It seemed fitting to re-run this post from 2015 today.
Almost ten years ago I started writing about being a parent of Middle School and High School kids. Now the kids in my life are grown and working, and in Graduate School. They’re adults. It seems so normal and natural – and it is. They’ve done well. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of their father and me. I’m grateful they were able to go to some great public schools with wonderful teachers. I’m grateful for the friends they made.


First posted on February 10, 2015

Yesterday in Sophomore English.

Emily: Excuse me, what are Ack-Ra-Tees?

Teacher: Do you mean atrocities?

You have to remember that Emily was the one who once, when a teacher was lecturing about The Black Plague in the 1300’s, said, “Excuse me, shouldn’t you be saying The African American Plague.”

And yes, the child was sent out of the classroom. Mind you this is a girl dresses like a slut (but never puts out) and gets straight A’s (according to my 15 year old sources.) I’m sure I’ve posted that one before but it is too good to keep stored away.

It has gotten to the point where everyday I ask my teen, “What did Emily say today?” Really, there is enough to fill a book.

Of course just after I tell everyone she loves her teachers I hear how they are making life miserable with lost assignments, late grade postings and dull confusing assignments. Several students are going to talk to the counselor. No, I will not call the school until the child asks me. I am not one of THOSE parents. I care but at this age the teens are old enough to fight their own battles – and I believe they can win some if they go about it right. I’m here to help and advise, not to go up to school and be known forever as “that pain in the ass mom.” Dad is another matter. Heaven help anyone who gets on his bad side or seems unreasonable.

I told Clara to start taking pictures of her assignments on her cell phone. There will be a date stamp and a time – right before class.

Clara told me about one of her best friends, a kid like us, a kid named Zac. He received a message on one of the social networking sites asking “Are you gay. You sure act gay.” I kid you not.

Zac replied saying, “The only reason you sent this was to try to hurt me. I don’t know your motivation but you failed. I’m not going to answer your question or respond to any of your future messages.”

Good for Zac. It made me angry that kids taunted him. It is an ongoing thing at the school. I’ve posted about it before. You’ve seen the posts. If not I’m going to create a page soon on school posts and you can look them up there.

I recently answered survey questions from the principal of the high school about behavior. There was an open box. I told her all about the sexual harassment. I told her about kids being rude to teachers because of their religion. I told her how bad the behavior can get. I mean, this is high school so behavior is bound to be bad, but within limits, within reason. Yes, you can have reason in high school. Delusional as I am, I do believe that.

Calling kids out because of religion or perceived religious beliefs. Race and religion. General rudeness. Kids making fun of teachers.

This week Clara talked about Jewish kids being the target of nasty remarks. I never understood people persecuting Jews. Tonight Clara was researching it in school and she was surprised how far back it went. WTF? It doesn’t make sense.

Then there are the kids who continue to rag on Mormons all day. Why does that even matter? They make up about a quarter of the schools population. I swear they do. So get over it kids. They’re nice people. You don’t have to join their church and you don’t have to be rude to them either. You don’t need to be rude to anyone who isn’t like you. You know what teens, you will change. Your views will change, especially your views on religion and race and social class and just about everything else. So get over it now. Life will be easier if you do.

On a good note… when I picked Clara up the other day I saw a couple of fashionable teen girls with pretty long hair getting into what I assumed was the family SUV (I’m the only parent at the school who does not drive a mini van or an SUV.) One of the girls has Downs Syndrome. I told my daughter that not so long ago girls like her wouldn’t go to school. They wouldn’t have pretty clothing or pretty hair. They wouldn’t be treated like “normal” kids. They wouldn’t have gone out in public because other people would have said it was shameful. Shameful why? I never got that one.

For all the shit I gripe about there is a lot of good going on with those kids in that school. The Homecoming King was in a wheel chair. Not because he was in a chair but because he was a great kid with a strong will and a “screw adversity” attitude. The school is full of great kids.

Unfortunately there are a lot of jerks, just like in the grown up world.

I asked Garrett (my son who is a freshman in college this year) about it. He said that in college he sees it with sex and relationships. Girls get called sluts for putting out. They get called sluts for not putting out. Boys get labeled as being so dull they might as well be dead because they’re not out banging every girl on campus. Nothing new there. You can make someone a friend with benefits but make it clear you’ll never fall in love with them because of their race, religion, social standing or GPA. Then you string your FWB on forever. But THEN you get all butt hurt because the FWB becomes involved with somebody else. I almost told him that it sounded like his Uncle Max (one of my 4 brothers) but I kept quiet.

In college people tend to keep ugly racial and cultural comments to themselves, or at least Garrett hasn’t heard much. He said he heard all sorts of crap in high school but he brushed it off. His sister, on the other hand, seems to be hearing a lot more of it. Her high school circle isn’t so exclusive (small) as his was.

So now what? Maybe schools should hold the same standards as the workplace. Better yet, maybe parents should talk to their kids about these issues. Maybe parents should raise their sons to be more like Zac. Maybe they should raise their daughters to be more like Zac. Maybe they should put talking with their teens as a number one priority. Not just talking but listening and discussing everything that goes on in their child’s life. Not be shy. Don’t try to protect them. Don’t keep them in a bubble. Adulthood is almost here. They need to be informed and ready. They need to be morally strong. That is where being a parent comes in – so do your job. Be a strong parent.

So why do I even send my kids to school? You know the Vampire/paranormal thing and all. Because we live in a diverse world. We all need to hear the opinions of others. We all need to learn new views. Our kids need to learn things that we don’t know. Our kids need to learn how to deal with difficult people. They need to make life long friends. They need to laugh with those friends. They need to compare notes, solve problems and learn … they need to learn everything they can.

We can’t let our children become backwards and isolated like shadow creepers or end up like Vlad – heartless in a world that needs love (wow I out did myself on that one.)

So we’ll talk more tomorrow, my kids and me. We’ll always talk.

In the meantime, talk to your kids. Listen and learn and teach.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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