The sophomore brings me the back-to-school mile high stack of papers to peruse, and read, and sign. Amongst the packet is the Student Handbook, which we are to “review with our student” and sign simultaneously.
The Table of Contents alone is nearly two pages long, including everything from “Skateboards and Bicylcles” (I am not kidding, I copied it directly) to “Academic Honesty,” “Gangs and Gang Activity” (really, in our little cow town?) to (this is the one that killed me) “Pregnant Students.” (I am so glad my father isn’t reading this handbook.)
I shout (as the sophomore has already retreated to his room,) “Don’t we need to go over the Student Handbook?”
“Mom, it’s the same handbook from last year.” What am I, stupid or something?
I begin to thumb through the thing, which is odd for me. Usually, I just sign and return to the student/child. But, I was intrigued. Also, Sexy Hubby gives me a hard time for not reading every single line that I sign. Whatever. It’s not like it’s my BlogHer.com contract or something (which I did read line for line, in case you’re wondering.)
The first question, whether or not “I give permission for my child to attend all walking field trips.”
We live in a cold weather state, where it snows more than it doesn’t and shit is stretched out for miles. Once you leave the city limits, it’s two hours east or three hours west to the next major town. Now, I’m curious as to where they will walk, but that’s not the question asked.
I check “YES,” and move to the next question.
“I have read and understand the Technology of Use Agreement. My child agrees to abide by the rules herein.”
Again, I shout to the sophomore, “Do you agree not to access or download any illegal, pornographic, abusive, obscene or harassing material from the school’s computer.”
“MOM!” he says. That’s means no, right?
The next section is fairly routine, the bell schedule, lockers, hall passes, and school phones. School phones? What teenager in this hemisphere doesn’t have their own cell phone?
Next on the list is, Dress Code. This ought to be interesting.
“The appearance of any young person is primarily the responsibility of that individual and their parents.” (Great!)
“The board considers student dress to be inappropriate when:
It creates a safety hazard for said student or others (i.e., spikes).” Wait? Are there Raider fans here?
“Inappropriate or excessive cleavage is not allowed.” (Speaking for myself, I didn’t have this problem until I was 27 years old AND nine months pregnant!)
Other noteworthy items, “Law enforcement is required to be present at every dance.” WOW! That’s a new one!
I was actually surprised at the level of detail that outlined, “UNDERSTAND WHAT CONSTITUTES PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING.” After further review, it seems I am in default, “presenting the work of parents as your own.” I don’t know of a single paper written by my older, now adult children, that weren’t heavily edited by me. Although I never wrote a paper from start to finish, like other mothers that I know (you know who you are!!!)
I was actually relived to see a section regarding BULLYING. I remember hearing about Phoebe Prince, the 15 year old girl from Massachusetts, who tragically commit suicide after incessant taunts, text messages, Facebook postings, and physical threats. Every parents worst fear.
Closer to home, and not long after learning about Phoebe Prince, we had our own issue with bullying. It got to the point I had a tough decision to make. Ignore it, or take a stand.
Thankfully, I took a stand, but it was not easy, and I was terrified that I would make matters much, much worse for my son. Yet, the thought that kept plaguing me, if I do nothing, and something bad happens, I will never forgive myself. Ever.
I received much advice (right here in these blog pages) and am thankful to report, our incident was quickly resolved. I know other parents aren’t as fortunate, and my heart goes out to them.
I believe schools, in general, are on the right track with regards to bullying, and on the very last page of the Student Handbook is a CONFIDENTIAL BULLYING INCIDENT REPORT.
I sure hope no one has to use it this year, but am very glad to find it included herein.