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BOTD 12-29-2016 Sign on the Dotted Line - An Ivor Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
Sign on the Dotted Line
An Ivor Production

You are on your way home from work when you spot your neighbour's 14 year old son Sam.

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Sam has always seemed a good kid and has helped you out on more than one occasion in the past as you are disabled and have difficulty with some jobs others would find easy. He doesn't like taking payment from you for helping and you know he has a paper round which is how he can afford to buy decent clothes. You get the impression that his home life isn't too happy from what little he has told you - his father is ex services and appears to be a strict disciplinarian.

From the way he is sitting you guess there is something wrong so you ask Sam if there is a problem. After a while he tells you that he got in trouble at school today and has a note for his father to sign to agree to him being paddled tomorrow. He tells you he doesn't mind the paddling at school but he knows when he asks his Pa to sign the note he is going to get a whipping 'cos his Pa always told him that was what would happen if he ever got a paddling at school.

The he looks at you, half smiles, and says,

"Hey, Mr S would you sign the form?"

So what do you do?


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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
I know I'm going to take some heat for this one but I'm signing the form.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Much as I would very much like to sign the form, the problem is, the school very probably already has a copy of his father's signature on file with other forms. Thus, if I sign anything, he will likely have a problem at school if the signature is examined and compared. I need to tell Sam I can't sign it, and why.

As bad as it is, I think I will have to try to firstly explain that I got whippings at home when I was a kid. While they sure did hurt like the dickens, I did live through them, and so will he. Next, if I have a semblance of a relationship with his dad, I might try to talk to Sam's dad to perhaps moderate the whipping he will get. I would not try to remove the promised whipping, but maybe I could try and help Sam explain the circumstances of what the misbehavior in school was, and thereby moderate how bad he gets it.

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AFinch

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Sherrif
You won't take any heat from me Skater. I think that "trouble at school, trouble at home" is a terrible policy except in special circumstances.

The problem is, should Sam's dad somehow find out, Sam is likely to be in even worse trouble than he's already in, and I'm liable to not only have interpersonal trouble but legal trouble as well (unless I've got some sort of in loco parentis or power of attorney authority, which isn't specified in the scenario--in that case, I'm just going to sign).

I'm going to talk with Sam, and explain those facts. I'm also going to ask what the school issue is--assuming it's a trivial school matter, as opposed to making terroristic threats or something similar, I'm going to, with Sam's permission, talk to his dad, with him present, and make a plea for reason and leniency.

Adric

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Cowboy
I like Kier and 18Smacked's ideas about me talking to Sam's father.  First I would ask Sam to tell me what he did at school to qualify for a paddling.  Then I would ask him if he would like me to talk to his dad. (He may think his dad would consider that going outside the chain of command and that would make things even worse for Sam.)  Assuming that Sam agrees, I would not suggest that Sam be present because his dad might feel we had ganged up on him and become unyielding.  Finally, I would suggest to his father that he sign the permission for the paddling at school but then wait to hear from Sam what the paddling was like and what he did to deserve it, and to judge for himself whether that was enough punishment.

Given the father's background in the service, I don't hold out much hope for poor Sam, but I would be willing to try to help him as long as I don't make his situation even worse by getting involved.

Oh - and when he asked if I would sign his form, I would have to tell him that the only way I could sign his form would be to sign *my* name, not his fathers, and that would most likely make his situation a lot worse than it already is.



Last edited by Adric on Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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AFinch

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Sherrif
Not everyone in the service is like The Great Santini.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
There seems to be a consensus going with the following points:

1. I truly want to do this for Sam but it could, and probably would, result in serious consequences for Sam and for me. I will explain this to Sam.

2. Double jeopardy rules should not be set in stone.

3. I will offer to talk to Sam's father

I agree with all of these points.

I will support Sam in any way I can but I cannot sign the form.


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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
Signing the form could cause serious issues. Otherwise, I'd sign in a heartbeat. I doubt talking to Sam's father will be helpful. In my experience, few parents are open to any sort of "interference". I might give Sam my quick hints about how to do a successful forgery, disguised enough for plausible deniability. That strikes me as weaseling behavior, though. I think what I'd be most comfortable doing is telephoning the administrator in charge of Sam's punishment and explaining the situation to him or her. The signature is a matter of school policy, which the person might override in Sam's best interests; or perhaps decide to go with an alternative punishment that doesn't require parental notification.

Kat

18Smacked

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Cowboy
In RL I have discussed child-rearing issues, including spankings, in four or five different families. But, in those cases, I pretty much already had at least a bit of an established relationship with the boy and the dad before getting into any of that discussion. It was always a very delicate issue so that I did not alienate my relationship with everyone.

Looking back, however, I typically had a fair amount of success in getting the Dads to carefully consider the pro and cons of the given situation and all possible potential consequences they could levy against the child for the given offense. I admit, it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to be sticking one's nose into these matters, though.

In this scenario, only if I already had at least a bit of a relationship with Sam's dad would I attempt such a conversation. I like the points that Dave makes, and I may try going to school in the morning to try a conversation with the Principal, if that is possible. I may be precluded from doing that, based on "privacy laws."

Just in case that happens, I will do my best to teach Sam how to speak to the Principal himself. Lacking details on the school misbehavior, it's hard to evaluate the success of such a defense, but, it can't hurt. And, I would also possibly give the boy my phone number to call, if the Principal will talk to me. Surely the principal might think twice if he realizes that a neighbor is coming up on the boy's behalf. One hopes so, at least!

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Padraig

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Trailboss
To me the scenario doesn't read as if the boy came to me for help. I just came along and his question was more out of "hope against hope". I can offer my sympathy and support but given the situation I don't think he really wants me to interfere. He has the most experience with his father, after all.

Jack

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Admin
"I wish I could, buddy, but if we got caught, it'd probably be worse for you, and I'd be in trouble, too. Is there something else I can do?"

Sam is 14, and he probably has a pretty solid idea of how to deal with his dad without provoking more trouble.


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squarecutter

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Sherrif
The implication is that this is the first time Sams got in trouble at school. I dont think my signing is a good idea. The school will surely have his Dads signature on file and it would not make fore a good role model for Sam .Im quite prepared if Sam is happy to talk to his Dad when he hands him the note and let him know that I think Sam is a fine helpful boy and doesn't need two whippings to stay in line

Adric

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Cowboy
18Smacked wrote:I will do my best to teach Sam how to speak to the Principal himself. Lacking details on the school misbehavior, it's hard to evaluate the success of such a defense, but, it can't hurt. And, I would also possibly give the boy my phone number to call, if the Principal will talk to me. Surely the principal might think twice if he realizes that a neighbor is coming up on the boy's behalf.

This does sound more promising to me than talking to the father.  If Sam goes to the principal with some serious and sincere pleading and explains that the paddling at school is nothing compared to what he will get at home then the principal might assign an alternate punishment instead that wouldn't involve the father.  I might also think that the principal would take seriously the fact that a neighbor wants to express an opinion on the subject, even if he is not allowed to discuss it with me.

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ivor

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Marshall
Pleased to see this one drew a good response.

I intentionally implied it would be his first school paddling on the basis that there wouldn't then be a copy of his Pa's signature on the 'paddling' file to check against. I also wonder how deeply a school would check a signature on such a form. Never come across such things in the UK so just wondering.

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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
ivor wrote:Pleased to see this one drew a good response.

I intentionally implied it would be his first school paddling on the basis that there wouldn't then be a copy of his Pa's signature on the 'paddling' file to check against. I also wonder how deeply a school would check a signature on such a form. Never come across such things in the UK so just wondering.

In my experience, schools don't do much signature checking unless something arouses suspicion. I forged parents' signatures for a number of friends in middle school without being caught, as I avoided the usual amateur mistakes of tracing or drawing the signatures. I think a forgery on a cp notification is probably pretty safe.

Kat

Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
The whole idea of ‘double jeopardy” I find most abhorrent!  What is actually reduces to is that to get CP in school is bad behavior.  More legalistically, it says that what one authority does is not recognized by another.  

In this case, I would not sign for that is forgery and is likely to lead to bad results in several ways that have already been discussed.

What might be effective to the ex-service guy is to remind him that this was NOT done in the service.  For some offenses one could go for ‘company punishment’ rather than a more formal process, such as a Courts Marshall.  The operative word here is OR.

If the man insists that he is the one to beat his son, then he should not permit the school to do so.

Y.

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