Heebie's take: Eeek.
I just ordered a new phone. It was very expensive and I'm having heartburn from the price. But I usually keep my phones for 3-4 years, and any way I look at it, this was the only phone that checked all my boxes. (Apple, dual camera or better, small, max out memory.)(Also I adore the moody midnight green color I picked.)
What phone do you have and how do you like it?
Also it feels like suddenly a lot of my students prefer to primarily use 8.5x11 tablets with styluses, but maybe that's because they're in a math class. They have these neat apps for marking up PDFS that seem like a space-age theremin: they make these small deft gestures, and documents pull and retreat and are modified like magic.
1) Trump will agree to debates?
I think no.
2) Trump will concede the election?
I'm not sure.
Chill writes: My family is thrown into a crummy situation - my 13 year old son was just expelled by his school. He said something stupid at school in response to a classmate teasing him. She said "you look like a school shooter," and he said "well don't come to school Tuesday, then, I'll shoot it up" or words to that effect. They were both joking, she said so in writing, and another witness said so, but a third student reported it. So after 17 days of suspension they expelled him. The school administrators basically gaslighted us, said there was a process and they would be "with us through the whole process," and at the hearing the administrator as much as said "I know he's a middle schooler, I know 13 year olds say stupid stuff because I deal with them all the time." He and the person hearing the case both seemed to agree it was not that big of a deal and they were just going through the mandated process, said good things about his grades. All smiles and assurances they'd rule quickly. And then the ruling comes down six days later and it's the most extreme possible punishment.
More background: on the day the boy said the words, the police had accompanied the boy and his mother home and searched the house, searched the boy's room and reported back to the school that there are no weapons. We have no firearms, we're against/leery of firearms in the home, and when there was a national school walkout in response to the Parkland shooting our headstrong boy was going to walk out even though they threatened him with suspension if he did. He's not a credible threat, he's a violin-playing smart kid who just said something stupid. None of that matters. They didn't consult any of his teachers (this is the third year he's been in their classes because of the way they organize things, so they know him well).
I told the boy "do you know how dumb that was? Do you know as a white middle-class 13 year old you're like the classic school shooter demographic?!" So stupid.
My wife's friend is a lawyer who has been involved in these kind of hearings with the schools and he says "they decided what they were going to do long before the hearing." He also says that if we appeal, his experience says it will make no difference and he has only ever seen one appeal make a difference. He has stopped taking any cases like that because of the pointlessness. "I have never impressed with the fairness of these school board proceedings and decisions" is an exact quote. He also says that probably the decision came down from the county school system's lawyer, so it's cya all the way. But even so we feel backstabbed by the local school.
So I'm probably wordy and not super coherent, though my hands have stopped shaking enough that I can type without too many typos. We will seek someone with local school system knowledge to figure out what next. We have some information - we can apply after one term for readmission but he would go to "alternative school." Alternative school is where they send problem kids. What we hear is all they do is give them assignments to do on a computer all day with no instruction. I don't know if that's an eventual path back to normalcy and I don't want to even talk to the people at his school. But we're going to find someone who can help us figure out options.
So for now we have to figure out if we're going to homeschool him. Or what.
So...constructive advice on homeschooling or other alternatives? We're in South Carolina and private schools may be very white and very christian, haven't looked into any yet. Hell of a week. I got my first (skin) cancer diagnosis this week. Which seemed so trivial I literally forgot about for 48 hours after the doctor called. And that was before the final ruling arrived.
Heebie's take: First, holy shit. I am so sorry you've been thrown into this nightmare dystopia. The worst parts to me are that:
1. This is fairly capricious - sure, your kid shouldn't have said it, but having a policy where the highest stakes depend on a 13 year old's ability not to make ill-conceived jokes is just creating a context for this situation to predictably play out. The "capricious" part is which 13 year old it happens to.
2. The utter loss of control and due process. This thing happened, and now your life is turned upside down. That is awful.
3. Being stuck with your anger, because god knows that if this were my kid, and the school accepted them back, say, at winter break, I'd probably turn white with anger every time I dropped them off in the morning, and an institution is such a uselessly unsatisfying focus of anger.
4. That this kind of policy is the kind of result you get when there's a national problem (guns) that everyone refuses to deal with. You get cheap-to-implement, CYA solutions, which is exactly what this is. It is very cheap to expel students on a zero-tolerance policy. Even if your kid were a threat, it's pretty unlikely that this would help, (unless the kid's main issues were with that particular school, in which case, sure, case-by-case basis and all that.)
The good part, as I see it, is that your son is in 8th grade and not in high school. (Is this a middle school or jr high?) Soon the slate will be wiped clean, and this will not leave a mark in any real sense on your son. One highly disrupted year, and you guys can put this behind you.
That said, I have no advice for how to navigate this year. I agree that the alternative school would be soul-crushing. For home schooling, I know Asilon homeschooled her kids for years, if she's around. The biggest obstacle for me would be time - unless the parents have flexible schedules, I don't know how you make room for this commitment.
Aside from finding the time, the homeschool routine seems to be to plug into a local community and order materials online. I suspect your homeschool community in SC is like ours here, which I describe as "where the far left and the far right meet each other together, at the point at infinity." Any commenters with advice?
Most private schools here, too, are white and Christian. But occasionally there's a hippie-Montessori-libertarian blend, although those seem more common at the k-6 level.
Oh, I do have a question: Is he expelled from the entire school district, or just from this one middle school? is there a second middle school that he could enroll in, and just not be eligible for riding the bus? Or: do you guys have charter schools? Maybe there's a charter school that, although they're shitty entities on a macro scale, might be a real relief on the micro scale.
Back in 2007, Fontana Labs posted about the voicemail that Alec Baldwin left on his 11 year old daughter's phone. (It says that there are no comments on that post? But you can access the comment thread here.)
I guess this past weekend, there was a roast for Baldwin, and the daughter Ireland, now 23, did not pull any punches:
"I'm here to talk to you, Dad, finally, without a court-appointed social worker. It's so nice that we can do that."
"He was a great dad. I still remember when he would tuck me in and yell me a bedtime story. My absolute favorite and his favorite, 'The Three Little Thoughtless Pigs.' "
A moment ago, I wrote about this comment about the 2007 thread: "One thing about that thread is that a bunch of us were arguing, but weren't yet parents. It'd be interesting to see how that aged."
Then I went back and looked at who I was arguing with, and it was mostly either people who already had kids or people who still don't have kids. So never mind. I still feel the same way, though, which is that it was unexcusable because there were so many other ways for him to handle his anger in that moment, given that she was not right in front of him and he did not have to pick up the phone, as opposed to just losing your shit in the heat of things pushing you overboard and not having the presence of mind to remove yourself from a situation.
I had a bit of a Cars phase when I was 17 or 18. And when I say a "phase", I do not mean an Unfogged-style obsession where I got to know every album and esoteric fact. I mean I had this one greatest hits CD and I found it very comforting to listen to that CD, and only that CD, for months on end, and pre-internet I really didn't understand how people went about learning anything beyond that. (Even those artists where I collected all their albums and knew all their songs: I never learned anything about the artist.)
Anyway, these were my favorites:
Tonight She Comes
(But mostly Tonight She Comes.)
Anyway, RIP Rik Ocasek. I have a soft spot.
Mossy character sends in The Next Generation of Soldiers: Inside One Recruit's Pursuit of the Forever War.
Heebie's take: It's a profile of one kid, 17 year old Jann Arroyo Morales in Puerto Rico, as he prepares to join the army.
Here's one throwaway paragraph:
In some parts of mainland America, joining the military is frowned upon, even viewed as an option of last resort. In other parts of the mainland, it retains its honor and prestige, for both social and economic reasons. In this room on the base overlooking the Atlantic, the latter dominates. It's a throwback, in its way, summoning a lost Americana.
The first two sentences seem so mild! In some parts of the mainland, the style is to wear an onion on your belt. In other parts, a carrot.
Also, there's a photo of a military recruiter going over proper from for deadlifting with Jann, using a trap bar. AFAIK, they are violating a bunch of things I've been taught, ie that deadlift is a hinge motion and your knees should not come forward in front of your feet like that, and instead your butt should go backward. To be fair, Jann is doing a good job duplicating what the recruiter is demonstrating.