..teachers and principal battle over a copier...
Every once in a while, the Administration of the schools in Dell City would get a wise idea.
Often as not, though, there was a long way between wisdom and their ideas.......
Take the Xerox machine scandal.........Someone in the front office decided that no more would our
precious charges be subjected to the regular purple and white "Spirit-Master" copies that
schools had used for generations.....Now, everything done for the students would be on
Xerox copies.......In fact, if your students were seen with an old fashioned purple and white
copy, there would be "serious-consequences".
Well, I agreed with the idea......I was sick of having purple stains on my hands....The new
system was cleaner, quicker, and more legible. Then they started playing games......Xerox
copies would cost the teacher .05 cents each......The sum total of your copies would be billed
to you monthly.......All of the sudden, the new idea was no longer a good idea. They were
paying us with one hand and taking back part of our salary with the other hand.
To make sure nobody cheated, they issued us each a code number......The machine would not
run if you didn't punch a code number into the number-board on top of the machine.....
Well, tempers were running hot.......and our Principal was an idiot.....It didn't take long to figure
out that the code numbers ran from 00 for Kindergarten to 06 for 6th grade.....I am sure
that there was some reason for knowing the other teacher's code number, but it was unethical
to use their number.....The one we needed was the Principal's Private Code. The one that
was used by the office staff.
Now, Susan, the 6th Grade teacher, found out the Principal's private code.....How?
Seduction? God Forbid! No, The idiot left the code book on his desk, book open to
the code page.....His number was 28......Well, Susan was as anti-establishment as I was,
and soon both 5th and 6th grade teachers were using code number #28 to duplicate
material.....Our private grade level code. Well, we used it just enough to keep down
suspicion. You know, about 5 dollars worth a month.
We knew that it couldn't last. Somehow, the idiot would get the notion that his code
was compromised, but it took him 2 months.......Then came phase 2, teachers would buy
the paper they were to use from the secretary.......There was even an official color.
Champagne.....A kind of parchment-like hue........People with white paper would be
"cheaters" and crucified or whatever else he had in mind.......Well, no paper mill is going
to turn out a special color for one school district, and a search of El Paso paper suppliers
revealed the exact color we needed......We soon had reams of "Champagne" paper for
about $3.98 a ream.......You kept the stuff in your car and only brought inside what you
were going to use......
Well, the copy count soared ever upward, but the School System wasn't selling much of
its nickle a sheet paper......and the ledger showed that the Principal was using an Ungodly
amount of the stuff every week.
What had started as a quiet game of defiance was almost to the edge of Revolution.
The other teachers? Well, about half of them were in on the deal.....There were several
"snitches" who were excluded..........Why, we even sent out fake memoranda on the
official paper bearing a reasonable facsimile of the principal's signature and a nonsense
Example: Memorandum: It has been decided to change the name of the Principal's
Office.......From now on, students will be sent to the "Fuhrerbunker" and as it is my office,
you will address me as "Der Fuhrer"
Teachers were rolling in the halls at the humor......Sadly, the Principal had no sense
of humor.....He never saw that the more he played Hitler, the more we gave him the title.
Then, one day, the game was over.....The paper re-appeared in the copy room, and the
codes and quotas didn't exist anymore......We had made our point, I guess, but we had
also lost......Our Principal announced that he would not be back next year....Why?
"The hostile atmosphere in the school district was endangering his health."
All we had ever wanted was to be treated like professionals instead of lackeys.......
In the process of fighting for our rights, we had ceased to act like professionals. So,
did we win or did we lose.......I think everybody lost......but what do I know? I'm just
a kid at heart......