Friday, April 22, 2005

Well, If You Can Have A Knee Jerk Reaction...So Can I!

Click on the title for the link. This is what happened at school yesterday. And so, being the reactionary I am, I give you...


For preventing the children of the School District from becoming a burden to the administration, and for making them potentially beneficial to the
Department of Homeland Security

Shameleesly Adapted From Jonathan Swift

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great school district, when they see the halls, the cafeteria, and sports fields, crowded with administrators surrounded by any varying number of teenagers, all in a vast array of clothing and frightening every passerby. These administrators, instead of being able to enjoy the honest work they do for their livelihood, are forced to endure the increasing attempts at individuality and self expression, adult problems and child-like pranks, of said teenagers: who as they grow up either turn into independent beings or, quite possibly, conscientious thinkers.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of contemplative teenagers at the heels of the administrators, and frequently of the teachers, is a very great grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these teenagers submissive, dependent and easily kept in line, would deserve so well of the public as to have his/her statue set up for a preserver of the district.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the administrators of this district; it is of a much greater extent, and shall benefit the entire state, nay, United States of America!

It is true, a high school student may be prone to rebellious acts; quite possibly noticeable to the administrative hierarchy; and it is exactly at this age that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of becoming an individual who questions authority – or anything for that matter – they shall on the contrary think only thoughts provided for them by the district and contribute to the policing of the student body as a whole against such heinous crimes as an original thought or demands for parity.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance, that a teenager is a most impressionable, easily influenced and eager person; and I make no doubt that it will be a rather simple challenge to not merely mold, but entirely take over his mind.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that the School District enact a program to shape the young minds of all high school students in the manner following:

1. The School District shall adopt a dress code , to wit,
Regarding clothes: Khaki pants, no pockets – size 10; navy blue polo shirt – size medium; white socks – size 9-11; brown loafer shoes – size 8.5, medium brown leather belt – size 38 inches; white brief-style underwear – size 10; white bra, no under wire – size 34B.
Regarding hair: All students will wear hair length to the bottom of the ears – no bangs, with a center part – and will dye hair with Miss Clairol Nice n’ Easy in the shade of 118 Natural Medium Brown.
Regarding eyes: All students, whether medically necessary or not, will purchase and wear brown contact lenses.
Regarding teeth: No braces on teeth will be allowed. Only three fillings will be allowed per mouth – two allotted for bottom teeth, one allotted for top teeth.
Absolutely no jewelry, piercing, or adornments of any type that would set an individual apart from the rest of the student body in any way, shape or form.

2. No student will be allowed to carry a backpack, book bag, purse, gym bag, pencil case, pocket protector, wallet, change purse, sleeping bag, paper bag, sandwich bag, brand new bag, or any item in general in which any other object larger than a tic-tac can be concealed. Books and calculators will be carried in hand. Pens and pencils will be handed out at the beginning of each period and collected at the end of said period.

3. All students will be fingerprinted and will be assigned a Security Identification Number. The Security Identification Number shall be tattooed to the back of the right hand of each student.

4. All students will be given a daily “supplement” that will be provided by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. It will be in pill form and this, quite frankly, is all you need to know about it.

5. All parents, upon a child’s entering into high school, will sign a contract which explicitly outlines activities that are and are not allowed in the home. It will detail what television shows, newspapers, magazines, music, radio stations and internet sites are approved for student viewing. It will also detail what conversational topics are acceptable for family discussion. Failure on any parent’s part to comply with and strictly enforce the contract will result in forfeiture of that parent’s custody of the student and said student will become a ward of the District.

6. At the beginning of each day, all students will rise, recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, recite the Pledge to the Department of Homeland Security and recite the Oath of Conformity.

7. If a student suspects a fellow student from having any thought deviating from the list of approved district thoughts, the student should report that fellow student for immediate purification. Following the purification, all students will be punished in accordance with District whims.

8. All students, upon their 18th year, shall register to vote as Republican.

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the students will become like drones, stripped of all identity and free thinking. This I freely own, and ‘twas indeed the principal design in offering it to the District and Department. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this school district and this great nation. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of treating these students as young adult persons: Of punishing only guilty parties as opposed to the entire student body: Of allowing for individuality in any form: Of supposing anything other than the Complete Destruction of the American Way of Life as motive for a student’s misbehavior: Of allowing any privacy whatsoever for members of the student body: Of seeing anything other than fear of litigation as the most important factor in determining district policy: Of allowing the student body to have any voice in anything, especially in opposition to district policy: Of allowing students the right to peaceful protest: Of having one degree of sympathy for how district policies – even if those policies blatantly will not achieve the end they are proposed to – may adversely affect the lives of students.

I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, ‘till he hath at least some glimpse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author, or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find a way to maintain the school as a safe educational environment, preventing the district from becoming the defending party in liability litigation. And secondly, there being a population of intelligent, capable, caring, aware, inventive, industrious, athletic, scientific, witty, compassionate students at Tamaqua Area High School: I desire those who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been effectively sheltered from being treated as a human being - with dignity and fairness, innocence until guilt is proven, protection from punishments undeserved, respected, consulted and given opportunity for input on topics directly affecting their daily school routine - and thereby avoiding ever having known those considerations we would give to any stranger - those basic rights we believe everyone deserves - taken away in one shattering blow that came as a result of adult anger and frustration.

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