Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There is no depth of idiocy to which public schools can't sink

Now it's war on chocolate milk. However, this war is hardly new: I've personally experienced it in a slightly different form, when I began elementary school in the Bay Area. Back then it needed no excuse. "We're the school and we'll tell you what you'd better damn well do."

Milk was the sole beverage offered with school lunch. I've always found its taste positively horrid, for the same inexplicable reason that I like broccoli and am oversensitive to salt. So one morning, my father prepared a tiny jar with Quik powder for me to bring to school. With that, I could make the school lunch's milk palatable and therefore not waste it. I never had a chance to get away with what that young boy couldn't fathom was a horrible, horrible crime. The next thing I knew, the cafeteria nanny (a mutated den mother) and principal flanked me at the table, demanding to know what I had poured in. It's no exaggeration to say that with the nature of their interrogation (it could be called no other thing), and their cowardice in brow-beating and threatening an excellent student who never caused trouble, I might as well have been smuggling for a drug cartel.

So they put a very quick stop to my father's good idea, and I returned to not taking the pints of milk. The school officials flatly refused my father's reasonable demand of a credit for what I wasn't consuming, and they refused to give any explanation of the most remote plausibility. They didn't merely not try, they didn't want to try to defend their idiocy. "We're the school and we'll tell you what you'd better damn well do." The solution was that I started bringing my own lunch, which sometimes included milk and the same banned Quik, mixed in at home. What was it, that school milk has such a different molecular formula that it would go critical after adding Quik?

As a practical matter, bringing my own lunch was the only solution. As a matter of principle, it was the only solution, being the right thing to do anyway. Freedom, practicality, efficiency and happiness -- is it any wonder the four are inextricable?

Part of the blame rests on the fellow students, who were jealous they couldn't do the same. Once they saw me enjoying a beverage they didn't have, up went their hands. Yet not a thing in the universe prevented their parents from following suit. They didn't because they lacked desire and original thought to improve the conditions of their children, even when someone showed them something they could easily do themselves. No doubt they've grown up to be the most brain-dead of liberals, demanding "equality" no matter that it means bringing everyone to a rock-bottom level.

God knows what would happen if I had been going to school now. One of my oldest friends and I would have been shot by SWAT for play-slashing at each other with pocketknives, no matter that we never hurt each other. (Mr. Borders knew we never meant harm, so he'd just tell us to behave.) Another friend would have been drugged with Ritalin for ADHD, because in boring classes he'd routinely get caught up in the textbook and ignore the teacher's droning. Students are suspended, even expelled, just for having an aspirin. Do any of you think that part's even new? It's been happening for at least twenty goddamn years. Schools sometimes put up the defense that they would be responsible, but that's just the point: reasonable parents don't ask them to take the responsibility in the first place!

Naturally, when my sister fell during PE and broke several bones in her hand, the school disclaimed all responsibility. The officials even had the chutzpah to blame my parents for not buying the optional health insurance. It didn't matter that she was very much physically coerced into playing: refusing meant punishment by running laps or jumping rope, and if you refused to do that because you knew you had done nothing wrong, you'd fail PE. Remember: "We're the school and we'll tell you what you'd better damn well do."

Note to Charlie: power to you, I hope your kids never see a day of public school in their lives.

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