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BOTD 8/13/13 "A Different (Point of) View" A Late chat production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
A DIFFERENT (POINT OF) VIEW
*A Late Chat Production
*Kier, Leti, Jkher, John Boy, DMK

Your twelve year old son, Jimmy, attends an exclusive private school.  Among the many rules of the school is a very strict uniform policy.  Jimmy and many of his friends hate the uniform standards.

Jimmy's favorite hobby is playing his guitar and singing.  He is quite talented.  The school is having a talent show and Jimmy enters.  He has to have his performance approved by the administration.  His favorite artist is Jimmy Buffet and Jimmy wants to perform "Margaritaville" but the administration will not approve it and tells him he must perform "Cheeseburger In Paradise" instead.  Jimmy also wants to perform in costume of board shorts, Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. His request is denied and Jimmy is told that all talent show participants must adhere to the school uniform standards and that he will be required to perform wearing his school uniform.

Jimmy plans a protest to the strict rules of the school especially the uniform policy.  You are unaware of his plans.

It is the day of the talent show and you and your spouse are in attendance.  Jimmy strips out of his uniform back stage.  Jimmy is announced and he appears on stage definitely NOT in uniform.

JIMMY - 12
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Jimmy announces, to the cheers of the other students in the audience, that he is sick of the school rules and the uniform policy.  Jimmy also does not perform the approved song but performs "A Love Song (From A Different Point Of View)" instead. This song is better known by the alternate title of "Let's Get Drunk (And Screw.)"

Jimmy is quickly led off stage by the headmaster himself and taken directly to the office.  You and your spouse leave the audience and catch up with your son in the office.

Jimmy is proud of his protest but the headmaster is less than amused. You are told Jimmy faces suspension.

How do you handle your little rebel?


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AFinch


Sherrif
Had Jimmy told me of his plans in advance, I'd have supported him.

I honestly can't see any "appropriateness difference" between Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Why Don't We Get Drunk, clad in nothing but board shorts, is another matter, at least if you're only 12 and in an uptight, repressive environment.

Since he didn't share his plans with me, I'm going to find it difficult to totally support him.  It's not a protest if it's an apparent "random act of disobedience".

I will speak privately with the principal.  I will suggest that a school suspension gives a kid positive reinforcement (how many 12 year olds WANT to be in school), and unless negative consequences from the suspension come from another source (Me), they are a useless, stupid, lazy form of punishment.

I'm also going to suggest that while I can understand the need to keep  order in a school setting, a talent show that only showcases children in coats and ties performing "approved" acts--and remember, we're talking about Margaritaville vs. Cheeseburger in Paradise, not some Marilyn Manson thing in what they perceive as "weird makeup", are likely to be seen as totally repressive, and are further likely to incite just this sort of rebellion.

If the principal is still adamant about a suspension or some other form of Draconian punishment, I'm going to ask for a few minutes alone with Jimmy.  

I'm going to tell Jimmy that he exercised poor judgment, and poor impulse control.  But then again, he's 12--that's what they do.  I'm going to tell him what the principal wants.  And I'm going to ask him just how much he likes being at this school.  

Unless he's vehement that he doesn't want to transfer, I'm going to withdraw him and, in the words of Ed Kleban/Marvin Hamlisch "go find a better class".  If he wants to stay, I will see if I can negotiate a paddling in lieu of a suspension, and suggest that, should Jimmy feel like "rebelling" again this sort of thing in future, he needs to check with me first so I can help with strategies for a rebellion that makes a point.

I personally am NOT going to spank or otherwise punishment him.

Art isn't easy.

Jack


Admin
First of all, this seems like an utterly ridiculous thing over which to suspend someone, unless this is a religious school.

To me, my real reaction is going to depend on why I have Jimmy in this school. Does he have to be here (suspended from elsewhere possibly?), or is there a driving reason (local public schools are below standards?), or did I just send him here because it seemed like a good idea at the time?

If it's the last, I'm going to be very tempted to ask to speak to Jimmy privately, and if he doesn't want to be here, I won't make him be.

My problem with his behavior is that I don't see this as a legitimate protest - especially not over the uniform. I see this as a child who's throwing a tantrum because he didn't get his way. While I don't force my employees to wear an actual uniform, I do have a dress code for them, and many places you work through your life will have at least that much - get used to it.

If Jimmy wants (or has) to remain here, I will make clear to the principal that I intend to make my displeasure known to Jimmy in a very direct way. If he's suspended, I'll make sure he doesn't enjoy it. Whatever else happens, I think he can expect a long and unpleasant talk before he gets a long and unpleasant session over my lap.

Oh, for what it's worth - I agree with him that the school rules were stupid, and I would have been happy to support him in trying to get them changed (to allow for a costume, I would have nixed Margaritaville myself) or would have encouraged him and everyone else to drop out of the contest in protest. I just wouldn't have supported what he did.


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Iconoclast


Trailboss
Well if the truth be known, I am very proud of my son Jimmy, because the situation in our country will require a revolution to change, and I hope he will participate in it.  As soon as we get home I will start showing Jimmy some REALLY revolutionary books and computer files, which I will ask him to read, study, and soon start introducing to his fellow students!

But for a few minutes I will pretend I am angry for the benefit of the Headmaster.  But on thew way home I will stop at the computer store where I will buy Jimmy an unexpected gift, which I will make clear to him he is receiving because I liked his performance very much except that it was not really revolutionary.  I hope to soon change that!

Iconoclast

1strappedboy


Sherrif
Sadly, there's a BIG piece of me that's lining up with Icono here.  The innate rebel in me is saying "way to go" to my Jimmy.  I hate that kind of repressiveness, having lived with so much of it so I can understand wanting to stick my thumb in the eye of authority.

The responsible adult in me however knows that this went too far and there is the piper to be paid after my antics!  Again, been there/done that!

I am largely in agreement with Doc's coverage.  Perhaps it is time to find better company and if he agrees, I'll try to find him a school more in keeping with realities.  

If he wishes to stay then I'll try to convince the headmaster to try an alternate to the suspension.  A short sharp paddling for the direct disobedience is not outside of reason and will make a far better impression than a vacation sanctioned from the top.

David M. Katz


Marshall
Whenever we "sign up" for certain things in life we know there may be certain rules and regulations attached. But, hey, that doesn't mean we can't act for change.

Why is Jimmy at this school? The most feasible answer is to move him.

I too am with Doc and Dimitri, mostly.

I do understand the ill advised "protest" but there was a better way. Jack's idea of an organized "boycott" of the talent show would have been much better. But, OK, the kid is 12.

I will try to intervene with the head and get the punishment reduced. Even if we leave the school, I don't want a suspension on Jimmy's record. Three well placed paddle swats sounds right to me.

Unless there are good reasons to the contrary, it is time to change schools.


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John Boy


Sherrif
David M. Katz wrote:Whenever we "sign up" for certain things in life we know there may be certain rules and regulations attached.  But, hey, that doesn't mean we can't act for change.

Why is Jimmy at this school?  The most feasible answer is to move him.

I too am with Doc and Dimitri, mostly.

I do understand the ill advised "protest" but there was a better way.  Jack's idea of an organized "boycott" of the talent show would have been much better.  But, OK, the kid is 12.

I will try to intervene with the head and get the punishment reduced. Even if we leave the school, I don't want a suspension on Jimmy's record.  Three well placed paddle swats sounds right to me.

Unless there are good reasons to the contrary, it is time to change schools.

Ditto Katz

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MemoryMan


Sherrif
I don't know the songs but I get the gist.

I arrive at the office embarrassed and rather shocked but once the facts become clear and I become aware that the school had been censoring the acts and carrying its uniform policy right through to stage performances I find myself growing rather proud of my son.  

A childish response would have been to withdraw from the competition. (if he was allowed to do so)  Instead, knowing full well that the stuff would hit the fan in a big way, he staged his protest as he did;  I would like to think I would have had his courage at his age.

Whatever academic excellence the school may offer I am wondering now why I ever committed my son to be educated in such a blinkered (and likely bigoted) environment and I am also angered by the high handed way the headmaster dragged Jimmy off the stage in the middle of his act.  Before we leave the office he will have become aware that his school's income has dropped by one student fee.

Back home Jimmy will have to pay the price of keeping his mother and me in the dark, thus embarrassing us on the night; but by the time his pants are down I'll be laughing so much he'll think its a price worth paying.

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squarecutter


Sherrif
If he wants to stay at this school fine but however dumb he think they are he obeys the rules and sucks up the punishment. Deliberate protests to briing about a suspension will bring a paddling in future.Personally I think some kids this age will always look for causes to protest over. I would not indulge the rentaprotest mentality

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm with Kier. I don't think this school is a good fit for our family, though. While the school has every right to set its own policies, we have the right to choose a different school. I find it bizarre that the school would have a talent show and then place so many restrictions on the performers.

Kat

Guest


Guest
This reminds me so much of Chris Whitehead and the stand he made. If you haven't heard of Chris or have forgotten about him, he donned his sister's skirt in protest that boys weren't allowed to wear shorts during the hot weather in 2011.

He took advantage of a 'loophole' in the school's dress code, which said girl's are allowed to wear skirts during the summer months, but boys are not allowed to wear shorts. There was nothing in the rules ot say boys mustn't wear skirts, so Chris jumped at the chance and used it as a means of protest.

Now the teenager has become a runner-up in Liberty's human rights young person of the year competition held at the Southbank Centre in London. @ 2011 Mail online
His parents backed him and the school agreed to allow shorts to be worn for a trial period.

I back Jimmy on this one all the way, just as I backed Chris. Just think if we don't fight for what we believe in as was the case in the 1940s, then tyranny wins, which is why our forces went to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm not suggesting there should not be discipline in schools, what I am suggesting is there should be a bit of give and take.

Jack


Admin
Murray, I'm afraid I see a huge difference in what Chris did, and what happened here - more than one as a matter of fact.

First, Chris was actually protesting for something - the right to wear comfortable clothes.

Second, Chris wasn't breaking a rule, much less doing something which he'd been specifically told not to do.

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