A few years ago the trend was “Tebow-ing.” Kids would stop in the hallway in between classes and drop to one knee for a moment of prayer. Yikes, what a mess that created. I mean we were OK with it until the trend took off and we had major blockages in the halls. Kids couldn’t get to class on time. A teacher tripped and fell and filed for assault leave. A kid in a motorized wheelchair gleefully piled into the scrum. And when we banned the practice, we were accused of being anti-religion. Sheesh. Well….fortunately, the kids moved on and Tebow-ing faded out.
But now we are dealing with LeBron-ing. Perhaps you have noticed that LeBron James has become the master at diving to the floor in an ef- fort to draw a foul when someone bumps into him. Do you know how much force it takes to knock LeBron James to the floor??? A lot. But you wouldn’t think so if you watch the videos. It looks like a moderate wind could knock LeBron down. He falls. He slides. He complains. The whistle blows. He goes to the foul line. So we have kids mimicking this behavior, but not on the basketball court. No—they are doing it in the same place where they used to “Tebow”—a crowded school hallway in between classes. Fortunately we have videos running in the halls, as authorized by Texas Education Code 26.009(b)(1). So we have been studying the film of what happened last week. Curtis, a 9th grader, was ever so slightly brushed on the shoulder by Jorge. Down goes Curtis! Which would not have been a problem except that Ms. Downyshanks, the Drama Teacher, was heading the other direction carrying props for the school play, including that floor lamp shaped like a female leg in a fishnet stocking from “A Christmas Story.” She tripped, the lamp/leg went flying, end over end, and the high heel of the floor lamp came down on Curtis. He wasn’t seriously hurt, but it hit him in the forehead and he bled like a stuck pig. Now we have bodily fluids run amok in the hallway, kids screaming, the nurse running down the hall, elbowing kids and teachers out of the way. The lamp/leg was shattered, which wasn’t supposed to happen until Act Two of the play. We were unable to get another one in time, and had to substitute a lamp shaped like a man’s leg in an army boot. I can tell you… it just didn’t have the same effect.
I don’t know how it got on the evening news, but there it was, replayed repeatedly in slow motion. The TV station brought in a local doctor who said, “if the leg had hit the boy just one inch to the left, it would have put his eye out. You have to wonder if our teachers are tak- ing adequate safety precautions during these passing periods.” Our local atheist (we only have one—thank God) was interviewed and she expressed “shock” that the public school would choose a Christian-oriented play for its annual production. She is threatening to sue. Curtis is threatening to sue Jorge for “shoving” him to the ground. Jorge is threatening to sue Curtis for assaulting him in the hallway. Ms. Downyshanks is threaten- ing to sue both of them for something or other. She’s also very upset with the Drama Department for not having a second leg/lamp available. WHAT DO WE DO?
DEAR WHAT DO WE DO:
Wow. We suspect a Craigslist search could produce a better prop for your play, but I guess it’s too late for that now. As to all these injuries, of course the school district has immunity from liability, as do the professional employees involved. As to Curtis and Jorge, I’d say why not just sit back and watch that one unfold?
Our football team surprised a lot of people by advancing several rounds in the playoffs last fall. We finally got beat in the state quarter- finals. The whole town was delighted and proud, as we had not gotten that far in a long time. But the day after we lost, someone sent me a “post” that our band director put on his Facebook page. It read: “I’m so glad that our team finally got beat. We have to work up a new halftime routine for the band for every one of these games, and I was stretched to the breaking point. Thank God that last second field goal attempt sailed to the right!” Can we fire this guy? We intend to go all the way next year and we can’t have our band director wimping out on us. NEXT YEAR WE GO ALL THE WAY!
DEAR NEXT YEAR:
That’s a little harsh, dontcha think? If by “fire him” you mean can him, terminate him, bust his chops, send him packing, fire his ass, sack him, axe him, etc, we would say that’s a little harsh for a single comment. His comment may have offended some folks in the community but he didn’t do anything illegal or even immoral. The man is tired, which is understandable. We agree that it was a poor judgment call to post something like this for all to see. It would be a good idea to talk to him about propriety, school spirit, and the sheer stupidity of what some people put on Facebook. But termination of employment in mid-contract calls for “good cause,” and we think this is going to fall short.
Can we make it a condition of employment that you have to vote? I keep hearing that teachers don’t vote. This astonishes me. Educators have so much at stake in these elections—our livelihood, our passion, our retirement, our healthcare. I don’t understand why some educators don’t vote, but I keep hearing that’s the case. So my administrative staff has put out the word that everyone must vote. We plan to hang out at the polling places on election day to monitor for turnout in the primaries. At-will employees who do not vote will be fired. Teachers on a term contract who do not vote will be non-renewed. Furthermore, we intend to encourage folks to vote in the Republican primary. We are not going to fire people who vote in the Democratic primary, but we are going to reprimand them. We have nothing against the Dems personally (my mother was a “yellow dog Democrat,” may she rest in peace) but if you vote in the Democratic primary around here you are wasting your vote and are too stupid to have the franchise. This county has not gone blue since LBJ got too big for his britches. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
DEAR WHAT DO:
We share your enthusiasm for educator turnout in the upcoming election, but we think you are way south of the constitution here. Not a good idea, my friend. Not good at all.
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