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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

       substance abuse problem.  Therefore, this panel

       has concluded that hats are a 'gateway accessory'."

You can't argue with logic like that, especially when it's government funded.

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 government?

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.




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