Amidst positive things getting children in the swing of back to school, morning show life- hack tricks to make this time of year less of an odious grind, including one first year, creative teacher who used music welcoming his students to 4th grade, a middle school set of teachers who walked students home, one school who began their first day with an assembly, there’s no surprise it can’t all be good. But what’s making headlines isn’t bus driver strikes, no drivers to transport kids, manic, or even drunk bus drivers, children unsafe, sent to the wrong school, enrollment foul-ups, overheated buildings and broken air conditioning, excessive heat and no installed air conditioning, teacher strikes, no available teachers to instruct students. We’re almost longing for strange days signified by a teacher who showed up for first day classes, her first day teaching with no pants and drunk, because at least we know what to do with that, what to think about that. Instead it’s the standard go to these days clothes, school dress codes and general polices on everything under the sun putting small area, key city schools on our national radar, garnering national attention for becoming more fascist and Nazi-like every year to some; to older, more traditional minds rolling their eyes bemoaning they had to add yet one more item to a banned clothing list, school administrators had to hammer out yet another policy on issue X because parents can’t employ common sense, if it’s not written down as a firm no, parents think anything goes. School in all facets fast becoming a topic tradition of mine, every graduation season inspires vivid commentary on anything but inspirational speeches to combat further coddling, cloistering of young people about to be smacked by the real world where you don’t get a trophy for everything, you don’t get points for just showing up. Alongside graduation nightmares spawned from clothing that shouldn’t be objectionable suddenly being put on a no, no list, parents showing up in the exact same attire as clever, justifiable revenge; dress code parameters for select, specific occasions that might as well have been written by their parent’s grandmothers mentioning sausage rolls to describe body fat, telling young women to keep the girls covered and you can’t put 10 pounds of mud in a 5 pound sack purportedly trying to speak their language to convey what is appropriate and what’s not. All because they feared stage placement would have people looking up girls’ short skirts, but the self-described ‘impressionable’ girl (18 and now an adult) speaking up is over sensitive and completely unprepared for real life; while her school, who should be leading by example, shows no class and gets away with it. Eagle feathers and other cultural, religious symbols banned from graduation tassels, gowns of individual students, one school barring their valedictorian from speaking due to his goatee facial hair; ironic we want boys to grow up to be men, men to act like men and emasculate them at the same time. Graduation ceremonies marred by racial slurs, overtones, one school outing their valedictorian to his father when he dared include that in the last seconds of his speech he was then banned from giving because it mentions him being gay. Speaking of parents, coveted parent involvement, a school superintendent who threated to have arrested excited parents cheering their child walking across that stage; desired charge: disturbing the peace. Others locked out of an overfilled auditorium due to ticket mix-ups; a 5th grader in a wheelchair forgotten at her elementary school graduation, no handicap accessibility provided, even leaving her name off the list of graduates. Likewise I have joined a chorus of fed up Americans, parents and non-parents equally, tired of schools shaming girls for simply buying their clothes off available racks at Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, JC Penny in appropriate size and age groupings, leaving it to parents to draft petitions about where is the fabric in girls’ clothing, clearly showing how much there is to boy’s clothes. Never adding their voices to said petitions just chastising parents for letting their child wear ‘booty’ shorts, more proper name daisy dukes, a bikini top to school (oh the horror in no air conditioning schools where you go outside to adjacent buildings for art, music confronted with hot, humid air). Not to mention creepy lengths schools will go to, to enforce their clothing policies: coercing a 5 year old into changing her floor length sun dress because spaghetti straps are against ‘the rules,’ using her eagerness to please against her, making her go around in jeans and long sleeves all day in Texas heat; then instead of telling her father why she can’t wear it again, leaving her to explain that to him, plainly applying something meant for older, more physically developed girls to a 5 year old anatomically above the waist no different than a boy. Worse the electronic jumping up and down on he got for flouting simple rules and thinking his kid is special, rules don’t apply to her, people who characterized his freelance blog response to her treatment, handling of situations school officials manufactured as a tantrum; when in truth he just forgot, read school handbook materials, signed it per their requested instructions, noted things that didn’t apply by virtue of her being 5 and forgot about what should have been inconsequential: spaghetti straps are against the rules even for 5 year olds. Stopping girls in hallways, telling them to grab their crotches in full view of other boys and girls going/walking to and from class, lunch, measuring shorts/skirt length ensuring code compliance; underscoring subliminal messages given males, boys who will become men, any girl who dresses an adult’s view of immodest, inappropriate deserves whatever she gets from harassing comments, to groping, to sexual assault, rape. One parent commenting on a similar story purposefully bought her daughters tank tops at requested strap width, proved accusing teacher wrong, daughter still punished; news watchers remember the Utah school who edited yearbook photos without student/parent consent or notification based on moral compunctions of perv-y, white, religious minded men, blue haired old ladies and clique ridden year book staff despite a parent who took 2 students to orientation/registration and didn’t see any supposed sign announcing no sleeveless tops, visible bra straps, school reserved right to edit inappropriate pictures. Utterly stupid in summer where sun dresses, sleeveless shirts are worn for comfort in hot weather and bra straps, by the laws of physics, can be seen wearing a standard t-shirt, never mind U-neck popular women’s shirt styles (see screen shots) you can’t escape buying today. Reinforcing ideas, boys soon to be men, aren’t to control themselves, women are to cover up; girls, women are sex objects even in middle and high school, don’t want sex, propositions for sex, flirting, comment, cover up. You know your decision was bad when Fox News, conservative news of America outlet, anchors can’t believe these are the photos being edited. Pointing to something else, arbitrary enforcement students testifying they’d worn their questionable, sent home worthy outfits on multiple separate occasions no problem; girl who described the crotch grabbing scene and whose mother wore her scandalous dress to graduation was confronted 2 hours left in her final school day then threatened with a detention for leaving school to change, as a senior matriculating out. Students in Utah wearing almost identical outfits didn’t get edited; posing serious questions about who is actually sexualizing our kids, movies, music, television, social media pressures, fellow students, store clothing lines. Or adults who insist on beating their children for being a THOT (that hoe over there) like you should ever refer to your own child in such a way, on Facebook, people who look at a person’s outfit and designate them slutty, uncouth, unworthy of respect because of their clothing; boys, young men who do agree with mantras girls, women who don’t want sexual attention, want to be viewed in a better light should cover up. Are they getting it from seeing what girls, their fellow classmates are wearing, behavior they are exhibiting or from cultural white noise, their parents, what male relatives are feeding them about a woman’s responsibility? And when that wasn’t enough a Florida school decided to ‘tackle the problem at its source,’ PARENTS; tired of off color t-shirts, baggy jeans, pajamas and short shorts debating instituting a dress code for parents attending school functions, parent teacher conferences, even dropping off and picking up students. Which went over like the lead balloon everyone expected it to, commenters highlighting being an adult means on their own time they are free to wear what they like, I myself noting Florida’s climate, jobs necessitating beachwear, shorts as a uniform in tourist areas, others calling hypocrisy about the number of men frequenting the local Hooters who like women wearing that; fact: working at Hooters does not include stripping, prostitution and allows a female parent to support her child/children.
So it’s no surprise dress codes made news again this year at the start of classes or that, as Yahoo’s article below states, dress codes right out of the 1950’s are popular with administrators and terms they use to define appropriate and inappropriate; latest round’s racial targeting found in banned hairstyles, items and ‘fashion trends’ lost on all of no one. Out, corn rolls (again you know persons writing this are out of touch when they don’t know it’s corn ROWS) twists, dreads, Mohawks, fro-hawks, ‘afros’ must be no longer than 2 inches, no jewelry to be worn in your hair, prompting one mother to call out their blatant racism, banning things unequivocally worn by mostly black students, eventually resulting in a slight change of policy eliminating statutes on aforementioned styles. Nor is it close to the first time said policies have come down on racial, ethnic minorities or become absolutely unenforceable. Exhibit A-Native American boy robbed of his first day of kindergarten due to his long hair, his heritage that forbids cutting hair beyond minor trimming; him turned away that day despite his mother preregistering him, them obviously having seen his hair. His mother forced to contact local Indian authority and prove he was at least one half Native American before he could attend school hair intact. Exhibit B-7 year old made to cry when told her dreads, tied back in a pink bow, were unacceptable for school, deemed unpresentable, deeply offending her barber father who told news reporters he takes pride in his children looking nice; expediently enrolling her in another school who could care less about her hair. Second only to the girl facing expulsion for her distinctive style poof-y hair, told this when she reported bullying due to her hair. Ending on Exhibit C under one high school’s new dress code sending a young man home for the green polo logo on his polo shirt saying shirts must be design free, logo must be black, white or gray; parent denoting hardship of buying yet more shirts, unable to find starkly plain ones. And then there’s the second Yahoo link complete with blow up screen shot below depicting posters informing Illinois middle school students of their dress code; Yahoo author commenting on their 1950’s language and attitudes. Lady-like and school appropriate on 2 headless women wearing nearly the same thing but the ‘revealing’ ‘distracting’ ‘dress code violation’ one was deemed so apparently because said girl chose to wear a see-through shirt over a thicker solid color one revealing nothing, or was it that her shirt wasn’t oversized enough to cover formfitting, ‘revealing’ parts of her leggings; you can’t tell truthfully. Beth Greenfield far from alone in her assessment decrying this throwback flyer and dress code, “Wow, Freeburg’s been invaded by Maoists,” noted one…while another posted the image of a flyer which read, in part, “I am a 15-year-old girl. If you are sexualizing me, YOU are the problem.” 15-year-old spot on, both Greenfield and cited psychologist questioning why; “all the women are drawn “with cleavage,” and “voluptuous,” when the flyer is meant to target middle-schoolers. “Even the way they depict women’s bodies is sexist.” Others penning sarcasm to make their point; “Who in their right mind would aspire to have schools as they were in the 1950’s? When the quality of education/teachers were better….students were held strictly accountable for their behavior……parents cared about how their children performed academically and behaviorally……….and reading, writing, and arithmetic took priority over social indoctrination, and political correctness…..classroom size didn’t matter, and teachers knew how to control their classes.” None of which has anything to do with the topic, over the top dress codes, and what is more 1950’s than parts left in the natural hair issue school’s dress code stipulating no 2 toned hair, males may not dye their hair and it must be no longer than their collar, bangs no lower than top of eyebrows. Butler school in Kentucky, check the calendar it’s 2016. But by all means yes we should come back around to Clint Eastwood’s way of thinking where we’re a pussy generation, pansy ass culture to have stopped using the N word, negro and oriental, Downs Syndrome as opposed to the archaic Mongolian idiot common until the 1970’s, for teaching students to their full potential instead of resorting to dunce caps and shoving them in corners, that also too a part of the beloved 1950’s. For using sophistication of political discourse, basic decency in how we talk about people of varying races, ethnicities, physically disabled, developmentally delayed, having specific, diseases, disorders, we’re weak, we’ve lost something more than hate; what we really want to know is where was Clint Eastwood talking about this, talking about educating a child’s mind is more important than what is or isn’t on their body? Rather than defending Donald Trump, arguments he isn’t racist based on ‘the stupid thing he said’ about the judge presiding over his Trump University trial, bemoaning mentioned sophistication he names stupid political correctness, where was he calling out old fuddy-duddies about dress codes in public schools; where was he calling out the ridiculousness of polo shirts and leggings on a sweet middle school girl getting them thrown out of class? And reading writing and arithmetic aren’t being superseded by social indoctrination, political correctness, expensive fashion shows by kids trying to impress, but by dress codes and their humiliating enforcements absorbing critical instruction time; another huge chuck of why test scores suck, kids can’t read, diagram sentences, never mind they don’t teach the latter anymore. Compounding ongoing social problems is why these things have slowly come into being; it’s not more and more provocative clothing, students starting lice epidemics with unkempt hair (this is a persistent unproven urban legend), students who’ve hidden weapons, sharpened pencils used to stab someone in their ethic hair (another staunchly urban legend), but because it could be a distraction; students pointedly calling the code more of a distraction than any clothing. Ending in something else that psychologist brought home to readers “It’s very sexist, and reinforces body shame and self-consciousness,” comments echoed by girls North America wide, happening in Canada too, staging protests; adults learning just how much history they’ve managed to absorb despite crappy systems, subpar test scores giving crash courses in civil disobedience, peaceful assembly all around. One student’s slutty Wednesday titled protest wholly appropriate in wording, above adult objection, when that’s what people are going to think about them sans actions, behavior backing it up, adding insult to injury coming from teachers, administrators who know these students, know that’s not in their thinking; comfort and weather being top reasons. Also to be done away with comments such as, “It’s school think of it like work. You don’t show up showing off your belly button. I don’t see a problem with public schools even having dress code like private schools. It makes it harder to kids to skip school or get into trouble because everyone will know there school. They can dress an express themselves on their own time, [Sic]” or, “They don’t allow dreadlocks in the U.S. military either. It’s not discrimination, it’s just the rules. Everyone has to follow the same rules. Tough cookies, kid.” Except they aren’t on a job yet, it is their own time in as far as their own body is concerned and we aren’t training people to be little more than military drones; if Sikhs can wear turbans why not dreads? Further, if not now in high school, middle school when are they supposed to be able to dye their hair, have fun with clothing before going to work; dying their hair, trying different fashion styles much less dangerous experimentation than drugs, experimentation part of finding who they are? And please stop trying to sell us, parents or students, on concepts you are preparing us, them for the real world, teaching them how to dress appropriately. When a guy can get fired for the sports tie he wore to his car dealership job and a young employee was sent home for wearing clothing bought in the stores career and work section, a dental student was told rolling down the top of her scrub pants was scandalous, next told by an employer to ditch her scrubs for more ‘grown up’ attire, then lastly told the colors she chose were too bold before buying lots of black and gray losing a part of herself for a job with a uniform!; the only thing you are preparing them for is to carry on putting up with arbitrary ‘standards’ in the workplace. ‘Standards’ millennials have soundly rejected insisting they be rightly judged for their work product not wardrobe, workplaces that have, by and large, relaxed their dress codes to attract, accommodate millennial workers; millennials that attached to their style starting their own companies, working at establishments where their style choice blends in as opposed to stands out. When a lawyer can be barred from seeing her client, 2 days before trial because her dress is 2 inches too short upon sitting and the bar association just banned sexist comments in courtrooms nationwide, when standing out at work can boost your career, or when BuzzFeedYellow tries to dress for a week according to school dress codes across the country and can’t decipher vague meanings, is barred from wearing things she has worn to job interviews that weren’t outrageous, too sexy, too slovenly. Canadian women in at least one restaurant required to wear heels even while one woman’s toenail fell off and her feet were bleeding, apparently not enough of a medical restriction. Funny businesses in Korea have adopted a summer business dress code for the weather; but America, the place of freedom, can’t figure out overheated students don’t learn as well. Students won the right to wear casual clothing to public schools around 1965, 70, perhaps a few hold outs until 1980. Ironically mimicking when women won the rights to use birth control, Roe V. Wade legalized abortion; no small coincidence who has revived both fights, to remarkably failing results. Dress codes should be: are they wearing clothes, then they can come to class; students looking to protest should merely come to school in their underwear, socks, shoes, bras for girls alerting these tightwads nationwide their attire will change when dress codes are amended to the above sentence period.
Pledge of allegiance back in the news this year too for variations on redundant, reoccurring ‘reasons,’ who could forget continuing fights against wording “under god;” a school promoting ‘horrible’ diversity whose students and parents freaked out when asked to recite the pledge in Arabic, including one nation under Allah, the Arabic word for god. Even when it was revealed changes were for national foreign language week asking students to recite the pledge in the native language of their ethnic heritage; Arabic first because the girl who was supposed to do it in Spanish got nervous about using school PA systems. How about CBS’ rejection of a car ad featuring a sweet little girl reciting the pledge, domino effect uproar that caused, because CBS dared to leave something that didn’t work for them, local rodeo, local insurance company or no, on the cutting, editing room floor dared to once, just once rise above drama and dross, have people focused on their product, new, returning favorite TV shows not off camera chaos and conflict. Pulling us up to current fracas around our pledge, predictable Fox News showcasing a letter from one school sent home with students allowing them to opt out of the pledge and one corresponding parent’s asinine response, ‘this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read and I’m so ashamed of this;’ panel going on to detail proclaimed ridiculousness of an opt out form despite their own references to a 1943 ruling by the United States Supreme Court saying firstly, the fixed star in our constitutional constellation was you could not force people to confess their faith in orthodoxy, policy, nationalism exc. Translation they possess 1- constitutional, confirmed by Supreme Court, choice to not stand, not recite the pledge, no official, independent rank, high, low can compel them to; further, there must be written notification of the opt out option finally signed by parent or guardian. So represented Florida school, recognizing turmoil about the pledge, probably at stated request of a parent, whole groups of them, followed Supreme Court guidelines in offering an alternative; if you, your family and your child don’t want to use it, choose not to use it so be it, but it’s there for those who do want it. Quoting video captured Fox News host, apparently we do need a law, to be reminded of that 1943 one on the books, seeing reactions given by school officials; both parent and Fox News appearing totally clueless and tone deaf to just how contentious, how indeed politicized the pledge of allegiance has become in recent years, even recent decades, recurring arguments over the pledge in schools, the terminology under god, should citizens of this country be allowed to abstain, opt out of participating in the pledge willing to completely disregard 1943’s highest court decision. No panel members understanding how serious an issue it has become for students, less centered on bullying by their peers manifesting in prolonged, lasting injury and more dangerous bullying by adult, school authority they have little recourse to fight back against. When a teacher can demand you stand during the pledge or be suspended for 2 days, receive 2 more days suspension for every day you don’t stand, chiefly because you defied what she believed to be her authority, weren’t falling in line with whole class, whole school group-think, oblivious to how her actions looked compared to dictator countries Saudi Arabia and North Korea quoting the Secular Talk radio host describing what happened to a high school young man in Texas. When a school nurse can say to an 8th grade student you refused to stand during the pledge of allegiance, I refuse to service you; girl in tears, denied first aide, medication access, whatever she came to school nursing staff for, proceedingly barred from calling her parents before receiving a stern lecture. Which is not only a violation of the conditions of her employment failing to do her job, it constitutes a violation of medical ethics stating you treat the patient in front of you, going against probable portions of the Hippocratic oath. Saga exacerbated and elongated when a guidance counselor stepped in, they no better informed about basic constitutionality saying she didn’t have to say the pledge but should stand in the hallway until its completion. David Packman show clarifying she certainly does not have to/need to stand outside; delving deeper into that 1943 case and its ruling, not only can students not be compelled to say and stand during the pledge, there cannot be repercussions visited upon students who don’t, putting both school officials in the extreme wrong. Here is where any forthcoming lawsuits originate when adult, school authority oversteps its bounds; especially in the school nurse case that could have endangered the very health of a student. But we don’t need an opt-out form; clear thing Florida did was put everyone on the same page, everyone on notice of expectations, the law, to avoid what happened at these other schools. Moreover, regardless of how hot a topic immigration is this election cycle, those choosing to forgo the pledge of allegiance are not newly minted immigrants bringing with them ‘anarchist tendencies;’ newly minted immigrants usually ecstatic to say the pledge. Remember Syed Farook was a born American citizen, the failed Times Square bomber was a naturalized citizen, Fort Hood shooter another born American serving in our military, Anwar al-Awlaki was a Yemini-American holding dual citizenship, yet born on U.S. soil, raised an American, how many Americans have tried to get to Syria to join ISIS, attempted attacks here; proving blaming immigrants won’t work. Others, usually young people, when confronted with older generations staring down their nose at them, stand their ground noting they don’t live in communist China where unfailing national loyalty must be demonstrated at all times and on demand, asserting their right not to stand, not to sing, because they do live in a free country and won’t be forced into something a majority calls patriotic to satisfy persons with their noses out of joint over other people’s choices, that ironically do not affect them. Resounding message, we will find deeper, more meaningful ways to express, exhibit our patriotism, national loyalty; contrasting Fox News’ thoughts, students’ patriotism and civic responsibility stronger than ever, that patriotism and civic responsibility exactly why they refuse, because they almost always do it as a form of protest, civil disobedience, attempts, efforts to change things about their country they feel unjust, unfair, incongruent with liberty and justice for all. That high schooler was tired of government taking advantage of them, another boy circa 2009 refused to stand for the pledge until it really was liberty and justice for all, including gay people. Plus how many of us remember the pledge of allegiance boiled down to another thing we did in the morning, something mumbled through out of practice before we were really awake, all meaning lost in routine, how many times we’d done it over the years for no other reason than it’s what you do; personally I remember too how many mornings the pledge was never said less because my teacher had some aversion to it, was making a political statement and more because she forgot, taking role, running a classroom, engaging instruction took a back seat to time consuming gestures for the sake of time consuming gestures. Moving away from school, look closely at video of a man attending some sort of city council meeting, same state as the opt out notice to students and their families, Florida from 2 years earlier where the Winter Garden mayor ordered him to stand during the pledge or leave the room, and when he stood up for his rights, was threatened with removal, potential arrest. Eventually bowing to pressure and exiting, mayor’s actions totally illegal, potency added considering you have an authority figure unabashedly abusing that authority; here is how you browbeat people into doing things by rote, automatically, without thinking, because it’s always been done. At the same time 49ers player Colin Kaepernick drawing ire and headlines for his refusal to stand during national anthem recitation until changes are seen in police brutality, officers stop getting paid leave for killing people. The Whitehouse weighing in disagreeing with his decision, a veteran who lost his legs defending American ideals less offended by his freedom of speech choice not to stand instead by his subsequent comments equating said veteran’s patriotism, pride, respect for his country with a bigot elsewhere, bigots here. But Kaepernick, like those students, like hated, vilified flag burners each told if they don’t like it their best solution is to leave, is doing it unto a purpose, ending police brutality, nothing, slap on the wrist punishments for cops who savagely gun down black and brown persons for traffic violations, suspected petty theft, loose cigarettes. Garnering equal veteran support as opposition, one tweet encompassing it all, “I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song;” sharpening concepts those words mean something apart from hollow tradition, those words weren’t idly chosen because they sounded good, strong, worthy of a country; they were chosen precisely and deliberately for what they mean, principals this country was intended to be founded upon. Why the solution can’t be: don’t like it just leave, not only because that’s not how a free country works, but because at least now people are taking notice, paying attention to both them and their stated cause, the actual betterment of America. Don’t we also find it wrong, shouldn’t there be something terribly wrong with people whose deepest show of patriotism, loyalty, national pride is to sing a song upon demand, recite a pledge? No, not everyone can do what Kaepernick is doing, has the famous face, celebrity clout for it to mean something if they were to do it, but shouldn’t love of country be more than a perfunctory gesture? Again where is Clint Eastwood supporting that, echoing that line I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song instead of, educated guess, siding with people who believe sitting out the pledge of allegiance, national anthem a disrespectful disgrace?
Identical principles hold true about how we discuss certain issues, how we frame certain conversations by the words we use, actively don’t use, enact change to positively alter society’s use of words counter to social order, function, equality; why we stopped using the N word, negro, adopted native American over Indian. Call someone gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender respectively as opposed to queer, fag, homo, transvestite, cross dresser, butch, carpet muncher, promote majoritively accurate sex education and proper names for body parts; encompassing reproductive organs, sexual activities. Why president Obama sought to remove the word retarded replaced with developmentally delayed from government documents; our evolving vernacular depicting what is socially acceptable to talk about, to say, how you say unpleasant, uncomfortable things, better address sensitive issues as much a part of the American fabric, American tradition as apple pie, baseball. Somewhat perplexing then why Fox News, surprise, surprise seems profoundly bewildered by that evolution reflected in a university’s notice to faculty advising them not to use words like crazy, psycho as it is offensive to people dealing with mental health issues, warnings not to out someone’s transgender identity, abstain from asking said persons about their ‘real name’ or surgical status and support students stated gender identities letting them know they should choose bathrooms corresponding with that identity. It seems perfectly normal, on par with other interdepartmental college memos, interesting items like the Mindset List helping faculty relate to students by reminding them there have always been barcodes on items, to them Curt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead, Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty, The paradox “too big to fail” has been, for their generation, what “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents,’ Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf, Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents. Top ones for incoming freshmen slated to graduate in 2020 include, there has always been a digital swap meet called eBay, Grandpa has always been able to reach for the Celebrex, They never heard Harry Caray try to sing during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field, There have always been Cadillac Escalades, but they just don’t seem to be all that into cars, West Nile has always been a virus found in the U.S., Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin, The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
Cloning has always been a mundane laboratory procedure, The United States has always been at war, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired, they have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes, The New York Stock Exchange has never reported its ups and downs in fractions, Airline tickets have always been purchased online, There have always been iMacs on desks, Robots have always been surgical partners in the O.R. Largely gender identity related discussed parameters highlighted by both New Mexico university and Fox News streamed lined with the Supreme Court’s legalizing same sex marriage, countering exposed homophobia behind bathroom bills exploding this summer, that it was an end run around select North Carolina municipalities adding sexual orientation and gender identity to anti- discrimination statutes. Other states following their horrible bathroom bill example, Texas GOP members apoplectic calling it the end of public education when president Obama stepped in saying there will be federal guidelines allowing gender identity bathroom use to students in a place they are mandated to go 5 days a week to receive an education. Their lieutenant governor who can’t handle a tolerant, common sense set of “Transgender Student Guidelines,” fostering a “respectful and trusting” transgender student policy. Except to them, upholders of bathroom freak outs, Fox News, constant disparagers of this generation, our young people it’s representative of the extended coddling college culture of safe spaces, trigger warnings and political correctness gone wild; however, their mocking tone, laughing and segment title to mind your political P&Q’s indicates exactly why such parameters are needed. Forgotten, experts said the same things regarding mental illness in the final Sandy Hook report after Adam Lanza killed 26, most children, openly speaking about stigma surrounding these illnesses, opposed to cancer patients, diabetes sufferers, often preventing people from treatment, medication, causing people to fear both. Society’s use of words like psycho, crazy, cray, cray for persons who may be mentally ill; worse our too casual use of those same words not to indicate medical, mental health diagnoses merely describing those odd, unusual, unique or different, perception mental illness is as contagious as a cold, the flu, when it’s inherently not. Except, beyond safe space, trigger warning, free speech zones that are anything but, being transgender is about waking up one day and deciding your transgender, i.e. female instead of male, so you can use the woman’s bathroom and harass them, hit them up for sex, see partially naked women. Narrowly considered, were their theory correct, transgender males, biologically female could do the same harassing, making feel uncomfortable males hit on, propositioned for sex in Men’s rooms America wide; neither happening to date, if ever. Not about spending a lifetime feeling like you’re in the wrong body, enviously looking at girls wearing dresses, long hair, pretty outfits, feeling in your head, your heart that should be you too, feeling male, wanting to stand up using the bathroom confused as to why you have to sit, why your anatomy doesn’t match your mental image of yourself, terrified about gaining breasts, having a period. Instinctually knowing you don’t have a safe place to go to the bathroom because facilities matching your anatomy feel wrong, yet you’re nervous about those of your gender identity finding out you’re not like they are, harassment you’ve probably been subjected to trying to use either restroom. Marked uptick in said harassment trailing along with bathroom bills also seen this summer including a police officer who assaulted a lesbian for using a women’s bathroom believing her male, a transwoman assaulted by another officer at a large chain grocery store for using the restroom corresponding to her gender identity, a trans-person’s recorded subway tirade by a fellow passenger, but telling New Mexico university students gender identity bathroom use is supported on campus is out of line, unnecessary, too much political correctness. Never intended, implied the notion you cannot ask questions of transgender persons about what it’s like being transgender, about transgender communities forming in society, rather specific no’s on what not to ask without getting to know the person first, the idea you don’t randomly go up to someone you believe to be transgender, who may not be, and bombard them with questions; elaborations probably covered in the sensitivity training class in its entirety, not just the bullet points. Worth questioning though, remembering focused memo, class, training session was for faculty not students, why would you for any reason have occasion to out their transgender status to a class and without their permission, why would you have occasion to question the name they went by, questioning if it was ‘their real name,’ same with surgical status; above statements providing proof said faculty guidelines are unnecessary? Not quite, instead illustrating how profoundly personal these subjects are to trans-persons equivalent to randomly asking straight, heterosexual, gender conforming individuals about their number of sexual partners, sexual activities, desires in bed, being asked to suddenly disclose pregnancy status, marital, relationship status outside a doctors office; things that are private and should remain so unless or until the person chooses to share them and decides with whom to share them. Similarly you have adult conflict resolution, learn to coexist with people who don’t agree with you, ‘who may hurt your feelings’ not by refusing to talk, keeping your mouth shut, but by employing acceptable etiquette around the issue; lessons more for older adults than coddled college students. They had most people up until they also included gender identifiers he, she to be replaced with ‘the person in blue’ until you interject context; we are still feeling out, determining acceptable nomenclature respectfully referring to transgender persons. For crystal clear clarity no one mentioning, even hinting, faculty or student, would be suspended for saying the woman/man in blue, he or she in the red shirt over the person in blue, the person in the red shirt, it was merely a suggestion to better avoid stereotypes and stigmatization that will probably drop off being too vague when identifying someone in a crowd, when we finalize terminology for trans individuals. On a somewhat separate yet related note, as a person who is female and has often been called he from childhood, thanks to my preference for short, easy to manage hair, tom-boyish clothes, who is a biracial African American thought to be native American or Hispanic having to endure a speech teacher contrasting speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy one class period stating at a point, ‘as far as I know there are no African Americans here tonight’— I can attest to the sentiment merits behind what they are trying to do even if it falls flat in practice, people who constantly get asked what nationality, ethnicity they are understand too well also how annoying it is to have someone constantly throw that question to you. Another opinion putting in stark relief what’s missing from a university doing the opposite— abandoning safe spaces, trigger warnings on the accepted assumption it’s coddling— misses colleges should be safe spaces for exchange of ideas, minority, unpopular opinion holders to speak up provided they aren’t advocating discrimination, violence, hatred, that by wholly dismissing safe spaces and glossing over beginning portions of the dean’s own letter “[m]embers of our community are encouraged speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others.” He’s minimizing power in his own words and making it less likely minorities, someone of something other than the standard sexual orientation will contribute in a meaningful way, or “…dismissive about “so-called trigger warnings.’ Hi, trauma is real! And if you want to set an example of empathy, please at least attempt to see the world through the eyes not of some determined-to-be-offended cliché, but also the returning veteran who’s sitting in class. Or the sexual assault survivor. What is missing from his message is an acknowledgment that the school understands the needs and experiences of those students. As a Santa Barbara University student explained to the New York Times last year, ‘We’re not talking about someone turning away from something they don’t want to see. People suddenly feel a very real threat to their safety.’ That’s a distinction worth making.” People even Clint Eastwood should be able to get behind supporting.
Warning offensive content
Just like an Arkansas Catholic school for boys, who teaches the importance of ‘soft failures’ posting a sign on their office door as follows: “If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please TURN AROUND and exit the building,” the sign reads. “Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence,” assumes student’s implied poor problem solving is directly resulting from helicopter parenting, helicopter parenting is the sole and singular reason parents bring items to their kids at school; during this day and age going viral. Ignoring, what, are you going to have school security escort out parents deciding it’s their child and they make the decisions not you, resort to calling police to gain compliance from parents with your new policy, how fast you won’t have a school if you go that route; you’ve forgotten parents who bring their child’s hockey, lacrosse, baseball gear to them after school for practice less because of their irresponsibility and more because you know if you do, it will remain in your child’s possession the entire time, less likely to be stolen, expensive equipment won’t be damaged, mandate replacement jostled repeatedly on the school bus (think hockey sticks). It’s what we say about driving all the time, it’s not you, you have to worry about but everyone else on the road; it’s not your kid you don’t trust, just everyone else maybe not raised with the same values you raised your son, especially if you’ve had problems with theft before, broken sports gear before. Their supposed to be cleverly worded sign assumes the child forgot, not you arranged to bring their science volcano, solar system model, history diorama to school so it wouldn’t be damaged on the school bus either; because after taking your hard earned money to buy the supplies, the multiple tries and several kitchen disasters to get the volcano to work properly, you’ll be damned if it gets destroyed before your child gets their hard earned grade. You want them to share not wear their item for ethnic food day because you didn’t have a travel container suitable for the dish, weren’t buying one solely for an assignment, aren’t willing to throw money spent on specialty food into the trash because your child’s school decided to be trendy all of the sudden. Obviously remarking on an era of ‘bad’ parenting, so called helicopter parents who want to swoop in and fix everything, never let their child fall or fail, protect them from everything brushes off other characteristic ‘bad’ parents, the flake who forgets everything themselves, assumes there’s that word again and what is it they say about making an ass of themselves, the parent showed up to correct, remedy their child’s mistake not their own. Say the child repeatedly asked for their lunch money and you forgot, you were the reason they ran out of the house without their lunch, homework exc., the thing I’m dropping off is the field trip form they gave/explained to me a week ago but I’ve been working late, them in bed when I get home unable to remind me. Surely they have poorer students, families even attending probable tuition based catholic schools, parent working multiple jobs, where they told you they needed index cards for their research paper, would be given points for bringing, showing their teacher the index cards and you only had a chance to buy them, get them on your lunch break, just got paid and told your child you would drop them off before X hour class when required. And it’s not a soft failure for a child to flunk a class, the entire grade for the love of a paper left in their room I can bring them, left precisely because of it being such a huge portion of their grade, anxiety about how much is riding on that one thing, their little brother got ahold of their backpack not because it was left somewhere haphazardly but because they had to watch them while I worked late and do their homework at the same time, their sibling is 2 and doesn’t know any better; it too conveniently precludes identifying/helping students, families experiencing problems, needing help or needing you just to leave them alone, stop lumping them in with today’s cultural stereotypes. Backpack with important project left at grandmas because she’s ill, needs care, doesn’t qualify for a nursing home, we don’t want to put her in a nursing home, stumbling out of there at midnight when we got her to bed, us exhausted; Catholic school being an extension of the Catholic Church committed to representing god, helping others exc. that matters more. Precludes help reaching a child with noted memory issues, who may need to be seen by a neurologist, learning specialist even late diagnosed in high school, high school sometimes in smaller, parochial schools, select areas encompassing what would be middle school grades elsewhere; how well did that hard line work with famed Harry Potter character Neville Longbottom, hint it didn’t. Except similar to the discarded dunce caps, we know better than a fictional wizard school stuck in the 1960’s; at least we’re supposed to, capable of acting like it. Dripping with irony a generation who has spawned hot car death upon hot car death prompting tips for parents about putting a toy on the dash to remind the opposite parent, who doesn’t usually drop the child off at daycare, they are back there, and car makers to create an alert when a child is left in the car dares post a sign like this at a high school. Entire school mindset predicated on an outdated 1950’s model stipulating students have little else to remember apart from school work, a few chores at home and maintaining friendships, when reality indicates their schedules are as full as adults, active in sports, clubs, volunteering, holding down an after school job, maybe all of the above, is a lot to remember done to get into top colleges as much as interests and keeping busy, out of trouble. Dismisses complicated family dynamics and situations they find themselves in; we aren’t so many years out of the recession there aren’t kids suddenly living in a motel, project damaged in a hasty move out of a foreclosure, backpack left because they had to run to school due to a bus mix-up, still unaware of the address change, things the student, parents won’t announce to everyone for the stigma of shame, pride, dignity, belief in god. Nor is this an overwhelming problem for schools even in lager areas across the country because large amounts of parents work, are looking for work if not currently working, plenty still believing in the old school models they were brought up with meaning they won’t be making repeated trips to school with stray items ‘their child should have brought in the first place.’ Neither does it foster the responsibility you’re hoping to cultivate, problem-solving you want to expand; no students won’t problem solve in their parent’s absence they will more than likely just do without. Proclamations doing without is what they did when they were in school, taught me not to forget, sounds too reminiscent of ‘in my day we walked 3 miles to school all uphill’ exaggerations prone to spilling from older people’s mouths trying to demonstrate how much better kids today have it. ‘Having to borrow lunch money from a friend’ assumes once more that student has friends and they have money to loan them for lunch, that student X would call mom or dad instead of going hungry because he didn’t forget, the family is actually struggling and doesn’t have any to spare for his lunch, not much food in the house either, but, “All we’re asking is that kids think a little deeper than calling mom or dad.” Perhaps you should think a little deeper yourself to understand their problem solving is so lack luster thanks to the limited resources, not thought processes, of children vs. adults, problem-solving ‘stops at mom and dad’ because it’s the one consistent resource they have; whereas were they in ‘the real world’ if they forgot a briefing for work, presentation they would likely, maybe only once, be allowed to go get it by their boss, have a vehicle to drive home to retrieve it. Held up against school where they don’t usually have cars, are not allowed to leave school grounds except maybe for lunch—oh. If you were making sure a model of something, unlikely in the days of PowerPoint and adjacent software, not always available in schools or suitable for school project Y, food for an employee Christmas party were to get there intact, edible sans your own vehicle, in a high public transit area, you might take a cab, having the money, at the kind of job it’s likely to be required, commonplace, to take that cab up against being forced to take the school bus or have mom and dad transport items. Going to work daily you probably have money for lunch, if you forgot cash, your wallet, most places take debit cards, worst you’re going to have to do is rummage through your office desk drawer for change to feed the vending machine yet you won’t go hungry versus the high school kid who doesn’t have above choice/alternative. It’s amazing once you start living on your own, with adult roommates even, and when you put things down there in the same spot where you left them; adult roommates, at least in theory, don’t manhandle, break, lose your stuff speeding up the process of you getting out the door in the morning, drastically improving your time management. As does having your own vehicle, living near an efficient public transit system meaning you don’t have to get up hugely early to catch a bus, endure long commutes, making getting out of bed a little easier as an adult than it was for you as a kid, adolescent, teen, also with a fully grown body not a teens, programed not to go to bed before 11:00 pm, having to be in class before 8:00. Mirroring amazement comes, living independently, when you can do mundane chores on your terms not your parents, when you can set your own schedule, answer bodily, mental, emotional needs for rest, relaxation, a few minutes to shake off our day before beginning work at home, things we don’t allow kids to do.
Stanford‘s ban on hard liquor follows typical collage policy mixed messages saying publicly they want more responsible adult students acting their ages as opposed to closer to their shoe sizes while simultaneously assuming the same fragility on both sides alleged discussing the New Mexico university parameters on offensive statements, smacking of mounting hypocrisy they want to change campus party culture, limit risky behavior, preludes to binge drinking by refusing to allow hard liquor, refusing to deal with something; knowing roughly 5 years ago college policies managing drunk students was to call their parents to deal with it. Instead of setting clear guidelines, letting attendees know without a doubt they were adults now, in the real world with real consequences calling police on drunken disorderly persons, demanding payment for vandalized, destroyed property, evicting them from dorms, fraternities, sororities, in plausible response to Brock Turner Stanford’s headline making rape case where the convicted defendant only received 6 months jail time for 3 felonies involving sexually assaulting unconscious women at a party, it’s better to ban hard alcohol. It’s better to ban hard liquors than it is to institute alcohol education realizing k-12 school ended at 18, drinking age is 21 and they’ll reach that on your campus, teach the difference between beer and Smirnoff Vodka, differences in metabolizing alcohol for both genders, differing effects if you eat while drinking versus don’t, dangers of drinking games like beer pong, alcohol poisoning and continually getting drunk, that it means virtually sacrificing brain cells. It’s better to ban hard alcohol than to teach student party goers of both genders, remembering rape isn’t limited to females, heterosexual encounters, party safety lest you be either victim or accused; beyond things like minding your drink for drugs persons might have slipped into it, not succumbing to pressures to drink more than your comfortable with, knowing your own personal alcohol limits, how alcohol affects you. Putting forth drinking till you pass out isn’t normal, acceptable, an ok part of party going, don’t drink until you pass out because it makes you more vulnerable to becoming a victim, makes you unable to remember the next morning what you did the night before, rendering you less able to recount what happened if you are a victim, participate in your own defense if you are the accused. If you are that drunk call a cab, designated driver service certainly don’t drive, but also don’t crawl off to some secluded bedroom in the home of someone you barely know, don’t know at all, surrounded by fellow dunks you barely know, again don’t know at all to sleep it off, sleeping like the dead thanks to your alcohol consumption. This presents ample opportunity for you to be a victim of everything from theft of your wallet, the content s of your pockets, pranks where you end up with a shaved head, startled awake with shaving cream, cream pie contents smeared in your face, vulgar, embarrassing things scrawled on your face, forehead or genitals in permanent Sharpie marker, other things that could lead to lasting injury, but also rape, sexual assault. Psychologically traumatizing enough, add in potential exposure to STD’s, bodily damage from rough sex, non-traditional sex and it’s just not worth it, is it? Yet it’s better to ban hard liquor, wrongly presuming college kids don’t get drunk on beer, wine and wine coolers, mixed drinks made from wine or beer and soda, orange juice, playing drinking games, aforementioned beer pong, than it is to have and open honest conversations about what consent actually looks like, its legal definitions rather than the social gray areas these students, all of America have grown up with. Using headline making examples to say to young men an unconscious girl is not an opportunity for sex, but a person incapable of consent making you a criminal if you move forward, a falling down drunk girl is not a chance to score but a person incapable of consent, if you go ahead you are the perpetrator of sexual assault, it’s not a game of stinky finger, playing doctor or any other benign euphemism to be laughed off as a young man‘s first encounter with the opposite sex, it is sexual assault, even if it isn’t standard, traditional sex, yes this is wrong, yes you can and will go to jail for it. Closely connected, having an open honest conversation about what rape really looks like that it’s more than jumping out of an alley and attacking a girl to quote later convicted Steubenville rapist Ma’lik Richmond, who followed up saying I didn’t do that. That if you’re having sex with a girl who is unconscious it’s rape, of you are having sex with as girl who is drunk, tipsy to falling down drunk, no matter how flirty or willing she seems her inebriation means incapable of consent and you are committing rape. In a relationship, if she says no, it’s rape, no matter how long you’ve been together, on a date, if she says no, at some point says stop and you don’t, it’s rape; this is the law under which you will be prosecuted if you are found to have done any of the above and more things not mentioned. Using your fingers, hands objects not merely your genitals, to sexually interact with someone sans a confirmed yes to what you are doing, plan to do. Returning to Stanford’s alcohol ban, adding to problems swiftly pointed out with their new policy, including students against it who cite people less likely to seek help in an emergency situation (someone showing signs of needing medical attention after binge drinking, suffering possible alcohol poisoning, their stated reason for instituting said ban hoping to curb the practice), a problem anyway as teens don’t call 911 in such situations fearing getting in trouble for drinking under age, being at a party with booze, worried what will happen if their parents find out, if they get kicked out. There is who will be largely responsible for the ban’s enforcement, actually allowing hard liquor in smaller quantities of students 21 and older, RA’s (resident advisors) who are about like that Utah clique ridden year book staff; letting liquor violations pass for liked students, people who can help them with their English papers, pass their business class, not for the unpopular kid(s) in the dorm, frat house, off campus housing, not for the person they don’t like. RA’s probably susceptible to bribes unhappy with their jobs, dissatisfied they feel like they’re managing an overgrown kindergarten, disappointed this is the best job they could get holding a degree; ripe for yet more problems. Sans that the manpower required to manage enforcement means the potential of turning fellow dorm mates, residents hall occupants into constant snitches, getting students disciplined, thrown out for something that wasn’t alcohol someone only thought it was. Policy that doesn’t preclude students going off campus to a place not designated a frat, a sorority, off campus housing getting drunk, binge drinking unto risky behavior, returning to campus to in their compromised state still vandalize property, disturb the peace, get into fights, commit sexual assault, rape. But it’s better to ban alcohol than it is to extend students’ education beyond standard, traditional collegiate learning especially if it will better the world in the process; for that matter anyone else remember when school was about learning and I don’t mean just how arbitrary people in charge, endowed with authority could be?