In Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s self-designed universe, the enrollment rosters would slam shut after the first week of school, quicker than a booby-trapped (heh, heh, see what I did there?) temple door in an Indiana Jones movie. Pick a school, any school, and go there. Anybody is free to move about the country, but their kid will still only be allowed to attend that one district. We’ll bend over backwards to send work if you want to move and declare the kid homebound. Pay $20 for an office visit, and get a doctor's note so we can put your child on medical leave. No penalty. Work sent. But we won’t admit any student after the first week. Just like moviegoers will not be seated after the previews, and plane passengers may not get out of their seats after the Fasten Seatbelts sign. The line must be drawn, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is drawing it with a wide brush and iridescent paint.
It’s not that we don’t like new kids. We’ll gladly take them during the first week of school. After that, our portals are sealed. We don’t have time and energy to be breaking in everyone all over again. Our indoctrination is complete until next school year. We can’t be breaking the bad habits that have been ingrained in other districts. Classroom dynamics and seating charts have been established. Lunch table cliques are set. Rules have been emphasized. Emergency drills have been practiced. Club dues have been paid. We’re set for the rest of the year.
The majority of our discipline incidence rate comes from the News. Gotta establish who’s boss. The News, sadly, find out that it is not them. The Olds have about a week of show-offing to reveal the pecking order. Then the News settle into a group of like-minded Olds. Things run more smoothly then, but at the cost of that first week. We can’t be devoting our time and effort to so many first weeks throughout the year. It’s detrimental to the Olds. We just want what’s best for our current students. Is that so wrong?
Imagine, if you will, Mrs. Not-A-Cook with her newest Newbie. Mrs. Not-A-Cook is not a slouch in the instruction department for her select group of students. Nor is she a harsh taskmaster. Listen to the lesson, ask for help if needed, then complete the assignment. It’s not like she’s asking them to write a Ph.D. dissertation each week. Nor is she asking them to come up with an alternative to Euclidean geometry. Just the basics. Explained. Re-explained if needed. Assignment collected and graded.
So here we are, back to imagining Mrs. Not-A-Cook standing at her white board after the lesson, asking if there are any questions, and pointing to the assignment she has written on that very same white board. And her newest Newbie, Newb, says, “That is excrement from a male bovine.” Not in so many words, of course. But in his own vocabulary, and plenty loud for Mrs. Not-A-Cook and the other students to hear. So Newb received the bum’s rush to a special room in which he can complete his load of male bovine excrement in a small-group setting, with other fans of ungulate droppings, for a period of two days.
Therein lies the problem. Our Olds would have never let the excrement-from-a-male-bovine bomb fly. They may have thought it. They may have mouthed it silently. They may have muttered it so softly that a bat, king of extreme hearing in the mammalian world, could not detect it. But our Olds would never had put themselves in such a predicament. The News, however, have to test boundaries. Have to impress the Olds in order to find where they fit in. Have to look like a bad-butt to protect themselves from what they fear might be future bullying.
Life would be so much simpler if we sealed our educational borders after the first week of the school year. No enrollment until next year. Health insurance companies can do it. People want schools to run like the private employment sector? This would be a step in the right direction.
So sayeth Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, sitting high upon her throne atop her pedestal, deeply inhaling her rarefied air, watching the unicorns cavort on a nearby mountaintop, as she sips daintily from her crystalline flute of nectar, her bejeweled crown gleaming in the last golden rays of the sunset, as the world below lies shrouded in darkness.