New Utrecht High School
December 20, 2004 12:54 PM   Subscribe

New Utrecht High School, school rules gone wild:
#9. Carrying Magic Markers is prohibited.
#13. NO WEAPONS ALLOWED (Laser Beams are considered weapons). Possession will result in automatic Superintendent's Suspension and/or expulsion from school.

Lasers going the way of the drug-dealing magic-marker peddling beeper?
posted by omidius (92 comments total)

 
They might as well just start putting methylphenidate in the drinking water and get it over with. They don't educate them, don't require them to actually think... might as well go all the way and just turn them into automatons with either the Wal Mart or US Army logos tattooed on their foreheads.
posted by mstefan at 12:59 PM on December 20, 2004


"8. Carrying radios, headphones or weaning hats is NOT ALLOWED."

Man, anybody know where I can get one of those cool-because-verboten weaning hats?

ANYBODY?
posted by 1016 at 1:03 PM on December 20, 2004


What's up with the magic markers? Are they ninja markers? DO THEY CUT?

I seem to remember that laser pointers were mainly used in schools by pro-wrestling watching, ritalin-addled losers to blind random people. So that's okay by me.
posted by selfnoise at 1:05 PM on December 20, 2004


Weaning hats used to be all the rage at my high school.
posted by kickingtheground at 1:05 PM on December 20, 2004


You beat me to it 1016, I have fond memories of weaning hats during my high-school years. Oh how the times have changed.
posted by phirleh at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2004


Maybe I'm just an old fart, but these rules don't seem all that outrageous. Why would a student need a laser pointer, anyway, except to be obnoxious? When on Shakespeare field trips, to blast Caliban in the eyes, etc.

The Magic Marker ban is more odd than intrusive, as well. They most likely have a problem with kids using them to mark things up, and it's not as if they have much legitimate, everyday use for most students.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2004


What's up with the magic markers?

Vandalism, I assume.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2004


If they're not weaned by high school, then we've got a bigger problem than the weaning hats.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:09 PM on December 20, 2004


You're wrong on the magic markers.

Are you all that old?

Kids use them as cheap inhalants. Whether or not it gets them high is debatable, but it's obnoxious as fuck.
posted by u.n. owen at 1:10 PM on December 20, 2004


That looks like a really fun place to go to school.

Re: No carrying of magic markers, is it permissible to put them in a bag and drag them around? I guess the same can be asked of the radios and headphones too.

And I googled weaning hat and got some strange results but nothing for purchase, sorry 1016.

Sticherbeast and Mr_Roboto, I think the kids are using them to get high these days.
posted by fenriq at 1:10 PM on December 20, 2004


Isn't that magic marker ban meant to lessen the chances of grafitti? " Hence, Defacing the building is NOT ALLOWED.

What is a "weaning hat?"
posted by Juicylicious at 1:10 PM on December 20, 2004


Well, the "laser beams" they are talking about are the laser pointers which can be used to make frustrating and amusing crotch-dots (amusing for the non-crotchdotted, at least) or I suppose really fuck up someone's eye if they held still for long enough. So, cool.

But it would be a lot cooler if they meant the other kind of laser beams. Beoooooooo....

My school had rules and lamed on people all the time, but for the most part the one rule was don't stop people from teaching or learning and for the most part people respected that.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:12 PM on December 20, 2004


My better half teaches in a New York City public high school in a poverty area. Today she's at a court hearing for one of her students. She's also had assaults, and gang fights, and various and sundry other incidents at her school. These rules don't sound that out of line to me at all. The Magic Marker thing is probably an anti-vandalism measure, since that's what's used for indoor graffitti most commonly. As far as the laser pointer, I had a freind who taught school, and some kid shined one directly in his eye, resulting in eye damage and doctor visits. So yeah, it's mainly a tool of asshattery as well, in that setting.

so, mstefan, maybe you oughta think about what it takes to make an urban school a livable place before spouting off half-baked rhetoric on a subject.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on December 20, 2004


Well, to be fair, #9 really says "Carrying magic markers is prohibited. Defacing the building is NOT ALLOWED." (And is it really so easy to argue with a rule that says "NO WEAPONS ALLOWED"?)

Yeah, sure, this can seem like overkill. But have you looked at the lockers and walls at the school? I don't know this specific school offhand, but it is in NYC. Better-than-even chance that there's an ongoing battle with graffiti. Is "the right to bear magic markers" really worth putting kids through an environment that's been openly defaced?

Having taught high school, in my experience, high-school rules almost always seem like overkill, for one good reason--because teenagers have it as a general goal to find any loophole they can. That's actually great--I spent most of my high-school career trying to subvert rules, but it also means that when you commit the rules to writing, and explain them to the kids, it's almost impossible to leave any shades of grey.

If there were any evidence that this school was, in practice, squashing their souls and enforcing conformity, that'd be one thing (and I'd be agin' it). But finding strongly-worded rules is hardly evidence of that really being the case. It's evidence of rules being written for teenagers.
posted by LairBob at 1:14 PM on December 20, 2004


so sharks are allowed, as long as they don't have frickin' laser beams attached.
posted by whatnot at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2004


Oh, a weaning hat is a hat you wear when you are trying to slowly wean yourself off hats, think of it like a hat patch. Starts as a sombrero, then a Panama, then a fedora, pork pie, kufi, then a yamulke, then just a tiny little disk the size of a quarter and then poof, you've quit. Comes with a free tape of subliminal messages (mostly my grandma whispering: "You'll go bald if you wear a hat in the houssssssse!").
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2004


Maybe I'm just an old fart, but these rules don't seem all that outrageous.

I'm a young fart, and I agree.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2004


Sorry for stating what might be obvious...could "weaning" be a typo for wearing?
posted by badkarmaboy at 1:20 PM on December 20, 2004


But it would be a lot cooler if they meant the other kind of laser beams. Beoooooooo....

They did issue a warning a week ago about terrorists that might attempt to blind pilots with laser beams and bring planes crashing down during landing or take-off. So without a doubt, such a weapon should definitely be band. There is enough terror on the playground already.
posted by Timeless at 1:21 PM on December 20, 2004


so, mstefan, maybe you oughta think about what it takes to make an urban school a livable place before spouting off half-baked rhetoric on a subject.

How about funding schools at an appropriate level, eliminating the tenure system and kicking half-assed teachers to the curb and paying educators a livable wage that recognizes their contribution to society?

I can tell you what will not make your little urban school a livable place: half-assed rules about carrying magic markers and laser pointers. But hey, if you think that re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titantic is an excellent approach, more power to you.

In the meantime, I maintain that public schools do not teach children to think. They've become little more than brick warehouses to store them until they turn 18 and begin their long climb towards the middle (if they're even lucky enough to achieve mediocrity in their own right).

Understand, I'm not laying it at the feet of your significant other. The system is fundamentally broken.
posted by mstefan at 1:25 PM on December 20, 2004


Schools don't make rules for the fun of it. Enforcing a rule is more trouble than ignoring a behavior. If they've made the rule then they probably have a reason for doing so.

Bottom line... enough kids have no sense of personal responsibility or respect for others that rules are necessary. External controls only come when internal controls are not in place...

/yes, i'm an old fart, and yes, i work in education.
posted by HuronBob at 1:26 PM on December 20, 2004


Are they still called Magic Markers? I just finished training myself to say just plain old Markers, and now you're telling me that I can go back to calling them Magic? What about frozen meals - can I call them TV dinners again?
posted by iconomy at 1:26 PM on December 20, 2004


My high school had very few rules. Instead, it had a "philosophy." In practice, this meant that faculty could allow or disallow anything they felt like from day to day, and never had to worry about consistency or anything. The "philosophy" itself was actually committed to paper, but it was guarded by the admissions office, who took a dim view of any students coming in and asking for copies. Nice trick.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2004


Laser pointer in the eye hurts like a mofo.

And my guess is that the marker ban is more to prevent graffiti than to prevent huffing--very few markers are huffable anymore, u.n. owen, thanks to pressure on the manufacturers from anti-drug groups.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2004


Timeless,

Call me when terrorists start building lasers powerful enough to blind pilots in the process of take-off or landing. That's when I'll start voting republican.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2004


Anybody know if this is the school "Welcome Back Cotter" was based on?
posted by Oddly at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2004


Are they still called Magic Markers? I just finished training myself to say just plain old Markers, and now you're telling me that I can go back to calling them Magic?

I think you've found a loophole, iconomy. "The rules say no Magic Markers. This is a Sharpie!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:31 PM on December 20, 2004


Gabe Kaplan is spinning in his grave. Is he dead yet?
posted by mountainmambo at 1:31 PM on December 20, 2004


Psssst...hey new kid. Wanna buy an elevator pass?
posted by Cathedral at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2004


In the meantime, I maintain that public schools do not teach children to think. They've become little more than brick

mstefan: So when did public schools teach children how to think? And where did you learn to think?

Furthermore, in the absence of better funding, should schools make no attempts to improve conditions for the students?
posted by Doug at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2004


What is a "weaning hat?"

I guess it is something like an asshat maybe?

Lord knows there are plenty of those running around in my high school
posted by Numenorian at 1:34 PM on December 20, 2004


Draconian rules, but common to most public schools. The cel phone/pager one is my pet peeve, I think it's totally ridiculous in this day and age. I don't understand what the problem is if it's left in the locker or turned off: obviously, no ringing or texting or talking in class, but otherwise, what is the big deal?

A lot of kids (including mine) don't have home phones and cels are the only way they can reach their parents or their parents can reach them after school. There are no more pay phones. The schools don't care and this drives me crazy. I like to be able to reach my children in an emergency or have them able to reach me; after school, before school, whenever it's necessary - and, even if it isn't an emergency, I want to know if they're going over to K's house, etc - things like that, for which they are not allowed to use the school phones.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:34 PM on December 20, 2004


i heard you, badkarmaboy, and i conccur.
posted by nearo at 1:36 PM on December 20, 2004


How about funding schools at an appropriate level, eliminating the tenure system and kicking half-assed teachers to the curb and paying educators a livable wage that recognizes their contribution to society?

Agreed. These things will affect urban education more than rules.

But like any other school they have to maintain some semblance of order to effectively educate. And these rules don't seem that far out to me in the midst of what a lot of teachers have to deal with everyday. So while a lot of your criticisms of modern education are on target, I can't really fault a school for looking out for the safety of it's employees.

Oddly, New Utrecht High School is (judging by the address) over by Bay Ridge, which is a relatively safe and affluent area. So I don't know what's going on there.
posted by jonmc at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2004


Gabe Kaplan is spinning in his grave. Is he dead yet?

HA! One of my girlfreind's classes (up in the Bronx) is a class full of 5 repeaters, all boys. I sometimes call her Mr. Kotter to tease her. Although she says she has a full compliment of Horshaks and Epsteins in her class...
posted by jonmc at 1:41 PM on December 20, 2004


Rule number one.
Thou must pronounce Utrecht correctly.

Hah!
posted by ginz at 1:41 PM on December 20, 2004


New Utrecht is actually in Bensonhurst, which is more Italian working class. To hear the locals tell it, the problems are not with the local kids, but with the kids who come in from the "dark neighborhoods."

Yep, Bensonhurst is still that kinda neighborhood.
posted by mountainmambo at 1:41 PM on December 20, 2004


The problem with cell phones is that nobody EVER remembers to turn them off or silence them. I'm in college now, in small classes of about 20 people or less, and even then, not a single class period goes by without someone getting a call, fumbling around for their phone, etc. I doubt that schools are actively searching and seizing cell phones, though; as I understand it, if the teacher notices, you're busted, but otherwise...
posted by 235w103 at 1:41 PM on December 20, 2004


mstefan: So when did public schools teach children how to think? And where did you learn to think?

Actually, I would credit a few of my high school teachers with encouring critical thought. My impression is that kids are deluged with information, and encouraged to memorize it, but no effort is really spent to teach them how to think about it critically, analyze it and synthesize that information into what's going on in the world around them. For example, we had an "ancient history" course in my junior year of high school where students were taught about events from ancient Roman history and then correlated the politics, social dynamics, technology, etc. to the modern world and analyzed how social change then impacted the future. It wasn't enough to just memorize facts and dates; tests were all essay and you had to show that you actually thought about what was being covered. One of the best (and most fun) courses in high school or even college that I ever had.

Furthermore, in the absence of better funding, should schools make no attempts to improve conditions for the students?

You don't improve conditions by writing rules. You improve conditions by expecting more from students and then holding them to those expectations. In general, I think kids rise -- or fall -- to meet the expectations of those adults who are an influence on them. And these days, as a society, I think our expectations of our children are woefully low.
posted by mstefan at 1:46 PM on December 20, 2004


I thought John Dewey was the high school for B'hurst. And the demographics of Bensonhurst have changed a lot over the past decade. It's almost as much Asian and Puerto Rican as Italian & Jewish now. Neighborhoods like Bensonhurst are in a weird position, facing ghettoization on one side and gentrification on the other, which is where the phenomenon of "white flight" originated, nit that it excuses any racism, but it does put it in context. But I digress.

If a school like Utrecht has these rules, I'm willing to bet that there's similar rules in Kingsbridge and Corona as well. You are dealing with an absoulutely huge amount of students from very widely varying circumstances, so it's going to be somewhat chaotic.
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on December 20, 2004


Call me when terrorists start building lasers powerful enough to blind pilots in the process of take-off or landing.

They don't have to. These devices have already been built by the Chinese and Russian governments. The Chinese sell theirs on the international arms market!
posted by mr_roboto at 2:05 PM on December 20, 2004


I don't get the hats thing. Aside from tall hats that obscure other students' view, how do hats disrupt the learning process?
posted by Foosnark at 2:10 PM on December 20, 2004


mstefan:
How about funding schools at an appropriate level, eliminating the tenure system and kicking half-assed teachers to the curb and paying educators a livable wage that recognizes their contribution to society?


How much money is enough, exactly? The DC Public school system has basically been POURING money into education, and the system there isn't worth a tinker's damn.

Money isn't the solution. Money management is.
posted by fet at 2:14 PM on December 20, 2004


How about funding schools at an appropriate level, eliminating the tenure system and kicking half-assed teachers to the curb and paying educators a livable wage that recognizes their contribution to society?

I can tell you what will not make your little urban school a livable place: half-assed rules about carrying magic markers and laser pointers. But hey, if you think that re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titantic is an excellent approach, more power to you.


First, you can establish rules against magic markers without losing the ability to fund appropriately, eliminate tenure, etc. They are not mutually exclusive.

Second: These may not make them a far more livable place. But they may make them a somewhat more livable place. If I were on the Titanic, doomed to a tragic death, and some guy kept shitting in my bed, I'd appreciate it if the guard on the floor made it against the rules to shit in my bed. Because that guard sure as hell doesn't have the power to save the entire ship, but he may as well make it more livable before my death.

On preview:

You don't improve conditions by writing rules. You improve conditions by expecting more from students and then holding them to those expectations. In general, I think kids rise -- or fall -- to meet the expectations of those adults who are an influence on them.

I disagree. My experience has been that a small proportion of the student body fits with what you say, but these are generally the good kids anyway. The assholes could care less what your expectations are. They want to do what they want to do, and if it isn't against the rules, they'll do it. If it is against the rules, they'll still do it, just less.
posted by Bugbread at 2:19 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


don't you just love the internet
although...

Naphta: yay .. glue-sniffing does not improve your grades i guess :(
Kids don't make whipcream these days? ;)
posted by borq at 2:22 PM on December 20, 2004


mstefan: But public schools used to be at least as strict, if not moreso, then they are today. My father tells me that he used to be hit by teachers, and he went to a public school. He also says he deserved it, but that's another story...

I guess what I'm saying is, if rules don't make for a better learning enviroment, and simply expecting more from students is the answer, should we remove all rules from our schools, and simply expect more out of children?
posted by Doug at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2004


I don't get the hats thing. Aside from tall hats that obscure other students' view, how do hats disrupt the learning process?

My school had the no hats in class rule too. The reason given was that hats can be considered gang-related attire.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:41 PM on December 20, 2004


My school had the no hats in class rule too. The reason given was that hats can be considered gang-related attire.
I suspect it has more to do with the fact that traditional etiquette frowns on wearing hats indoors - and, for whatever reason, that particular rule stuck. Even schools without gang problems (such as the one I attended) often have that rule.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:45 PM on December 20, 2004


As far as High Schools go in Brooklyn New Utrecht isn't the worst. Although it does look like a regular jail from the outside. If you wanted to talk about a horrible school you should've mentioned Erasmus, since they even had to shut it down for "renovation". In the end it's just Dept. of Ed. politics.
posted by vodkadin at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2004


I've been out of high school for 15 years. Permanent markers were forbidden on school grounds even back then, as were hats or any clothing with professional sports team logos or colors. Those rules had been in place for years, and most of them applied in junior high school as well.

Of the linked rules, I see exactly none that differed from standard school district rules a decade and a half ago.
posted by majick at 2:48 PM on December 20, 2004


I fucking hate those fucking laser things. I totally support suspensions for them. I can't tell you the number of times I've been in a mall or on a street with some crowd of asshats when one of them thinks he's fawk-ing hilarious shining the laser in your face or where-ever.

a) These things DO cause permanent eye damage.

b) Most police consider their inappropriate use to be a potential crime.

Shitheads who don't get points a) or b) by themselves should get their asses suspended for a day or two to help them apply a little forethought in the future.
posted by aaronscool at 2:50 PM on December 20, 2004


You don't improve conditions by writing rules. You improve conditions by expecting more from students and then holding them to those expectations.

What are rules but a codification of those expectations to which the students will be held?

You can improve things if you have clearly established rules and ENFORCE them for everyone. Poorly or unfairly enforced rules are almost worse than no rules at all, because they breed disrespect for ANY authority. There is no way to teach anyone where a student can and does tell the teacher to fuck off, knowing there will be no consequences.

Schools try to keep students in school at all costs, because that's what determines their funding. That's how you end up with SNAFUed insanity like "In School Suspension" (shudder).

I think our expectations of our children are woefully low.

Agree with you, absolutely. I subbed in a Julius Caesar class of sophomores just last week, half the class being designated "Learning Disability" students. Rather than giving them an assigned worksheet, I led them to the answers with additional questions, raising additional points and tying the whole story together. Everybody in the class participated and had excellent in-depth discussions about the material. I had no idea which ones were LD and which ones weren't, because I treated them all the same. One girl said that class was the first time she understood what was going on in the play.

The LD teacher complained about what I was doing, saying I wasn't teaching the material they would need to take the standardized test...
posted by Enron Hubbard at 2:55 PM on December 20, 2004


I guess what I'm saying is, if rules don't make for a better learning enviroment, and simply expecting more from students is the answer, should we remove all rules from our schools, and simply expect more out of children?

I'm not saying have no rules. I'm saying have rules that actually make sense. A kid can be expelled because he has his hat on backwards or a girl brings a Midol, but if that kid can't read, write legibly or do even basic Algebra, well.. that's tough.

Rules like the ones schools are enforcing now make people all warm and fuzzy, thinking that it shows that the district is disciplined and enforcing order amongst the chaos. In reality, it's just an exercise that allows administrative bureaucrats to claim they they're "doing something" with their "zero tolerance" policies while they continue to fail their students en masse, churning them out assembly-line fashion and all the while feeling justified that their hands are clean because of their "tough, non-nonsense" policies and "they're doing everything they can".

It's a complete farce. Here, look at our shiny new rules! Parent's, bob your heads up and down in unison over the great strides we're making in improving public education! Don't mind those kids over there in the corner who can't even read well enough to fill out an job application at McDonalds. We're doing our very best. Honest!

As far as money goes, yes, money management is part of the issue and buckets of greenbacks shouldn't just be thrown at schools without accountability. Part of the problem is that the teacher unions are powerful enough to maintain the status quo. Another part of the problem is parents who don't give a damn about their own kids and see the schools as a publically funded babysitter. And, frankly, part of the problem is this strong streak of anti-intellectualism that runs through poorer or rural areas. There's no place for the arts, literature, etc. and everyone is expected to be dumb as a sack of hammers to "fit in" with the community at large. But I digress...
posted by mstefan at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2004


My school had the no hats in class rule too. The reason given was that hats can be considered gang-related attire.

Dunno how old you are, but from experience, I can reasonably guess that it has little to nothing to do with gang attire. I say this because I was going to school right before, during, and after the rise of gangs. Hats were forbidden the entire time, but the reasoning was changed midway. I suspect that gang attire was just a more plausible and useful reason than the previous "presents a distraction" example.

That's how you end up with SNAFUed insanity like "In School Suspension" (shudder).

Just curious: what makes that SNAFUed insanity?

I'm not saying have no rules. I'm saying have rules that actually make sense. A kid can be expelled because he has his hat on backwards or a girl brings a Midol, but if that kid can't read, write legibly or do even basic Algebra, well.. that's tough.

Er...what sort of rule would you like that relates to reading/writing/doing Algebra? I'm going to presume it's not "you get kicked out of school for being illiterate"...is that presumption correct? And, if so, what rules do you have in mind?

Rules like the ones schools are enforcing now make people all warm and fuzzy, thinking that it shows that the district is disciplined and enforcing order amongst the chaos.

Hmm...I can only speak for myself, but it doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy, or think anything about discipline and order. I think they're a good idea, and always have been, and the fact that they haven't discontinued these old but good rules is a given.

In reality, it's just an exercise that allows administrative bureaucrats to claim they they're "doing something" with their "zero tolerance" policies...

Do you have any evidence for that? I'm not seeing it...

It's a complete farce. Here, look at our shiny new rules! Parent's, bob your heads up and down in unison over the great strides we're making in improving public education!

Where is all this assumption that these rules are new and hyped? Sure, the laser pointer rule is new. Makes sense, as the rule couldn't have existed 20 years ago even if they wanted to.

Looking at the list of rules:

l . Students must carry program cards and be prepared to IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AT ALL TIMES.
2. No student has a free period. Students are accountable to some place every period.
3. Cutting is NOT ALLOWED. Cutting may cause failure in subject classes.
4. Lateness to class is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Excessive lateness may cause failure in subject classes.
5. No students are allowed to ride the elevator without a special elevator pass
6. Smoking is NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE in the building.
7. Students may not leave the building without permission. Students with lunch must be in the lunchroom. Students are allowed in the lunchroom only one period per day if they have lunch on their program card.
8. Carrying radios, headphones or weaning hats is NOT ALLOWED.
9. Carrying magic markers is prohibited. Defacing the building is NOT ALLOWED.
10. Vandalism - destroying or mutilating any school property is NOT ALLOWED.
11. NO LOITERING OR TRESPASSING.
12. Any action in or around the building, which is disruptive of the school program, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.
13. NO WEAPONS ARE ALLOWED. (Laser Beams are considered weapons.) Possession will result in automatic Superintendent's Suspension and/or expulsion from school.
14. No Beepers or cell phones are permitted in school. They will be confiscated.
l5. Any action, including fighting, which is a threat to the health, safety, welfare (including proper school attire)/or property of any individual, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.

In my school life, from years 1980 to 1992, these rules:

1. Did not exist
2. Existed.
3. Existed.
4. Existed.
5. Existed.
6. Existed.
7. Existed.
8. Existed.
9. Don't remember.
10. Existed.
11. Existed.
12. Existed.
13. Existed (sans laser pointer)
14. Existed.
15. Existed.

You're positing that these are all smokescreen rules to dupe parents and mask underlying problems. As far as I can tell, these rules have all existed for the last 25 years. There is no pretence of "shiny new rules", no "great strides", no "we're doing our best", none of these random aspersions.

I agree with you that the school system is screwed up, but I don't understand why retaining tried and tested rules spanning decades is an attempt to camoflauge anything. If anything, these rules are pretty unremarkable and standard.
posted by Bugbread at 3:32 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


"In-School Suspensions" were the norm at my rural Massachusetts high school in the early 1980s, and I think they were a useful alternative to out-of-school suspensions for the following reasons:

A) If a parent wanted to supervise a child who had received an out-of-school suspension, he or she had to take time off work, which was either inconvenient or impossible (for the more than 70% of my classmates' parents whose families qualified for federal free lunch programs).

B) If a child receives an out-of-school suspension and has no parental supervision, that child isn't going to use that time to contemplate his or her misdeeds and resolve to do better. That child is going to use that time to watch television, sleep, masturbate, and perhaps drink or use drugs. I say this based on what I would have done if I had ever received an out-of-school suspension.

C) A well-run in-school suspension program has kids not just sitting in the "Rubber Room" twiddling their thumbs, but researching or writing about issues relevant to their suspensions, as well as their regular classroom. When I received in-school suspensions for cutting classes, for example, the vice-principal made me write an essay on the "categorical imperative".
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:43 PM on December 20, 2004


I must say, back in high school, we always felt that in-school was worse than out-of-school, despite the fact that the latter was meant to be the "harsher" punishment.

In-school's like class, only worse - silent and interminable.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:46 PM on December 20, 2004


Way to generalize, mstefan. One of the problems facing public education at the moment is that it's very mixed - some brilliant work being done amidst very mediocre work. Every time someone panics and shouts "We've got to fix the public schools!" the administration will institute some new sweeping reform that every school and classroom will have to implement, and some of the good work will be knocked back down to the lowest common denominator. Painting all schools - and all teachers - with the same brush ends up being damaging, in the end, to those schools and teachers that are excelling.

And as for the hats - I suspect it was originally a rule for being "in polite company" and metamorphosed into the gang-colors explanation. But for me it's very simple - I need always to be able to see my students' eyes. It's almost impossible to tell whether a student is engaged or listening if they can hide their eyes from you - which hat-wearing adolescents are experts at doing.
posted by Chanther at 3:53 PM on December 20, 2004


First of all.... Those markers aren't really magic...

It's done with ink...

Second... I'm so glad I went through school in the 70-80's and you could still cary a knife on your belt in every class but gym.

I even carried a butterfly knife.. to every class... in suburban Colorado... none of the teachers cared...

I made a Roman Gladius sword for a Latin class project, and carried it around the school...

I believe there was an archery club and target rifle club, too...

Times sure have changed...
posted by Balisong at 3:59 PM on December 20, 2004


rules seem pretty straightforward and reasonable for a city school in 2004.

nothing to see here.
posted by NationalKato at 4:03 PM on December 20, 2004


Upon closer examination of the list, here's what gets me:

12. Any action in or around the building, which is disruptive of the school program, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.

How many of the other rules could be eliminated if the administration were just conscientious about enforcing #12? By making the rules list overly specific, they communicate the message, "We trust neither our teachers nor our students to know what behavior is disruptive, so we have to spell out every little thing we can possibly think of."
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:05 PM on December 20, 2004


You can't even leave the school? No free periods? Not even headphones/radios? WTF?

When I was in highschool I'd like to have considered myself a model student (read: Probably a suck-up) and:

- I had LOTS of free periods. I'd probably say that I ended up with enough swiss cheese in my schedule I could end up with 2 or more hours free at times.

- During those free periods I'd either sit in the library, *away* from people reading books, and quietly listen to some music on my headphones and read a book, or maybe just play gameboy. I never disturbed anybody. At other times I'd walk about outside, sometimes even walk to the local McDonald's and get lunch.

- I kept a swiss army knife handy. I used it often because I was often in class after time fixing up computers and the lack of tools at the school meant using a swiss army knife was one handy item.

Which brings me to another point, when I was in high school they had soft drinks in the vending machines. Now they're even getting rid of those? For crying out loud, I think I'd just end up going insane at a place like that. I'd probably end up in the principal's office weekly on principle (pun intended). Good greif!
posted by shepd at 4:06 PM on December 20, 2004


I'm not saying have no rules. I'm saying have rules that actually make sense.

How do these rules not make sense?

These rules mainly fall under a few categories: "All students at all times belong somewhere and should be there", "Don't bring things to school that are disruptive or harmful", and "Don't fuck shit up".

If you don't pay mindful attention to what seem from a distance to be minor issues, you give the impression to the student body that school is not an important place, and that education is not to be taken seriously.

And once that mindset is in place, it becomes so much harder to actually get students to read, write legibly, or do basic Algebra.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:09 PM on December 20, 2004


shepd, I can totally see where you're coming from, but the fact that every high-school student is their own best lawyer makes so many of those options no longer viable.

In so many school environments, if you allow the independent loner to sit there with headphones, then you'll be ripping headphones off kids in classrooms every day. Much as I hate to say it, the days of allowing knives, especially in city schools, are long, long gone, and there's really no credible way that you can argue that it'd be better for the kids if they could carry knives.
posted by LairBob at 4:16 PM on December 20, 2004


Shepd: When did you go to school, and where?

In my public high school (Texas, 1988 - 1992), we had no free periods, couldn't leave the school without permission, and no headphones (though they could be in your locker, I believe, for people who listened before / after school).

C) A well-run in-school suspension program has kids not just sitting in the "Rubber Room" twiddling their thumbs, but researching or writing about issues relevant to their suspensions, as well as their regular classroom. When I received in-school suspensions for cutting classes, for example, the vice-principal made me write an essay on the "categorical imperative".

I was lucky, in that we had the "twiddling the thumbs" type room, which resulted, circuitously, in my currently living in Japan. I had 3 days in-school for getting in a fight in junior high with another geek in class, and we got all our day's assignments in the morning. By before noon, I had finished all my work for the day, and to kill time I studied Japanese from a dictionary of kanji that I'd borrowed from a family friend. I had no particular objectives, I was just killing time, but by the end of the suspension I'd realized that with some time and effort, Japanese wouldn't be that hard a language. Fast forward to a summer camp where I studied Japanese, fast forward to night classes during high school, fast forward to studying Japanese in Uni, fast forward to being an exchange student for a year, fast forward to now, having lived in Japan for the last 8 years.

Just luck, of course. I agree that the "silent free-time room" approach may not be the best approach. It just happened to work with me.

And, speaking of suspensions, the one I never understood was in-home suspension. It meant you got to sleep in, play video games, watch TV...and it was the worst type of academic punishment?
posted by Bugbread at 4:16 PM on December 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


And the winner of the this week's much coveted Secret Life of Gravy Award for Best Use of Humor in The Blue goes to.......

Divine Wino! (much clapping and laughing)

Students are allowed in the lunchroom only one period per day if they have lunch on their program card.

Sounds like some poor slobs don't have "lunch" on their program card. Makes me wonder if you have to have "bathroom" on your program card as well.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:20 PM on December 20, 2004


I gave up on paying attention to what new rules schools come up with at the point some years ago when one school expelled a teen girl for giving a friend a Midol and another school in the same area demanded that girls keep their tampons in the office. These rules are nothing compared to some I have seen or heard about.

Sure, all these rules can be justified if you try hard enough, but how about teaching kids not to mark on walls or point lasers at people's eyes rather than just disallowing the tools to do so.
posted by Orb at 4:28 PM on December 20, 2004


how about parents getting their kids to behave.
posted by bakiwop at 4:39 PM on December 20, 2004


We could leave the school...used to drive out Route 202 to the Royal Diner and get a quart of Bud or two and go back to class...jeez, what was I thinking...

Rules for kids=good.
posted by 1016 at 4:58 PM on December 20, 2004


We could leave the school...used to drive out Route 202 to the Royal Diner and get a quart of Bud or two and go back to class...jeez, what was I thinking...

And you turned out to be an illiterate, unemployable mass murderer with no redeeming values whatsoever, right?

No? You mean you actually survived? And... gasp became a useful member of society despite not having a rule written down that says "Thou shalt not skip class to buy beer!" My god! How did you ever find your way through high school without having a table of rules to meticulously follow?

Yes, what have I been thinking? Common sense and good judgement? Bah, who the hell needs that? No, what we need are rules. Lots and lots of rules! And, when someone breaks a rule, we'll make more rules about breaking those rules. Then more rules about those rules, which will in turn, have rules to govern the rules about the rules that we've made.

Yes, when in doubt people, don't engage your brain. Just flip to the Book of Rules.™

After all, the benefit that all of these rules, laws and lawyers have had on society is truly immesurable. I wake up every morning thanking the gods for the rules that we have and hoping -- wishing, in fact -- that another 100 kids will decide that day that they love rules so much, they'll become rules laywers when they grow up. In fact, I say, we don't have enough rules for our rules! Let us make more. Yes, the world is a much better place with all of the rules and people who make rules and people who judge those who break rules and elect those who make the rules and judge the rules and rule on whether the rules are good rules or bad rules and whether or not we need more rules for the rules.

More rules for everyone!
posted by mstefan at 5:26 PM on December 20, 2004


mstefan, come clean, you're still in high school and you home today cause you got suspended, right?

Get offa my lawn, kid.
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on December 20, 2004


and "rules" are what keep you from getting killed by people who don't cotton to wiseasses. I can tell from the spoiled teenager tone of your comments that you'd last about three seconds in a society free of the "rules" you detest so much. So , go to your room, and no TV for a week.
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on December 20, 2004


Yup. Sucks to be a kid. Sucks also to be a parent. Now that I think about it - the problem with kids are their parents.
posted by wfrgms at 6:51 PM on December 20, 2004


jonmc, you're just not appreciating how Deep mstefan is being. See, mstefan is against rules and religion, too. mstefan is like a modern-day Holden Caulfield or something. mstefan must get tons of sex with that daring rebel attitude.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:53 PM on December 20, 2004


jonmc, I love you...today...maybe not every day...but today...to be sure.

Not an illiterate, unemployable mass murderer with no redeeming values whatsoever, I hope, but not because I was a dipshit teenager.

Definitely not because.
posted by 1016 at 7:31 PM on December 20, 2004


mstefan: If I were six-foot-six and weighed three hundred pounds, I would go around beating up anarchists and taking their money. I'm not, so I don't, but always remember that there are people who are, so be grateful that there are rules to protect you from people who are like me, only bigger.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2004



they'll become rules laywers when they grow up.


This has kept me laughing for awhile. Jeezum crow.

So, Dawson, how's things down at the Creek?
posted by jonmc at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2004


Oh come on, you guys loved my trip down Absurdity Lane. You know you did, don't deny it!

mstefan, come clean, you're still in high school and you home today cause you got suspended, right?

You know, I wish it were true. When I was a teenager, I was in such a damn hurry to "grow up" and get on down the road. Now I'd like the damn car to slow down, please.

If I were six-foot-six and weighed three hundred pounds, I would go around beating up anarchists and taking their money... be grateful that there are rules to protect you from people who are like me...

I knew someone wouldn't disappoint me. Thank you.

In all seriousness, however, my point is this: while we can all agree that there needs to be a basic set of rules of behavior, there's a point where rulemaking becomes a thing unto itself. Where the rules become the focus, rather than the student. It my mind, it's all wrapped in that same institutional mentality that also says that tests are more important that actual learning. That if we create enough rules, if we have enough tests, if there are more ways to meter and weigh the quantitative aspects of education and student life, that we can ignore the qualitative. That we're ultimately teaching children that passion, energy, independence, free thought, creativity aren't important... that conformity, adherence, attendance and memorization are what you need to succeed in life. I know that seems like a stretch when we're just talking about rules about magic markers, but I'm thinking of the larger ways in which we institutionalize and warehouse our kids rather than really teaching them. All of the "zero tolerance" policies and the plethora of petty rules (not just those enacted by this particular school, but schools around the country) are just symptoms of the disease.

mstefan must get tons of sex with that daring rebel attitude.

If only I weren't so ugly, perhaps. Lastly...

Not an illiterate, unemployable mass murderer with no redeeming values whatsoever, I hope, but not because I was a dipshit teenager.

I disagree. Your life experiences are what make you. And being a "dipshit" is part of being a teenager. You're probably a standup person, and to some extent, you owe yourself to that "dipshit" all those years ago. We aren't defined by our successess... we're defined by our fuckups and how we grow beyond them. So love your inner dipshit of years gone by, he has served you well.
posted by mstefan at 8:40 PM on December 20, 2004


"Although it does look like a regular jail from the outside. "

I haven't seen the public school in NYC that doesn't look like a jail. I think it's Board of Ed policy to put huge chain link fences around any open space and three sets of bars on all the windows.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:31 PM on December 20, 2004


In my public high school (Texas, 1988 - 1992), we had no free periods, couldn't leave the school without permission, and no headphones (though they could be in your locker, I believe, for people who listened before / after school).

We had the same rules in my public high school (suburbs of Chicago, 1987-1991). Some schools in the area had open campus, but mine wasn't one of them. As far as clothes, you could wear things with professional sports teams' logos on them, but you couldn't wear anything with logos for alcoholic beverages, nor could you wear anything with crude words (this included curse words as well as things like "hell.")

We also had the internal suspension room...I never got internal but if you had it, you were allowed to do schoolwork and ONLY schoolwork. (I think if you had a test that day you could take it while you were in internal but I'm not sure.) You had to be totally silent. You got one bathroom break in the morning and one in the afternoon...everyone went together with the teacher accompanying the group. You brought a bag lunch...no going to the cafeteria. I had to deliver things there a couple times when I was a department aide and it always was kind of creepy to go in there.

As for the no-hats rule, my school did make an exception for one kid: he had some sort of condition where he didn't grow hair (not on his head, no eyebrows, nothing) so he was allowed to wear a baseball cap in school. But he was the only person I know of who was allowed to do that when I was there.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:48 PM on December 20, 2004


I disagree. Your life experiences are what make you.

That's only true to a certain extent. What all the scientific evidence consistently points to is that about 50% of the variance in human personality is genetic. And of the remainder, the vast majority is due to non-shared environmental influences--i.e., not the kind of influence you get at home from your parents.

Essentially, that means some people are dicks because they're born dicks, or because they become dicks for pretty unpredictable (read: random) reasons. Not necessarily because the system failed them. That's not to say the system doesn't fail some people who would have flourished in a different environment. But it's just wrong-headed to think implementing the 'right' kind of educational system in a lower class neighborhood in New York is all it takes to stop kids from misbehaving. It might stop some of them, but others would just see it as a license to run amok. On the other hand, if you enforce a strict set of rules, some kids might suffer (the sensitive kind who resent the hard hand of authority), but at least the troublemakers are more likely to keep in line.

Bottom line: it's a trade-off, and one that's optimized for the exact environment you happen to be in. In upper-class, liberal high schools, you tend to see less in the way of strict rules, and more of the free-thinking attitude you're arguing for. And in that context, it works, because relaxing the rules usually doesn't result in a large spike in antisocial behavior. But that approach is just not going to work as well in many urban schools, for the simple reason that the population is very different. There's no one-size-fits-all policy in education. The implicit assumption you seem to be making--namely, that the human mind is infinitely malleable in the hands of teachers--is just flatly untrue. (It's also not clear that there's any objective evidence to support your claim that today's students are any less free-thinking, but that's a separate issue.)
posted by heavy water at 10:11 PM on December 20, 2004


I understand what mstefan is getting at. This concentration on rules forbidding bad behavior leads to overly rigid schools with no discretion or flexibility. And it doesn't address the root causes of the problems.

I know that I would never have flourished at a high school with rules like that, and I do realise they are common now. I would very likely have dropped out, as my mother and my brother did, or have been failed out for my periodic skipping (which was otherwise never serious enough to fail). Yet, I am now a graduate student. Where would I be if I had not found schools which were remarkably open? I have no idea, but not where I am now.

The problem with ill discipline in schools is complex and related to a number of socal issues, but one huge cause is the sheer size of high schools. I went to a 500 person high school. We had no violence problems and very little ill discipline (aside from some smoking and the occaionnal skip to the local creek to hang out, or perhaps just sit in the bushes and mop in a classic teenage depression.) That was because we were small enough that we didn't have that many students with serious problems, and the teachers all knew most of us personally - there weren't any more teachers per student, but they were more effective. And there was none of the freedom of anonymity that can breed serious problems.

If you have 2000 or more hormonal, adult-sized but child-brained beings in one place, you will have serious problems. Reducing the size of schools can work - Toronto has 10 different alternative schools, which work with some of the most undisciplined and disadvantaged students in the city (everything from the bright underachievers to kids with violence issues to streetkids putting their lives together, with different programs suited to different needs). They work partly because they have unique curriculum approaches, but also because they are small. There is no getting away with anything when you only have five teachers, and your English teacher knows damn well you can do better. More personal relationships also means that more discretion in the application of rules can be used, because teachers and administrators will know when there is a serious problem or not.
posted by jb at 12:02 AM on December 21, 2004


just a further clarification (in response to heavy water): Toronto's alternative high schools (at least in the 1990s, when I was there) had various degrees of flexibility in their systems (for different needs), but all were more open than regular high schools, despite the fact that some explicitly served disadvantaged populations.

In fact, I think many students most in need (especially those in danger of dropping out) actually need more flexibility than students in upper class, liberal high schools. How many upper class students have never had good relations with an authority figure (in my neighbourhood, small children would run away from police officers)? How many don't know why discpline or an education is even important?

What I saw working with disadvantaged and/or discipline-adverse students (myself among them) was discipline that was simple, and above all, made sense. They concentrated on the most important rules (getting work done, doing readings, keeping peace), and didn't cloud the issue with unnecessary or less important ones (such as the colour of bandanas is a school without gangs or leaving school property to smoke - provided you weren't late after the break). Different situations will call for different degrees of discipline (younger students need more, older students may do better when they are left to take responsibility for their own work). But flexibility is paramount, particularly for schools with problems, and I don't see this in the approach of most schools in bad areas.

But again, this cannot work except in a small environment, where there is a community and there is responsibility to your teachers and fellow students.
posted by jb at 12:21 AM on December 21, 2004


Sorry about the typos, it is late. And I should get back to marking. Perhaps I do still need more discipline.
posted by jb at 12:22 AM on December 21, 2004


That's only true to a certain extent. What all the scientific evidence consistently points to is that about 50% of the variance in human personality is genetic... The implicit assumption you seem to be making--namely, that the human mind is infinitely malleable in the hands of teachers--is just flatly untrue.

While genetics lays the foundation, ultimately that's all that it is; a foundation. You may have a genetic predisposition to "being a dick" as you put it, but ultimately becoming that dick in full bloom is a choice that you make. I don't believe that the human mind is infinitely malleable, but I apparently believe it to be more malleable that you do.

It's also not clear that there's any objective evidence to support your claim that today's students are any less free-thinking, but that's a separate issue.

I would be interested to hear the thoughts of any undergratuate professors about the capacity that their students have for critical thought and analysis and their ability to "think outside the box" after twelve years through the public education system.

In any case, thanks to you and jb for some serious comments to what started out as a pretty flip post on my part.
posted by mstefan at 12:35 AM on December 21, 2004


I substitute teach at two local high schools. I believe the biggest causal factor to disruptive behavior is lack of consequences when it occurs, from both school administration and parents. Behavior that would have gotten me sent to the principal (gasp!) and gotten my backside tanned by my parents is now ignored, tolerated, or shrugged off as "youthful indiscretion".

Last Friday, two girls walked out of my "In School Suspension". The parents were notified, the girls were rounded up, given another 2 days of ISS, and were sent back to the ISS room later the same day, none the worse for wear. They didn't give a flying rat's ass about anything that had happened to them. They had gamed the system with no consequences that mattered to them.

Each of the kids in that room was a jailhouse lawyer when it came to the rules. The game is to see what you can get away with and how much attention you can get. More rules only make the game more interesting.

Some kids get attention through sports, some through academics, and some by being a continual pain in the ass.

Any attention is better than none.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 3:20 AM on December 21, 2004


Man you people are young.

When I was in high school (70 - 74), the only person allowed to wear a hat inside the building was the janitor.
If a student came to school wearing a hat he took it off before walking inside, period.end.of.discussion.
Headphones? They were these huge clunky tings that only the A/V guys (and girls, ahem) wore.
Cell phone? Yeah, right.
Magic Markers? WTF for? (Yeah, yeah, we were naive, and the world was a better/safer place 30 years ago too)
posted by kamylyon at 5:35 AM on December 21, 2004


Another thing I recall from high school was that I, and some of my friends, liked having a big, long, explicit list of rules. We liked them because they delineated exactly what we could and could not do. As such, we didn't feel like we were at the whim of individual teacher's moods or pet peeves. If it wasn't in the rulebook, we could do it, and teachers could right fuck themselves if they didn't like it. An explicit rule is a rule that doesn't provide much room for abuse by teachers. The rules that pissed us off were the vague ones, because we knew that teachers would use them as they saw fit.

I'd be a bit worried by the suggestions put forth to just have "expectations" of students, and to hold them to those expectations. That's just giving teachers free reign to pick on students for anything they feel like. Wearing protest t-shirts, having unpopular opinions, being outspoken, etc.

And, surprise surprise, nowadays, the laws that bug me the most in my day-to-day life are the ones for "loitering" and "disturbing the peace", because they are catch-alls for cops who'd like to bust you but have no good reason. (The laws that bug me most in an indirect way, of course, are the usual suspects - "sodomy" laws, laws regarding political protests, etc., but they are the big picture, not the personal daily stuff).
posted by Bugbread at 5:50 AM on December 21, 2004 [1 favorite]


you guys would've hated my high school. we were made to endure everything detailed in the post, plus all of our clothes had to be "fitting" and all shirts and overgarments had to be tucked in. if your pants had belt loops, you'd best have a belt on. for all my rabble rousing, it's a wonder I wasn't shot by a guard.

an anecdote: one day I showed up to school with a very bright and very unnatural hair color. I was plucked from the halls by the principal who knew me by name at this point and instructed to go and wash the color out in the washroom because it was a distraction. so armed with a dispenser of hand soap, I retreated to the sink and washed and washed until I didn't feel like washing anymore and returned to class soaking wet and with a white t-shirt almost completely stained with dye. everyone, even my teachers, wanted to know what happened so the first 5 or 10 minutes or so of each of my classes that day were spent on me retelling the story with reactions from the class. but, at least I was no longer a distraction!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2004


Is the consensus view that these rules are draconian? They don't go far enough. Thanks to two generations of discipline-is-Evil, we have a wonderful underclass of hopeless thugs. Yes, these are the future customers of Walmart, but it's not like it's Walmart's fault they are. Want to know why I've become more conservative politically? This is a perfect example of it. Lets bring back reform schools, orphanages, and sound accountability for people who breed but really shouldn't.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:02 AM on December 21, 2004


Good grief, it sounds like a bunch of you didn't go to high school; you were in a juvenile lockup. For me, it was late 70s and early 80s. We were free to dress how we wished, could leave the campus for our lunch/free periods (students who could drive and had a car could park at the school), there were no bars on the windows or doors. Kids would go out for pizza runs and bring back stuff for the teachers in the teacher's lounge. There we no metal detectors, no bomb sniffing dogs, no drug searches in lockers. Hell, if you wanted to smoke you could go to the atrium and shoot the breeze with the teachers that were hanging out there. There was just no smoking inside the building, and of course there no alcohol or illegal drugs (those were "zero tolerance" rules that could get you suspended or expelled).

We had our share of wise-asses and kids who liked to live dangerously (smoking grass out by the maintenance building next to the football field, etc.) but no one climbing a clock tower. No school shootings. No drug busts with heroin in the lockers. No rampaging anarchists or out of control kids looking to wreak havok. Yet, somehow, in this absence of all of these rules, most kids managed to get into good colleges or trade schools and managed to turn out okay. Go figure.
posted by mstefan at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2004


Mstefan:

For further reference: My high school (Texas, 88-92) had:
Lax dress code (no hats, no lingerie, no slippers, no bare feet, no shirtlessness, no wifebeaters...I think that's about it).
We couldn't leave campus.
No free periods.
No bars on windows.
No bars on doors.
No metal detectors.
No bomb sniffing dogs.
Occasional drug-sniffing dogs for lockers only, not for individual students.
No smoking (plenty of kids smoked in bathroom, of course, but we're talking rules here, not reality)
No drinking or drugs.

We also had no clock tower climbers, no shootings, a few drug busts (no heroin), no rampaging anarchists (but plenty of suburban punks with anarchy signs on their backpacks), and few genuinely out of control kids.

Somehow, in the midst of all these rules, most kids managed to get into good colleges or trade schools, and turned out ok.
posted by Bugbread at 3:48 PM on December 21, 2004 [1 favorite]


PP: This is a perfect example of it. Lets bring back reform schools, orphanages, and sound accountability for people who breed but really shouldn't.

You forgot poorhouses and confining the epileptic and mentally retarded to insane asylums for their entire life.

Wow, just...wow. That was especially troll-ariffic, PP. You've really outdone yourself.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:18 PM on December 23, 2004


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