111. WE WIN!!!, A WAY FORWARD & RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. XII

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WE WIN!!!  WE WIN!!! WE WIN!!!

WE WIN!!! WE WIN!!! WE WIN!!!

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Dear Readers, for those of you in the U.S.A., you can probably guess what TWP is referring to. For our readers abroad, let us at TWP say it LOUD AND CLEAR to the anti- c.p. zealots: WE WON…AND YOU LOST!

Why? The most radical left-wing U.S. Congress in U.S. History will be HISTORY by early next year. The “high water” mark of the antis is PAST -Along with Congresswoman McCarthy’s attempt to pass a national c.p. ban and override locally elected school board policy-making authority. ITS OVER! And if anyone thought it was close: Check out the net change in the U.S. House. Poor ol’ McCarthy was not even able to get members of her OWN party to let her bill out of its subcommittee!

Well, we at TWP work REAL jobs as REAL teachers so there was little celebration at our homes Tuesday night -We had to get up bright and early Wednesday morning for work. But I (Renee) felt good about the election and my morning newspaper confirmed my optimism: America is going back to where it should be -As a center-right nation. But the only celebration the four of us (Jenny, Wendy, Michelle and I) did was to met extra early Wednesday morning at Jenny/Michelle’s Elementary school place of employment for a quick round of high 5s. Then, Wendy and I headed in separate directions to our education jobs as Jenny and Michelle started bus duty.

I do recall hearing Principal Mr. Smith remark, “I reckon you ladies’ ‘team’ won last night, eh?” I have NO idea what his politics are and am NOT asking! (Giggle Giggle)

MEMO TO “Rev.”: Hey -You REALLY sound like you’re losing it! We at TWP wish no harm to ANYONE -We are mothers, sisters and daughters ourselves and have families of our own. IMHO, I (Renee) think you are losing the argument with use of the “over the top” rhetoric. TWP is glad another educator, by your own admission, “called you out”. Any cleaning up of your site will be for the better. We can civilly agree to disagree -But some of your comments do cross the line.

MEMO TO JESTIN: Don’t like my idea to make it a Federal Felony to KNOWINGLY  filing false charges against educators for the purpose of an anti c.p. crusade or $$$ gain? Jestin: Please hear me (Renee) out on this -For the sake of your own future career in the legal profession. Attorneys, by law AND professional ethics, cannot KNOWINGLY take part in the filing of false charges or suborning perjury ANYWHERE in the U.S.! So, rethink your position on this issue. And as for ALL legitimate complaints and/or charges: In no way does my “idea” criminalize that although I DO support “teacher shield laws”. It just isn’t right that a teacher, who follows all policies as to school c.p., should fear imprisonment or losing their home because of a few moderate paddle swats given by them to a student.

Also, we saw your rankings as to graduation rates and “paddling” states. We weren’t surprised at all. But you have two problems:

1) The rankings do NOT show any correlation or cause/effect between the use of school c.p. and graduation rates. My Research Methodology graduate class would have given me a D-  if I had used circumstantial evidence like you proposed. Show us CAUSE AND EFFECT.

2) Your ranking data presents the anti- c.p. movement with a problem: EIGHT of the bottom 20 states in graduation rates are NON-PADDLING states! Suggestion: Find another “angle” to use in arguing against school c.p. -The graduation rate “angle” has serious flaws.

BTW, a newspaper article this past week said that the 2009-2010 Georgia high school graduation rate was 80.8 %. So tell us how California did. Inquiring minds want to know!

MEMO TO JESTIN FROM MICHELLE: Jestin dear, I hear that you are considering attending the University of Alabama’s School of Law. Yippeee! I DO sincerely hope you chose Alabama -not just for the quality of our Law School or the passion of our football- but rather, for the purpose of broadening your perspectives and understandings of other regions of the U.S. I believe doing so will be enlightening. One caution though: While Southerners are willing to hear you out, when they get to know you, they generally despise know-it-all transplants who think they are smarter than everyone else. So, when giving your opinion, just remember: You are NOT in California! Be RESPECTFUL …and listen too!

A WAY FORWARD

Dear Readers: Just like last week’s segment  A PRE ELECTION PRIMER gave the general thoughts of Jenny, Wendy, Michelle and myself (Renee), this segment is written not as an ultimatum but rather, as a way forward to a better climate of understanding between those who accept the idea of schools having a limited school c.p. policy and those who militate 100% against all c.p. -Including in the home. The views are at polar opposites and TWP is under no illusions about that fact.

Indeed,TWP has been the ONLY website which presented a middle of the road perspective which condemned the extremes of both sides. While taking that stance, we at TWP have NOT been shy in taking a stand which does tilt towards the pro c.p. side. The antis have hated us for that.

But in looking back over this past week’s U.S. midterm elections, TWP can only say one thing to the antis: YOU LOST!

We are not dancing in the streets or popping champagne corks. That would be immature. Doing so would also ill-serve the goal of improving education for all children -Which is the one goal of all educators. But the extreme radicalism of the last two years in U.S. national politics is OVER. The “debate” over school c.p. is not as the same has been going on since before the republic was founded. The question we at TWP now pose to the antis is “Do you wish to play a constructive role in eliminating REAL abuse which we condemn OR Are you going to sit in a corner and cry, whine and mope like a 6 year old who got his rear end popped for mouthing off.

Here are some things the anti- c.p. movement should seriously consider:

Parental Opt-Outs: We at TWP realize that if parents can just “opt” their kids out of school c.p., then the anti- c.p. movement may as well put up a “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” banner because anti- c.p. parents won’t need P.T.A.V.E., THEHITTINGSTOPSHERE, etc. Face facts: There is not going to be a national c.p. ban and the 20 legal school c.p. states are very unlikely to pass state c.p. bans. (With most of these 20 states, it is more likely San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will succeed U.S. President Barack Obama as the next president first. In fact, it would not surprise TWP if in the next 10 to 20 years, some heartland states such as Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska replace their state bans with laws allowing locally elected school boards to implement school c.p. policies. Just remember: The tides of change do NOT always go in one direction.

Stop the Name Calling: You antis know what TWP is referring to. Names like porn stars, prostitutes, child molesters or abusers, terrorists and bullies only marginalizes YOU -Not us. And in light of those names, please don’t whine about our tags “antis” and “zealots”. Doing so make YOU look childish. So drop the vicious name calling and you at least will be taken seriously -Because right now, you’re not.

Give Specific Alternatives: Its past time to put up or shut up. We at TWP have NEVER received any input from the antis as to what their alternative is. We have only received psychological theories which we have know about since college but nothing based on real life. “Talking to” is not a consequence for bullying and out of school suspension is not a “cure all” either.

For balance, the following should be examined by educators:

Phase Out of High School C.P.: Because of the availability of alternatives at this level (ISS,OSS,Detention), the use of school c.p. should be very rare. Why? At high school age, the kids are too old for that. TWP is not advocating a “ban” per se but rather a phasing out over time. Sanctions and penalties are still in effect but at high school age, pre-adult maturity should start to emerge. This phasing out is a goal and should not be a mandate with any timelines.

Honest Look at Paddles: As an assistant principal, I (Renee) have seen some very inappropriate paddles in thickness, length and weight. A question for all educators to ask themselves: If my paddle was to be seen on t.v., what would the community reaction be? If horror and shock -Then TRASH it! As to my paddle: Looks scary at first glance until you see how thin (1/4″) it is and how light it is relative to its length (24″ including handle). It is for that reason that I never allow any student to handle it or see it too closely.

For parents, these suggestions should be beneficial:

Don’t Play the Media Game I: If for some reason your child was paddled at school for cause and YOU forgot to turn in an “opt out” request, try working WITH the school FIRST to find out why the paddling was given. Little Johnny may not tell the whole story. Communication is so important and one of the biggest nightmares for any educator is when they administer a paddling to a child whose parent intended to opt them out but didn’t.

Don’t Play the Media Game II: When and if you believe an abusive paddling has occurred, get photo evidence RIGHTAWAY -Not hours or days later. We at TWP consider any paddling that leaves black and/or blue bruises as an abusive paddling. But if your photos were taken the next day, you will cast suspicion on yourself. The media may take your photos at face value but school attorneys will not.

Don’t Play the Media Game III: This point is actually for both sides of a complaint about school c.p. There was a story on the net that goes back several years concerning a black girl named Daria who was sent to the principal’s office and paddled for saying in class “Something stinks in here!” Well, we at TWP have to ask “What is the REST of the story?” It seems to us that whenever a situation like Daria’s arises, the parent(s) immediately go into “media relations” mode and flail away while the school system totally clams up. Student privacy IS important but that should be “out the window” when parent(s) and child set up news conferences and show photos of paddled rears. TWP does not believe in unilateral silence: If, as in the Daria case, the parent(s) go the “media relations” route, then the school system spokesperson should release ALL the relevant facts in the matter. After all, the parent(s) made the first P.R. move. Finally, no school employee should be asked to communicate to the media -That is why school systems hire “spokespersons”: To speak, on behalf of the entire district, to all news media.

All of the above is not exhaustive but the first steps toward to common ground. Where disagreement remains, the debate must become more civil and polite. The antis have lost a battle but this “debate” will go on -Hopefully in a calmer manner.

As to any “yahoos” out there, the recent move to “nationalize” the issue of school c.p. should serve as a “wake-up call” and a “shot across the bow” for those who have crossed the line in school discipline. All those “coach buzz-cuts” out there had better get a clue: One abusive paddling is one too many. Coach Buzz-cut, you have been warned!

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. XII

Playing With the Boys

Dear Readers: In starting this segment, let me first make a confession. As a college coed, I was NOT boy-crazy.

Shocked? (Giggle)

Growing up, I was not one of those “over-developed” girls who always had the attention of the guys -Especially the jocks who were considered the coolest guys. I was in that clique of students know as the “brainiacs”. It was my last year of high school that I turned swan-like, in a manner of speaking.

So, early on before college, I developed a “cool” attitude towards guys -Probably due to being stood up too much on dates as well as waiting on a guy to call me about a date WHO NEVER CALLED! But in college, the social scene is different for some. It certainly changed for me after pledging Alpha sorority.

Our sorority had “social relationships” with several fraternities which meant I would be meeting guys on a regular basis. But that is an understatement. Being tradition bound, Greeks go the extra mile-And then some.

Alpha sorority had one tradition in which each of us Alpha pledges were serenaded by a pledge of Gamma fraternity -On a stage! In front of 200+ cheering party goers! I had NO clue that second weekend as an Alpha pledge that this was coming and that I had already been “matched” with a Gamma fraternity pledge named Phil. Several Alpha sisters dragged me on a small stage where this Phil started SINGING a “romantic” Gamma ballad to me. I was told later by a giggling Susan that my face nearly matched my red hair. Well, it was all good and clean fun but I definitely was NOT used to this kind of attention!

Our sorority used a “girl-buddy” system when going to a fraternity party or hosting our own. The reason for this was two fold: If we Alphas stayed in groups of 3 or 4, we could watch out for each other and avoid “bad situations”. (Think drunk and crazy frat-guys) Second, safety in numbers -Those guys could get rowdy after too many beers!

Actually, the rowdier -The less I was enamored. I was considered a “straight arrow” by my Alpha sisters and perhaps I was -But drunk, loud and stupid is not a turn-on for me. Further, the way the Gamma’s treated Phil and some of his pledgemates bothered me too. It seems that the unwritten rule was that Gamma pledges could serenade me but then had to “get lost” so one of the brothers could then “make moves” on me! When I started to chit chat with a nervous Phil, a Gamma “brother” told him to “shove off” saying “I’ll show the young lady around the house…You get back to your ‘work schedule’!” Folks, I thought that was extremely rude and told off this Gamma “social clod”.

Later, Susan explained to me that that was just the way guys are and that NO fraternity brother would allow one of their own pledges to come between a brother and a girl. I thought that was moronic and “caveman” but let it go. However, I did elevate my own standards of expectations for guys: Be a gentleman or get lost!

That “One”

I am going to give just some details here. There are some things that belong only in the heart and should stay there. But I will indulge you readers a little as to my”big catch”.

First, it wasn’t Phil, who did take me out on a few dates, which his “brothers” didn’t know about. But it was never anything serious and Phil was “blackballed” a month after we first met. Last I heard, he left Georgia and I never saw him again. I felt badly for him but what could a freshman sorority pledge like me do?

It was in my 2nd year as an Alpha sister that I would meet the love of my life. It happened  during a sorority fundraiser at Alpha’s house. The competition: A mock strip tease contest. (And please, no weird emails -We “stripped down to our bikini swimsuits.) The objective of each sorority strip team was to get the spectators to put $$$ in Alph’s tin can at the edge of the stage. Sorority with the most $$$ won 1st place. All proceeds went to a community charity.

This night was the second time I had participated in Alpha’s Mock Strip-A-Thon. I didn’t heed the whistles and lurid cat-calls while counting out our $$$ in round 1 (Which placed Alpha in the top 5!). I recall one of the other Alpha sisters saying, “That guy in the red sports coat…He’s been eying you since he first saw you!…(I started to look)No, Renee…Don’t look YET!…Play coy!” My girl-buddy Alpha sisters “coached” me to “reel in” this guy like a pro fisherman reels in a river trout. (HA HA)

When my girl-pack and I SLOWLY made our way over to where this guy was -I was cool as frost. But when I started to sat hello and my eyes looked into his -I FROZE mentally and, in the words of a girl-buddy, had that deer-in-the-headlights look. This guy was a civil-planning graduate student with an engineering degree from out of state. After meekly introducing myself, my girl-buddies dragged/yanked/pushed me to the ladies room for more “coaching” on how to catch this one. (Betcha male readers would like to know what we girls say about you behind closed door, huh?…I’m not telling!)

After re-composing myself, I was a cool-babe again and did “click” with this guy. Or as Susan put it, “Renee…I think EVERYBODY knew this guy zapped your heart GOOD!” And she was right about that.

And this “guy” was none other than my future husband John.

Cold Water For “Turkies”

Some guys have a hard time taking a hint. Readers, don’t get me wrong: I’m NOT a prude -I like attention from guys as much as any other girl. But too-much is too-much.

Case in point was during Fall semester of my 2nd year. Susan and I, as members of the Georgia marching band color guard, would sometimes twirl our flags in sync on the back patio of the Alpha house some afternoons. We did it just to “perfect” our routine on our own time. Susan would plug in her portable stereo set and then play a CD of whatever music tune we were to perform with that weekend. A private rehearsal by the two of us.

But not too private. Adjoining Alpha’s backyard was the backyard of Theta, a men’s fraternity. And Susan and I had an audience -Regardless of our own wishes. Folks, a late blooming red head like yours truly does flatter easily but this got to be ridiculous! The first few times, there were a few gawkers. But word must have gotten around because one day, there must have been two dozen guys on Theta’s side of the fence cheering and leering (And beer chugging too!) while Susan and I TRIED to ignore them. When those guys started a drunken cheer “Drop it…Drop it Drop it DOWN DOWN DOWN…,” (Down what? My flag or something else?) I had  enough and decided to cool those guys off.

The Alpha house  had a sprinkler system built into the ground for both the front and back yards. So, yours truly quietly went around to the side of the house AND TURNED ON THE BACKYARD SPRINKLERS -FULL STRENGTH! When I came back around, the Thetas had just been soaked and Susan was in hysterical laughter. Good thing for both of us that Susan yelled, “Sorry about the sprinklers…Renee was trying to override the pre-set timer!” (Yeah…Right!) Well, the good news was that the Thetas BELIEVED us and didn’t ‘roll’ our yard or worse. Bad news though was that we dared not try that again!

On the other hand, it did turn cold and rainy after that so Susan and I didn’t have any more drunken audiences for the rest of the year. The next year, we did our private rehearsals in the basement party room.

COMING NEXT:

2 IMPORTANT OPEN LETTERS,

TWP ANALYSIS: THE ANTI’S “GETTYSBURG”,

&

“IF I WERE A FLY ON THE WALL…”

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