Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't you just love High School?

Bowling for Soup has that great song now, "High School Never Ends."

I'm so there right now.

edited to add: I oculdn't stand the way this video was on auto play, so here's link to "High School Never" ends instead.

I've got a bunch of gossipy parents right now who are convinced that they NEED to know everything about certain kids in the District.

I got a call from a parent who heard from a parent in church who heard from another parent who heard from another parent who volunteers in the Middle School about a girl who's in a Special Education isolation class. The parents have discussed this girl amongst themselves and they have decided that she's too violent to be on campus (in a separate building, in an "pull-out" room, with a dedicated aide). The parents have decided that she should be bused elsewhere. And the parents want the School Board to change her Special Education Placement. (I'm not sure they know this, but the closest placement is almost two hours away--that's four extra hours on a bus every day.)

Umm. NO! Not your call boys and girls. And how the hell do all you church biddies know about the details of her educational placement? Pissed me off enough that I made a comment at a Board Meeting about how we must, at all times, remind ourselves to protect the confidentiality of all of our students. And I asked the Superintendent to please make sure that the parent volunteers were well trained on this. She and the rest of the senior staff were properly horrified.

The Next Day, the very next day, I got an email from a staff member at the High School, which was obviously meant to go out only to a select group of High School teachers, listing the names of every single Special Ed student on campus along with their assigned case worker. I emailed her and the Superintendent saying that clearly I was not supposed to be on this list, to please check the masthead list for accuracy, and to remove my name. Simple error, but for it to happen on the next day was a bit much. Who else receives these sorts of emails in error?

(Staff member responded to me that she would "have Technology look into the issue." Three weeks later I'm still getting the emails by the way. Fucking hit the delete key in the address book! Jaysus.)

And now the latest bit of High School gossip.

A few weeks ago the Board heard from the Superintendent that a student had found a "hit list" on a school computer and that the police were jointly investigating the matter with the site administration. After an investigation, the police determined that the child who found the list did not write it, and that it was not a credible threat. They have left the investigation open so that if more information comes in, they can continue investigating. In the meantime, the administration is continuining to pursue leads. Furthermore, we're offering counseling referrals to the finder of the list and to his friends and family.

Last week someone posted anonymously to a website that there had been a bomb threat, that the administration had refused to react to the threat (the campus was not evacuated), and that a board member's child had been questioned by the police. Since a board member's child was involved, the poster went on to say, then the adminsitration was endangering the community by refusing to notify the public and evacuate the campus.

Hello. Not a Bomb threat. Hello? Serious problem, obviously, but not a bomb threat.

Things just got worse from there.

The local rag published an article quoting the anonymous poster. Oh THERE'S a fine bit of journalism for you. And today the larger real newspaper wrote an article about the hit list as well. (They had filed a freedom of information request to the police who gave them a heavily redacted five page report saying that essentially they had investigated every lead but didn't feel that the threat was either current, credible, or anything other than a sick joke.) The police chief says in the article:

"We're especially sensitive to the climate in schools today....At no point did the [City] Police Department not take this seriously and not get involved."

But here's why I'm so steamed. The article went on to quote a town busybody who volunteers in the District with high risk students and who should fucking KNOW BETTER that the parents are upset and that the "author should come forward and explain why the note was written."

Fuck no.

This is why student matters are kept confidential, you idiot. You want to turn this child into a pariah? (Assuming we can ever figure out who it is.) You want this tight assed community to tar and feather his/her family?

Dear Butcher says this controversy shows that there's not much controversy going on in the District, and that the people who hate the current board are grasping at straws to whip up an issue where there isn't one. I kind of agree.

On the other hand, I'm really upset that in order to prove a point about how much a very small minority does not like the current Board, it is ready to drag a child's psychiatric history or behavior into the newspapers. And the idea that a school board member would in any way hinder an investigation is simply sick. Check out this bit of slime from the article:

The [anonymous] online posting said that "one student, who claims to know who made the threats, is refusing to cooperate with the police. She is supported by her parents, one of whom is a school board member."

School board member [Blank] said that police questioned her daughter, a BHS student, as a potential victim because she shares the same nickname as one of the names in the note. However, [Blank] insisted that her daughter does not know who wrote the note.

[Police chief X] said police believe "one student knows who (the author) was" but that student is not saying.

Interesting bit of juxtaposition, eh? I really hate newspapers these days.

I'm so done with this "serving the community" crap. I sincerely just want to go throw up.


Of course, what gets lost in all of this stupidity is that in the three years I've been on the board (Jesus from Jesus Christ Superstar: "Tried for three years/ Seems like thirty/ Could you ask as much/ From any other man?"), we've gone from being 1 million dollars in the hole to having a balanced budget with an EXTRA 12% reserve. Just this year we've brought back smaller class sizes to the ninth grade English and Math classes, our test scores have gone up, we've increased the numbers of hours secretaries are paid at the school sites, we've hired a Curriculum Director and started District-wide meetings on revamping Art, Music, Math, PE, and Fine Arts, etc., etc., etc. We've reduced our legal fees, renegotiated our insurance premiums, given all our employees a cumulative 10% raise, etc., etc., etc.

It's hard to make people happy. Just like High School cliques all over again.

Gawd. I've got a School Board meeting tonight. I could simply die. (Is that a threat?)


Mailyn said...

And people seriously raise an eyebrow [or two] when I tell them I am not a people person and I don't like more than 10% of the world population.

Is it not clear to everyone else how the world is populated by these idiots??!?

Totally feel for you and I don't know how you do it. I'd have punched somebody by now.

ames said...

Woah! That is some crazy stuff going on. It's amazing the power gossip has.

I'm kind of interested in the girl at the beginning of your post-why did the parents think it would be okay to make her somebody else's "problem"?? That kind of reasoning gets me mad.

Marianne McA said...

I imagine lots of people are happy, though. It's something I know I'm bad about, and from the voluntary things I'm involved with, I think other people can be the same - taking the good stuff other people do for granted, and only surfacing to make complaints.

Suisan said...

I do think most people are happy. In fact, the ones who are upset are an incredibly tiny minority. They just are vocal enough to make the papers.

See the update above.