In Her Shell
Monday, February 12, 2007
  Big Brother, Little Sister
Over at Lulu's she posted recently about a scary memo that turned out to be fake, but could've been real, making it even scarier. The next day, I received the following in my school mailbox:

To: Teachers of [Student A] and [Student B]
From: Assistant Principal 1
Re: Meetings in the Corridors

These two students have been meeting far too frequently in the halls during classes and immediately prior to or at the end of classes. This needs to stop! Therefore, you are to restrict their use of hall and bathroom passes to the extent that you do not issue any until further notice from me. Also, please be diligent in marking them late for classes and informing [the Asst. Principal in charge of Attendance] of any ongoing issues. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Never mind that this is the first memo any of us has ever gotten regarding couples meeting in the hallways, and believe me, we have plenty. The amount of making out that goes on against lockers and in stairwells is copious. It is gross to see them slobbering and groping, but that is not what this memo is about.

It's annoying when I have to go out into the hallway and nudge whatever half of a dewy-eyed couple belongs in class into my room, but tardiness is not the focus of this memo either.

In fact, these students are clearly not supposed to be seeing each other at all. Notice that the memo asks us to be diligent in restricting their meetings prior to or at the end of classes. This is the students' time to get where they need to be, meet up, chat, spread rumors, whatever. But this particular couple is not even allowed this.

I had Student B in class last year, and happen to know that her family is arranging a marriage for her to a much older man in Lebanon, where they are from. I know that her parents are very strict, and that she rebels a little. I know that she is treated as a second-class citizen in her house, and that her older brother is the golden child, no matter what she does.

I also know that she is in love with Student A, whose family is from Pakistan. I have heard that she recently declared this love to her parents. I can only assume that they contacted the school, hence the memo in question.

Sorry, Assistant Principal 1. You're on your own with this one.
Why in the world would the school agree to this? I would think that from a legal standpoint they would not want to be involved, because when Romeo and Juliet run away together, or manage to get pregnant, or whatever foolish thing they will almost invariably end up doing, you can bet that the parents are going to somehow blame the school for not keeping them apart.
If I'm not mistake, I believe you teach in a public school right? I mean I could see a private school agreeing to be in cahoots with the parents on an issue like this, but why on earth would government/public institution get involved in this? Not to mention I find it offensive that you have been directed not to let one of your students use the restroom.

Good for you for ignoring this.
CP--We have a whole list of kids who are not allowed to have hall passes, so they are out of luck when it comes to going to the bathroom, but those kids are the ones found wandering around with a pass, clearly screwing around and wasting time, and to get a kid on the NO PASS list, you have to complain repeatedly. These kids have obviously done nothing wrong except fall in love.
Holy shit, I can't believe the school got involved in this one. Good thing Romeo and Juliet didn't attend.

School administrators amaze me; half the time they are insanely litigation-averse and afraid to intervene in many areas in which they should, and the rest of the time they're busy making insanely invasive and obnoxious rules and trampling rights.
I can see not wanting *any* kid constantly out of class to meet up with his/her love of the moment, but between classes?? That's just asking for the two of them to feel more pressured to do something drastic. I can't believe a public school could be bullied into enforcing a parent's wishes about whom the child socializes with? Private school, sure, they thrive on parents' money, but public?
Good for you for not bowing to the insanity.
Hey everyone: I would share your incredulity at the school's willingness to enforce the parents' chaos, BUT. This is the MO: whatever the loudest parent wants, that parent gets. This is why I couldn't direct "The Laramie Project." CYA. Yes, it's a public school.
Good for you for ignoring the memo! As you said to me earlier this year, the more you get called on the carpet (not that you have. . .yet) the more likely it is that you're doing your what your job really is.
Thanks chica. Always nice to have one's own words repeated back, in a nice way. ;)
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