108. RIDICULOUS QUESTIONS TO MICHELLE, RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. IX & ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF JENNY

MEMO TO WILLIE C.: Thanks for the “thumbs up”. Michelle appreciated it. She gets no pleasure out of paddling a student but certainly believes it was merited. Don’t know if Dennis’ rear end was crimson but he probably won’t be harassing anyone for a while! But unbelievably, there are internet idiots out there who sympathize with Dennis and don’t even mention poor Meg!

Dear Readers: Another week gone by and we at TWP have started getting the usual rantings by the antis. After a couple of years,, we can recite  their monotones by heart. What really gets old is the one called “scientific research.” Hey, when the NEW YORK TIMES, a very liberal newspaper, disputes some of the anti’s research -That speaks volumes. But the antis call on US to prove OUR case. That’s not quite the way it works. Rather, the agents of change are the ones who have to make THEIR case. They have NOT. We at TWP are STILL waiting for creditable and independent research showing a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the existence of a school c.p. policy and lower high school graduation rates. So, to the antis, we at TWP once more say, “Bring it on!…Show us your ‘scientific evidence’…But be forewarned -All four contributors of this blog are part-time graduate students who know and understand basic principles of research methodology.”

Giggle. We have fun teasing the antis because we KNOW they can’t possibly meet such a standard. But then again, if the school c.p. “debate” had such standards, the antis would have been discredited decades ago and there would be no need for teacherswhopaddle weblog.

RIDICULOUS QUESTIONS TO MICHELLE

Dear Readers: We at TWP have received a lot of questions from you about Michelle’s paddling of Dennis in last weeks post. We posted some of them below. Of course, we will only consider valid questions -Not name-calling rants. All answers are by Michelle.

Michelle, how can you FORCE a “girl’s clique” to accept someone they wish not to play with? Isn’t that a violation of the constitutional rights of these girls and weren’t you in a exclusive college sorority?

First thing, there IS a school policy in effect that bans OVERT exclusion in all social activities -Including recess play. Understand, I cannot “make” someone “like” someone else but I will NOT tolerate “social exclusion”. One of the reasons for this policy is that children who are excluded socially are more prone to become victims of bullies. As to constitutional rights: Give me a break! Our district’s policy against “social exclusion” is lawful because the courts have repeatedly upheld the school’s right to have conduct policies that are fair and equal for all students. Finally, as to my own college sorority, all women students have the right to join whatever group they wish AND the members of same groups have the right to choose their members. The difference:: In college, everyone is an adult and can choose for themselves who to associate with. But the elementary school is a compulsory environment: Our “kids” cannot just “choose” not to go to school.

How do you know Meg and all of the others weren’t lying, just to get Dennis in trouble?

What motive would they (the girls) have for lying? I questioned each girl SEPARATELY and they each told me the same thing. Whats more -Dennis NEVER denied what the girls said he said to Meg. Finally, Dennis had ALREADY been in trouble for harassing Meg a couple weeks before.

Why didn’t Jenny spot the problem before it escalated for Dennis?

We teachers cannot be everywhere at once. We try but that is mission impossible and is why we all tell our “kids”, if someone does or says something to you that is wrong -Tell us! 99% of the time, we have stopped bullying before it escalated.

Our “kids” really do feel good about school in general -I can see it in their eyes every day. (With the usual groans about homework -Every day!)

All students have “free speech” rights -Including Dennis. Why not let students freely express themselves and just stick to TEACHING?

🙄 Yeah…Sure! I certainly would NOT want my child in your kind of school environment! Children DO have a right to be free from physical, mental and emotional bullying -Like the kind Meg was subjected to. FYI, school districts are being sued for allowing bullying like what Dennis did.

Could the parents charge you (Michelle) with assault and battery? What about a lawsuit for millions of $$$s?

No and No. (That was easy!) Unlike some areas of the U.S. (San Francisco/Bay Area, California, for example), our area allows legal school c.p. to be used if the local school board allows it. Of course, our district has an “opt out” policy with regards to school c.p. although Dennis was not.

ADDENDUM FROM MICHELLE: This past Monday, Jenny and I had a chat with Dennis while our classes were at library/working with computers. I explained in no uncertain terms how I felt about what he had done and why his actions required severe consequences. Dennis seemed to understand why his actions were so deplorable and promised not to harass anyone again. In addition, Dennis did apologize to Meg for what he said -Which she accepted. I did NOT retract is the 10 swat promise if he did harass Meg or anyone else. IMO, if fear of a “double dose” gives Dennis another reason not to bully -That is the ultimate goal.

WORDS FROM Prof. N.: (A school) has to have a clear anti bullying policy. Bullying must clearly be seen not only as an offense, but as a particularly antisocial one, and punished accordingly. Michelle did just that.

The bully wishes to impose (physical and psychological) pain and his/her will in equal measure.

Does this mean paddling equates with bullying, an argument frequently maintained by the antis ‘ bullying begets  bullying ‘, Definitely not at all.. The nature of bullying is to select the student who is weaker or different and use that ‘difference’ to obtain social dominance and take pleasure from others pain. Paddling administered properly and judiciously has none of those characteristics. It does however clearly demonstrate zero tolerance to the school community as a whole of social discrimination …the root of all bullying.

Thanks Prof. N. for your words of support. We at TWP couldn’t have said it better!

Michelle with Renee, Jenny and Wendy.

 

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. IX

Juggling

Betcha thinking this is a long-winded description of my daily routine as a student, band member and sorority pledge -Right?

WRONG!

First, I promised you readers that I would NOT bore you with routine college class and study schedules. Second, since most people are somewhat aware of what colleges do: Formal instruction in a class setting -My goal in this series is to tell of my experiences as a small town girl away from home on a 35,000+ student campus.

And as too the sub-section title? Take it literally!

As I mentioned in a prior post, one of the “projects” required of the Alpha sorority pledge class was to do a community service program. We didn’t need to brainstorm an idea because there were examples of previous classes’ projects. We were told about a Children’s Home for kids whose parents were incarcerated. Alpha’s pledge class years earlier had helped in the fundraising for the group home and had held a pre-halloween carnival every year for at least two decades.

A carnival sounded like fun for both kids and us. And the proceeds would all go to upgrade some of the facilities (Like out-door basketball court). The interesting part was deciding who got to do what: Haunted Room, Magic Shows or Games for Prizes. (And NO -I was NOT in a “Dunk the red-haired college coed in the water tank” contest -It was too chilly outside that year!) While we agreed to switch around, I was nominated to be a CLOWN! Reckon my red hair sealed the deal on that. The clown was to do balloons, card tricks and juggling. I was more unsure about the juggling trick I needed to learn though. Thankfully, I only had to juggle three balls -As an amateur clown. (Whew!)

But those kids could be a tough audience. I like to think of myself as a “natural juggler” but that is as in “schedule” -Not literally! I can still remember one kid remarking “Last year’s clown could do 5 balls…” Sheesh! I did ask a giggling Susan about that but she denied any knowledge.

I took a break in the haunted room and hid under a table to grab ankles of patrons as they walked in the darkened room. One kid kicked the s*** out of me too! After that, I was ready to play clown for the rest of the day!

The fundraiser project was a success and we met our $$$ goals. It was a long and tiring 8 hours but a good “tired”. I slept very well that night.

Chapter House Project

In some of the parties which our pledge class hosted and collected “cover charges” for, the money went towards a home improvement project. Our class chose to upgrade the sound and strobe light system in Alpha’s basement party room and bar. (This area of the house was actually adjacent to the “secret sanctuary” which had its own stairway but we pledges did not figure that out until our initiation.) This “open area” of the sorority house was where we girls would have many hours of clean wholesome fun with our guest guys during our college years.

Another reason wall-flowers or prima-donnas make lousy pledges: You have to be self sufficient. Our class planned, bought materials/supplies and purchased new stereo equipment -And then installed EVERYTHING! This was an all-girl project that took an entire Saturday afternoon. And everyone was able to work together on various jobs with no help from the sisters -Much less guys. After the last coat of new paint was applied where we rebuilt an interior wall, we all took a long snooze. When we were sure the paint was dry (Thanks to a few electric fans) we invited the Alpha sisters and lots of guys to party the night away.

Our chapter house project as well as our community fundraiser was graded “excellent” by the sisters.

The Unforgettable Week

Well…All’s well that ends well. For about 40 of us that stayed in the pledge program out of 60+ that is.

In other words, all the Fall semester pledges of Alpha sorority who entered final exams week in early December 1997 made grade with one of the highest grade point averages of any pledge class at University of Georgia. Right after we submitted copies of our grade transcripts to the Scholastic Chairwoman  of the chapter (With  ss# marked out, of course), the sisters had a last meeting before closing the house for Christmas break. All of us were voted “in” and would be officially initiated in January of the new year. As in the evening of our pledge ceremony several months earlier, we waited outside the back covered porch for the words “You’re all in!” It was a foregone conclusion, of course and all that was left was for the Pledge Master to send our names in to the sorority national headquarters with our one-time initiation fees. That would be after the first of January but we pledges all had a real sense of having crossed a threshold.

I spent the Christmas break back home where my big brothers all took the opportunity to reacquaint me to my “pecking order” as the “baby of the family”. Mom and dad were proudest of my g.p.a. and freshman honor society membership. But of course, the morning after getting home, I found a “chore list” taped o my bedroom door. Aaaahh…nothing quite like coming home from college on a holiday break. Family never wants you to get bored!

The new year (And Football Bowl game with the Marching Band) came and went fairly fast along with class registration and another two week Sorority Rush period in which a new pledge class was installed. During this time, the chapter sent the Fall semester pledges’ names to our national office with initiation fees -But I recall one girl FORGOT about her fee. But she got it in and we all then prepared for what some refer to as “Hell Week”.

Our sorority called it something more meaningful but for this blog, I will just call it “The Unforgettable Week”. The house was totally closed off to all but the sisters and we pledges to be initiated in a 100+ year old Ritual in which some words have never been written down but passed by way of spoken word in the ritual itself. We pledges were instructed to pack enough clothes and supplies to last seven days AND  to come to the house late one Sunday night. Once there, we were all ushered to the attic of the house which we had not seen before. Up there was two rows of bunk beds about 40 total.

Talk about roughing it up: We hung up our clothes the best we could but even the warmest blankets and comforters helped just a little with the freezing cold. Folks, there was NO insulation in the roofing -It was all in the flooring beneath our feet. But you DO warm up when under the blankets eventually. However, in the morning, there was NO need for caffeine because the a.m. chill woke you up FAST!

If that attic could talk, it would have told a lot of stories. We found a wall up there covered in graffiti, some of it dating to the 1920s! Examples we found that I recall: “Get me outta here -They locked us up here!” (1960s), “The war will be over before we finish up here!” (Early 1940s) and the funniest “Alright, WHO spiked the housemother’s punch? We are ALL going to be blamed for it!” (Early 1920s)

I can say this: We were never locked up there but could have been if the sisters chose to because the stairway to the attic was a “pull-down” type. As to what happened that next weekend, only my sisters and I know. What I saw and heard connected me in a spiritual sense with all those who came before me going all the way back to that small group of idealistic young women in the late 19th century who all Alphas worldwide refer to as our founding foremothers.

 

ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF JENNY

Hello Dear Readers: This segment deals with the athletic exploits of a tall lanky brunette who “found herself” by playing basketball as a girl in a REALLY small town in south Alabama. To this day, I am a believer in sports and fitness because of what it did for me. Before my older brother got me started in backyard driveway basketball with a single goal rim attached to the barn, I was an ackward shy pre-teen girl who was the tallest student in her class.

All that changed when I made the middle school basketball team. Nothing like organized sports of some kind to give a boost in self-confidence. But if you think girl’s basketball is a “powder-puff” sport -Think again!

It was my job to play Center “in the paint” -Which means under the rim for lay-ups or rebounds. Sounds simple, right? Well, only if you consider sharp elbows, sometimes to the face OR hitting the hardwood floors face-down as “simple”. And as mentioned by the other contributors, girls can be ever bit as rough with each other as guys are in their sports.

The roughest game I ever played was in high school against a team with an All-State center who was a major college prospect. Shaking my hand before tip-off, this really big black girl smiled as she towered OVER ME with a look in her eyes “You are out of your league!” Well, I’m not one to ever back down from a challenge but this girl showed that her All-State status was no fluke!

I’m usually the one who GIVES the elbows in lay-ups and rebounds -But not against her! I’d never seen such a big and tall girl move so fast before. And she ran around, through and OVER me that night. Rough? Better believe it! Both my elbows were bruised and my backside (and a few other places) were banged up as well as I got very acquainted with that school’s gym hardwood floor.

After one rough spill on the floor in which I was assessed a foul -I started to complain to the referee. My coach then benched me saying, “I expect you to PLAY -Not whine!…Let me argue the referee’s judgment.” Our coach was right of course and he later sent me back in but to no avail. That bigger taller and better black girl had what seemed like a career night for her and a bummer for me as my points per game was cut by more than half.

But she had good sportsmanship after the final buzzer and, shaking my hands again, told me, “Just another night for me…You did as good as everyone else I’ve played against…What I did tonight, I do to everybody!”

That’s a good reason as any to be a two-time All-State girls basketball player. She did go to a major college basketball program but it wasn’t Auburn, where I went.

At Auburn University, I put my basketball days in my “rear view mirror” as I moved on with life as a college student. I was “tall” and “athletic” but college sports in general at the level of the SouthEastern Conference is way over my head! But basketball was not completely over. As a sister of the Delta sorority in my 2nd year at Auburn, I found myself back on the basketball court in intramural competition with other sororities.

As readers may recall from RECOLLECTIONS OF JENNY, I did meet a certain Wendy during sorority rush. At that time, I was the Rush Chairwoman of Delta and Wendy was considered a “hot prospect” by us and other sororities. Wendy was a short but athletic blond who I felt would fit Delta well. However, as readers know, -Despite my best efforts, Wendy joined the Sigmas a few houses down the street. I wasn’t too disappointed because we Deltas still had a good pledge class and “you can’t win ’em all!”

Being a large campus, you tend to just keep track of your own social orbit. But in my senior year, the Deltas lined up to play the Sigmas AND WENDY. That was not significant to me at the time -I did know some of the Sigmas- but in the game I did have a “collision” of sorts with future TWP contributor Wendy. As always, I played with gusto and everyone else did as well. What I remember about the “collision” was that I intercepted a half-court pass and Wendy raced ahead of me to prevent an easy lay-up. I was already in the process of a lay-up when “Crash” happened and I basically “ran over” Wendy! Wendy was o.k. but assessed a foul for “blocking” -And the ball did go through the rim for 2 points. I also got to make a free throw for a total of 3 points at Wendy’s expense.

I would forget about all that until Wendy was hired on as a 5th grade teacher at the elementary school where we taught together until her maternity leave in late 2008. Wendy now teaches at the elementary school closer to where she lives and her little boy Patrick’s day-care is. We, as loyal Auburn alum, do keep up on weekends and STILL tease each other about who was better in Basketball.

GO AUBURN TIGERS -BEAT BAMA!

 

COMING NEXT: ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF RENEE,

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. X

&

TBD

 

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