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BOTD 09-06-2016 A Question of Confidentiality - A Kat Production

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Skater


Bransom Postmaster
A Question of Confidentiality
A Kat Production

You recently married a woman with a 13-year-old son, Ethan. You have a good relationship with Ethan, which is complicated by your job as the assistant principal of his middle school. Today you had to paddle Ethan for using profanity to one of his teachers. He accepted the punishment as deserved and took his three swats without a fuss, even though he did a good bit of grimacing and bottom rubbing afterwards.

He only became upset when you gave him the standard notification of corporal punishment to take home to his mother. Mom believes in reinforcing school punishment at home with grounding. Ethan wants you to sign the notification form so Mom never knows about the paddling. When you demur that you aren’t his legal guardian, he tells you,

“This is so unfair! I’m getting screwed because you won’t sign, but I can’t even forge the signature like I used to do because you’ll know if I don’t give it to her.”


Ethan - 13
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Apart from the disconcerting news about past forgeries, what will you say to Ethan?


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Iconoclast


Trailboss
Because I believe double jeopardy is highly immoral I will sign the form myself and not tell my wife! And I will keep all confidential information I receive from Ethan as just that: confidential!

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AFinch


Sherrif
Am I planning on becoming Ethan's "legal guardian" or do I want to be "just a step parent"? The scenario says I have a good relationship with him--I can't imagine I'm going to improve that, or keep it, if I punish him at school and turn him over for additional punishment at home. And unless this is repeated behavior, it's been dealt with at school, and I don't think it merits "reinforcement" at home.

But--the school notification form is a "legal document", and if I'm NOT currently his legal guardian, I'm unable to sign it. And if I'm an employee of the school district, I know that. As someone we all know and respect would say: Tricky one, this.

I think the best solution is to tell Ethan that, much as I'd like to sign the form, I legally can't. At least not at this point in time. What I can do is talk to my wife, his mother, and see to it that he doesn't receive additional punishment. Perhaps this would also be a good time for the three of us to begin a dialogue about us becoming a real family, rather than a 2 + 1.

David M. Katz


Marshall
AFinch wrote:Am I planning on becoming Ethan's "legal guardian" or do I want to be "just a step parent"?  The scenario says I have a good relationship with him--I can't imagine I'm going to improve that, or keep it, if I punish him at school and turn him over for additional punishment at home.  And unless this is repeated behavior, it's been dealt with at school, and I don't think it merits "reinforcement" at home.

But--the school notification form is a "legal document", and if I'm NOT currently his legal guardian, I'm unable to sign it.  And if I'm an employee of the school district, I know that.  As someone we all know and respect would say: Tricky one, this.

I think the best solution is to tell Ethan that, much as I'd like to sign the form, I legally can't.  At least not at this point in time.  What I can do is talk to my wife, his mother, and see to it that he doesn't receive additional punishment.  Perhaps this would also be a good time for the three of us to begin a dialogue about us becoming a real family, rather than a 2 + 1.

I love this answer.

As far as the revelation of past issues: it is in the past.


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ivor


Marshall
Ethan has evidently been operating a policy of deliberate deception on his Mom for years - and getting away with it.

I agree with what Kier has said, but he is also going to have to 'fess up to his Mom about past history. It is quite possible that he is going to have to accept some punishment in order to wipe that slate clean. Once that is done then we can consider the 'double jeopardy' position going forward.

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Jack


Admin
First of all, while I would have a talk with Ethan about forgery, and I'll certainly be watching for it in the future, I don't think I'd tell his mom about it anymore than I would if any other student had allowed that to slip.

Secondly, I letter home to the parents is not a legal document, and I'd have no trouble signing it. The question is more about keeping secrets from his mom. I agree with him that a grounding at home is overboard for this behavior. While I have no problem with reinforcing a lesson at home, I don't think this situation calls for it (I'm assuming, since he's only getting three swats, that he cussed while talking to the teacher, not that he was directly offensive to or harassing of that teacher.

I think what I'm going to do is to be the one to bring it to my spouse, let him know that we had a bit of trouble at school, that I already dealt with it, and that I don't believe anything further is required.


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squarecutter


Sherrif
I am in 100% agreement with Kier. I will tell Ethan I will try to talk Ethans mom round and tell her that provided folks are supportive of school discipline there is no need for reinforcement after a paddling ( in most cases) and including this one. I might even suggest obliquely that such a change may provide for a more open relationship with Ethan. I will not let on about the past forgery's if Ethan can promise he has committed his last.

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