Sunday, April 4, 2010

How Did We Ever Survive Without All The Rules??

It's no secret that our local high school is undergoing a crisis of sorts.  Here's the jist of it.  Over the last few years the discipline code has been rewritten and tweaked into some of the most laughable offenses you can imagine.  The most obvious change has been the lanyard and the bulk of discipline action it has caused.  Briefly, the administration instituted a rule that all Byron students must wear ID badges on a lanyard around their neck.  Ostensibly, the ID was to identify the student and verify that he was a student in the school.  Forget that there are only about 150 kids in any given class year and everyone knows each other.  So, identification seemed rather silly.  But, it get's tighter.  The ID can only be displayed on an approved and provided Byron black and orange lanyard.  They MAY NOT wear their ID on a clip.  They MAY NOT wear their ID on a decorative lanyard.  They MAY NOT decorate the badge or the lanyard in anyway.  Any breach of this constitutes a detention that grows to a Saturday School.  Thus, the whole purpose of the ID tag has been lost to the lanyard.  And let's face it, an ID badge is false protection.  It doesn't prevent poor choices nor does it protect anyone from someone elses dangerous actions.  And while I will stop short of comparing it to having to wear a yellow star during Hitler's reign; it resides along the same vein.  And kids have both rebelled and been deeply disciplined for their mode of compliance ( or non - compliance.)  It causes me to stop and ask myself how in the world I and anyone I went through school with managed to become happy, successful, GOOD citizens given the lack of stringent rules applied to our school in the 70's.

Recently on Facebook a photo was posted by someone I went to high school with that inspired some wonderful memories of a particular day in 1977.  I have included the photo here as it appeared on the monthly Highlander, our HS newspaper.  There were approximately 650 students in each class and at that time we were a 10-12 school.  And. . . it was the 70's ergo, we had an open campus whereby we could leave at will during studyhall and lunch, hang out in the commons, smoke in the courtyard and call ourselves in sick if we were 18.  There was often a line of kids standing at the phone booth that sat in the lobby of the school right across from the attendance office waiting to phone in their absence and head out to something more fun. . .especially in spring.

There was a group of seniors that hung around together and were dubbed, "The Pigs."  These guys were your typical good looking, well liked, goofy and popular type and they had put themselves up on the block on a day that no longer is considered politically correct.  Slave Day.  The Pigs were purchased for a lot of money ( I want to say something like $212) and were required the next day to serve at the will of their buyer.  And the picture was taken that morning as they made their way down the hall in the garb they were required to wear.  Just look at the photo - it is a recipe for expulsion now-a-days.  We have 4 guys wearing skirts.  We have 4 guys in make-up, 4 guys wearing signs around their necks - one with a suggestive sexual comment ( which we girls all knew just couldn't be true!)  That would NEVER fly in school now -- at least in Byron.  Could those boys possibly be worthy of graduation or any kind of success in life?  Let's see.

The guy to the very left is Fax Bahr and really, if you don't know him, Google him but let me just say, "In Living Color"; creator of "Mad TV"; documentary film maker; comedy writer and producer to name a few. The next guy is Rich Snee who has become very successful in the area of children's music.  Then is Brad - he owns his own appraisal service that contracts with all of the major banks in northern Michigan.  He is the "Go To" guy in the Michigan mortgage and real estate industry.  And finally there is Drew.  It's no coincidence that he shares a name with my oldest.  In high school he was the guy EVERYONE liked and that stayed with me when Dave and I were naming our baby ( and we both agreed on it!)  Drew is a high school art teacher and a hugely talented scultpure.  I wish he had a website I could post but I can tell you he has a particular piece called, "The Giver" that I DREAM about it is THAT engaging.

I just wonder if all of these arbitrary rules are really making our children any better than we were.  And when our kids look back, I wonder if their memories will be filled with the height of hilarity or of times tempered with what they weren't allowed to do.