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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Am That Parent only took 3 weeks to dislike Nico's school. I love the principal, who at this point probably thinks I am a pain in the butt but I want to know what I am supposed to do. Nico got in trouble on Friday in gym class. They had to run two laps around the school in two minutes. If they didn't make it, they had to spend the rest of class walking. He and about 20 other kids didn't make it. While they were walking, the group he was walking with was messing around. Nico swears that he wasn't and two of the other kids (one of which would have said if he was) said he wasn't but...if you are on the ship and it's going down, you are going with it. I'm not disputing whether he was goofing around or not. They didn't make the time, they had to walk. They goofed around, they had to call their parents. All of that makes sense to me. In the three years that he has gone to this school, I have never gotten a call about Nico's behavior or Nico being a "troublemaker" or ever, ever being disrespectful so when Leo got a call from the teacher saying there was an incident, I wasn't happy but didn't think it was anything horrible.  Leo hadn't talked to the teacher yet, just got a message to call. Nico told us what happened. We weren't happy about it but since he's never been a problem at school, Leo was going to tell the teacher that we talked to Nico and it won't happen again. Then, if it happened again, there would be consequences (grounded from social activity). Not a big deal.

Before I go on, I want to say that every Friday the kids have to run and try and get as many flags in the small amount of time they give them. The one Friday that some schools were closed because of the heat, our gym teachers made them run. The kids all walked. On curriculum night, I went to the gym part and heard one of the gym teachers talk about the Friday runs and the flags and he said "This many is an A, this many a B and so on." Then he followed it up with, "And if your kid is an athlete, we expect more from him." Nico is an athlete but he hates running and right now, he is pretty banged up from playing football (with practices every night and games on Sunday) so if he doesn't catch 26 flags, I am okay with it. Personally (and Nico doesn't know I feel this way), I think after doing this exercise every Friday for the last two years, I'd be tired of doing it, too. How about doing it once a month if it is filling some standard they have to fill? After the discussion, I wanted to talk to his teacher because we pulled the 504 plan and gym is one that he might have trouble with if ever he isn't feeling well. We talked a little bit about the hot day and him walking and she said and this is an exact quote, "Oh, don't worry. Nico is not a troublemaker or slacker at all. He is no problem. He never uses CF as an excuse. He's a good kid." I thanked her and then she added, "Oh, but I am not his teacher right now. The kids picked their activities and he's doing volleyball with______."

Okay, back to why I am mad. When Leo called the teacher, the teacher said that no, he didn't actually see what happened but Nico's name was on the list of kids goofing around and that this has been a pattern with him misbehaving and being disrespectful for the last few weeks. WHAT?! I just talked to his teacher who said the opposite! Even if she wasn't with him while he was playing volleyball, if he has been misbehaving for weeks, why weren't we called so we could address it at home? Is 8th grade the cutoff for letting parents know when their kid is being a weenie at school? The school just deals with it and then when they can't anymore, we get a call? That doesn't make sense. So, Nico came home yesterday and said he has to do three days of "training" for "bad behavior" instead of gym. He has that Osgood-Schlatter knee thing going on and usually wears a brace thing under his knee. He still plays football with it, still plays basketball with it and still plays baseball with it. Does it bother him? Yes. Does he fight through the pain? Yes. He told this teacher about it and he said, "Either suck it up or go to the nurse." Leo told him about it and he said he knew and that Nico could go lighter. Nico said he never said that. Whatever. I am not going to get into a "he said/she said".  He lumped Nico in with other kids that are troublemakers and I'm mad about that. A kid that screws up once or twice is not a troublemaker. If he's screwing up more than that, we should have known about it.

We talked to Nico about reputation and how he wants to play sports and these teachers are coaches and even if they don't coach the sports he wants to play, the coaches talk to each other. He doesn't want to get the reputation for having a bad attitude or being disrespectful. One of the other parents said the teacher told her that because this 8th grade class is last period, they are having trouble controlling it so they wanted to set an example. I have so many issues with that statement. How about waiting until you are actually there to see who is messing around before setting the example. Since he wasn't there, why didn't the other teacher who wrote the kids names up punish the kids? If that is the case, since she just told me Nico is not a troublemaker, did she think it was fair that he be lumped in with the troublemakers for the 3 day training for bad behavior? How about a call saying, "This is what he did and if it happens again, he's going to have to do 3 days of training."

I know what you are thinking, "This is gym. Who cares?" (I know some of my friends that are gym teachers would disagree.) I wasn't that bothered by the incident until the label "troublemaker" came into the discussion and the punishment of training for bad behavior. The only thing this gym teacher is going to accomplish with this and the running for flags is that the kids are going to hate gym.


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