Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Case of the Girly Book

Of all the things that kids do,  being sneaky is one thing they seem to do well.  At least
5th Graders.....After 10 years of teaching at that grade level, I can testify to that......
Another thing they do very well is lie.....Forget the garbage that psychologists teach you.
If a kid can avoid responsibility for their actions by telling a lie, they will do so.

Take the case of a kid named "Mike"   One Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a peculiar
thing was happening......My boys were,  asking, one at a time, for a pass to go to the restroom.
This was suspicious,   so  I asked the teacher next door  to peek out the door of her room
when my  kids passed to see what was happening.....If I had gone to the door, they would have
guessed that the jig was up and   everything would stop.

Well, Susan was a dear friend, and still is.....She  slipped to the doorway when she heard my
classroom door open and close.....After  the class was over she  told me that the boys were
taking a manila envelope  from one boy's locker, sneaking down to the restroom and coming
back....They would replace the envelope on their way back to class.......This smacked to me
of the old "girlie book"  caper.....

Well, while the kids were at recess,  I  went for the Principal......There was a fine line here.
Students, according to the Federal Courts System have "a right to privacy"   Together,
we went to the locker in question and  got the manila  envelope.....Sure enough,  there
was a particularly raunchy girly magazine  in the locker.......Well, the Principal, bless
his little pointy head, wanted the boy spanked and expelled.  There was no denying whose
magazine it was....The boy's father's  mailing label  was still on the front......

So,  I outlined a plan to him.....I would go to the teacher's lounge, find a magazine of
an innocent nature, place the magazine in the envelope,  and confiscate the naughty one.
I decided that a "Lady's Home Journal" had about the same size and bulk.....The Principal
kept the naughty one.   Well, after recess, the kids in need of a "Potty Break"  began
again.....This time, after about the third visit.....The trips ceased  and  an uneasy undercurrent
seemed to fill the room.....The boys were in a fighting mood, and Mike seemed to be the
object  of  their anger.

Well, it was only 45 minutes, and my Social Studies lesson from the end of the day, so
I   just kept a lid on the situation.   I knew something would happen, after school, and it
did.....The last 3 boys cornered Mike and beat him up for cheating them.....Of course,
the Principal had been waiting for this to happen; and, in his office, the whole truth came
out.....Mike was charging the boys .25 cents each for  a look at "his"  magazine.  There
were 18 boys in the class, and some 10  had paid for a peek.......The last 3 got "Lady's
Home Journal".....They were the 3  that beat up  Mike.....End of story?  Ha!  don't you
believe it!

Mike told his parents that somebody planted the magazine in his locker, and he didn't
know it was there......So where did the quarters come from?   Well, Mike claimed that
he'd saved  lunch money.....Then the Principal pulled the girly book out of his desk and
showed the father the mailing label on it.......

Father screamed that his son's right to privacy had been violated ,   and  that his boy
had  a perfect right to read whatever magazine he liked without  "Sexual Bigots"  being

He then bought his boy a huge padlock to keep prudes from framing him.  Then he threatened
to sue the School District  for  "Invasion of Privacy"......Well, that was the final indignity.
The Principal turned the magazine ,complete with mailing label ,over to Child Protective

The father pulled his kids out of school and fled across the state line just ahead of
the police.....The rest of the story? Is there something else?   Sadly, Yes.   Mike was
killed in an automobile accident near Alamogordo, New Mexico a few years later.

You know, parenting  is  tough ......and none of the so called "manuals"  the publishing
companies sell  is worth that much.......I do believe that a person is obligated to give
the job his best effort, though...Failure to  do so  is a betrayal of your
child, and your duty.

That Principal was a good one... he had backbone, imagination, and a sense of humor.
He lasted 2 years instead of one.....

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