In light of my recent adventures in Bodice-Ripperland (i.e., The Tiger Lily), the word arrogant has been stuck in my mind.
So I need to ask, is there Anyone more arrogant than a seventeen year old with a touch of power?
We have five elected (adult) School Board Members, which our policies name as Regular Board Members. Then we have two from each high school, for a total of four, Student Board Members. Student Board Members are elected by their peers for a one-year term, and act as members of the total board. They receive all non-confidential information provided to the board, may participate in discussions at board meetings, and give an advisory vote for all non-confidential items on the board agenda. (The vote is recorded separately in the minutes and are advisory only. In other words, the Student vote cannot override the tally of the Regular Board Member votes.)
Essentially they are there to provide the Board with a sense of how our decisions would impact the students, and we also provide an active lesson in government to a few students. (They can attend workshops, conferences, etc., statewide.) They also serve as a Representative back to the school sites to fully explain the Board's actions to the students.
But one of our Student Board Members, the only one who speaks, gives arrogant a whole new connotation. And, Lord help us, he was encouraged into his current position by the Board Member who resigned in a huff and the Superintendent who almost sued us on the way out the door to partake of her settlement. So he's convinced himself that the four remaining Regular Board Members are all involved in a darker plot to, I dunno, um, well, I Genuinely Do Not Know what he thinks we are doing that is so egregious. Give teachers a raise, Make sure the curriculum is flexible and current, Ensure that our high school passes the accreditation visit. Yeah, we're bad.
A Board Member resigned recently after writing a letter which paraphrased closed session discussions--it is illegal to divulge closed session discussions as they are confidential--and simultaneously accused the rest of us of violating other laws regarding closed session, which caused her such trauma that she realized that her morals would not allow her to continue serving. (But her morals didn't prevent her from spitting on us on her way out the door.) It was then impossible for any of us to respond to her letter in detail, because to do so would involve, yes, divulging closed session discussions. Gee, thanks. (Sidenote here--the letter itself was so libelous that none of the newspapers will print it, but they did refer to it in articles. Funny how the most ethical and moral amongst us can't resist a touch of character assassination.)
Following the laws regarding filling the board vacancy, we solicited applicants, interviewed them in Open Session at a board meeting, and came back at the last meeting to appoint a Regular Board Member. By law, we're not allowed to discuss any item on the agenda with other board members until we are in the public meeting. One name was offered by a Regular Board Member, and apparently everyone agreed, because there was no discussion. Each Regular Board member mentioned that this was his or her pick as well. We opened the item up for Public Comment. There's none. OK then. Bring it back to the Board, and suddenly, without warning, our Student Board Member starts lobbying for a different candidate.
Which, by the way, is mucho awkward, because he's the only candidate in the audience. So, making eye contact with my second choice candidate, I elaborate on his good qualities, thank all the candidates for coming forward, and briefly pick out two areas where I think first choice candidate will improve the current Board.
Student Board member Keeps On Going: But how about this attribute? The next Regular Board Member mimics my approach. And then you either want to die on the dais or reach down and strangle young arrogant fool, because he starts in AGAIN!
This is not the first time he's done this--once he gets an idea in his head he won't take no for an answer. So far he hasn't messed with me too much, but one of the other Regular Board Members is a 35 year veteran of the district (used to be his Elementary School teacher, actually) and is very clear on her opinions. Student Board Member habitually interrupts her to correct her on various points. Oh, the steam and smoke which arises from her collar. What is he THINKING when he interrupts her?
What's kind of sick about this too, is that he's being used. There are arrogant kids who try to force their opinions down your throat, but very few of them quote chapter and verse of the California Educational Code while they are arguing. A number of times he'll get text messages during the meeting at which point he'll race to the mike with a new argument. (Our previous Superintendent used to pick up text messages during meetings too. Hmmm.) But, being a student, he's not allowed to have a cell phone turned on during school functions, so the current interim superintendent simply asked him to turn off his phone, and that gambit ceased. I almost feel bad for him, but not really.
After all of that, the students all voted In Favor of the Board's pick. I think Mr. Arrogant abstained. Ugh. This only further serves to piss me off. If you think it's a bad idea, Vote Against It. Abstentions are for when you have a conflict of interest on the vote, or you disagree with some parliamentary rule regarding how the motion was set up and you don't want to further the error by actually voting on a flawed motion, or if you, for example, were not present at the meeting for which the minutes are being voted on and therefore cannot determine their accuracy. Learn how to Vote No. Don't abstain the same way the previous Board Member did when she wasn't sure what would be the best political decision.
But I come back to my original question: Is there anyone more arrogant than a seventeen year old kid in a mild position of power, who thinks he knows the very best way to solve any problem, if only the rest of the world would only listen to him?
Yeah, I didn't think so.