.

So, when I had a moment I asked the office staff about it.

The secretary remembered the boy. She said he'd gone "behind closed doors" with the principal. But she was the one who was supposed to confiscate cell phones, so something was off. She went to the principal, and the principal said that Antoine had asked to talk to him about his credits.

Clever. And he would have gotten away with it too if I hadn't followed up.

But now administration knows why Antoine was really sent up to the office. (And I know in future to call the office and let them know a "cell phone violation" is on his/her way up.)

And Antoine? He gets the next punishment on the matrix, which is decidedly worse than having his cell phone confiscated until his parent can come and pick it up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Robots on the Brain

I'm not exactly sure when this started. Fairly recently, I believe. It seems that the Internet has decided that Thursday is #TBT day.

Rather than continuing to swim upstream on this one, I've decided to go along with the current. Which means that I'm making a change. Instead of posting my "what ifs?" on Thursdays, I'm moving my reposts to the day when everyone seems to be doing the same sort of thing. Which means that the "what ifs?" will now happen on Tuesdays.

Right. So, now on to my weekly random question...

What if we could upload our consciousnesses into robot bodies? What if we could upload our consciousnesses into computers? What would that be like?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Missed Day

It was 5th period on the first day of school...

(The continuation high school is on a year-round schedule, so yes, they do actually start back up in July. I was shocked to get called, but I quickly got over it and took the gig.)

I was still in the midst of "getting started", which includes doing a head count and comparing it to the number who answered "here" when I called roll, when I caught a back-and-forth going on in the middle of the room. It only took a moment for me to learn what was up.

The continuation high school has two "sessions" a day--morning and afternoon. Some "morning" students can have an extra 5th period or an all-day schedule. The "afternoon" students start the day at 5th period.

Martin was confused by his schedule. He went to the first class listed--our class--but the first class listed was for 1st period. For 5th period he was supposed to be across campus in math.

Apparently, Martin never got the message that he had morning classes. Which meant that he had already missed the first four periods of the day. Oops.

"I'll just stay here..."

Sure, he was already late to 5th period, but he had, in effect, ditched the first four periods of the day. I kicked him out encouraged him to go to his actual class and explain the situation.

(The students are supposed to be notified as to whether they are morning or afternoon before the start of school. Especially if there is a change. But these mix ups happen, so he won't get into trouble.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Window to a Different Time

It's Thursday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

Over a decade ago, I had a lovely little room where I was able to shut myself away and write. It was in the back of the house, and I used to look out the window and watch the comings and goings of the neighbors in their cars.

The room was above the garage, and it had no door to access the outside. The only way to get outside would be to climb out the window. But why would one do that when one could just leave the room and access an outside door.

But the outside door was far enough away that to reach it, one would no longer see out the window. So, if someone was outside and one wanted to go and talk to them, that person could be gone by the time one got there. Which is kind of where this odd thought I had came from...

What if you had a window in your house that looked out into a different time? (It could be different by five minutes or fifty years.) 

I thought about this one for a long time. Would I be able to interact with those outside? Could I find a way through that window? If I did, would I be able to get back? Or was I doomed to just watch? And would it be a future I saw or a past?

Starting next week, "what if?" is moving to Tuesdays...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Winner(s)

So, the pillow prop giveaway ended last week... I never did officially announce my winner, did I?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Yeah, I decided to give more than one away. Because I can change the rules like that. Can't I? (I mean, I said I'd give away one. As long as I give away at least one, I'm still doing what I said I'd do. Right?)

To the winners, yes, you'll get your prizes. Soon. I'm busily knitting away...

...and they'll be in the mail by the end of the week. I promise.

(If you would like to purchase one of these, you can find them here.)

And I'll probably do another giveaway when things settle down for me a bit. September. What should I offer as the next prize?