3 Cheers for Bureaucracy
by The Cranky Media Guy
OK, somebody tell me please, when did signing up a kid for high
school turn into a motor-vehicle-office-from-the-
former-Soviet-Union kind of paperwork Hell?
I'm still sort of new to this "parenting" thing, so
maybe I missed something along the way. I don't recall it
being quite this difficult when I went to school (back in the
Pleistocene era, I believe). I have vague memories of my
parents wrapping me up in a sheet, securing the bundle with duct
tape and throwing me over the fence of my high school. I was
caught on the third bounce by the principal who looked at the
"Hello, my name is..." sticker glued to my forehead and
checked me off the list on his clipboard. It was an innocent
time. Things were simpler then.
To get my daughter accepted into her new school, Himmler Memorial
High, we had to sign away all her Constitutional rights via a
document that read like a Pig Latin translation of the Manhattan
Yellow Pages. We actually had to check off whether or not we
consented to allowing our kid's picture to be used. Used for what?
Is this high school or the Ford Modeling Agency? We said
"No". Screw 'em. Hey, if there's a buck to be
made off our kid's image, why should they make it? Kids
were put on Earth to be exploited by their parents, not the school
board, damn it!
Then there is the school Code of Conduct. In my day, the
rules were simple: if you screwed around, you got leg irons attached
to you, which made it hard to do road work in the hot sun. Oh,
wait, that's the plot to Cool Hand Luke, isn't it?
Well, I went to Catholic high school in the 60's, which was a lot
like a Southern road gang, so my confusion is understandable.
Today--well, let's just say the rules are a little harder to figure
out. I mean, I get the stuff about not allowing any weapons or
electronic devices, but why is there a rule against wearing hats?
Have hats been determined--by a Presidentially- appointed blue
ribbon panel, I'm sure--to be a detriment to the educational
process? I'm can't wait to read their report entitled
"Hats, The Devil's Head Covering".
"It has been determined that
over 90% of crack
users wore hats at some
point prior to their
problem. Therefore, this panel
has concluded that hats
are a 'gateway accessory'."
You can't argue with logic like that, especially when it's
Even lunch has become needlessly complicated. When I went
to school, seventy-five cents cash money got you a meal (or
something resembling one), no questions asked. At Christa's
school, we had to put money into an account against which she draws
when she buys her lunch. They said we could replenish the
account at any time. I'm thinking we should just let it run
out; it'll prepare her for Social Security when she's older.
Why should geriatrics have all the fun of being disappointed by
I can think of only one good thing about all the bureaucracy at
my kid's high school. There'll never be a Columbine-type
incident there. No one would want to go through all the
paperwork you'd have to fill out to go on a shooting spree there.