Monday, January 31, 2011

Stuff I didn't expect to have to explain

1. When applying for credit, you cannot list expected revenue from plasma donations as income.

2. Though you can't be arrested for skipping class, the penalties really can add up to failure to graduate.

3. All high schools frown on announcing in English that you plan on stabbing the vice-principal in the eye.

4. Threatening the vice-principal is a unhelpful response to a notice that you have a disciplinary referral for not going to detention for cutting class.

...somehow I expect I will be adding to this post.

Let's play, why don't you add your pearls of wisdom in the comments?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"I'm 18 and you can't tell me what to do"

Been there yet? Kids turn 18 and suddenly they think they should have all the freedom of adulthood with none of the responsibilities.

We're doing it now with Gary. He is doing appropriate things, like hanging out with a friend whom we like. But he is doing it at inappropriate times, like until 3am on a school night. He did that last night. Today he isn't going to school because "he doesn't feel well." Exhaustion will do that to you.

I told him a while ago that I was only going to excuse him if he was really sick. If just wasn't going because he was exhausted, he would have to deal with it with the school. He asked what the school could do, because he was 18 and all. I thought about it and told him the truth. They can hassle him. Tell him to go to detention and Saturday school. They can give him in school suspension, or out of school suspension. They can expel him, and they can not give him credit for courses.

He wanted to know if they can arrest him.

See, that's the thing about raising kids who have gone through real trauma. There really isn't anything we can do to them that compares with what they have gone through. I said I didn't think so.

I could see him thinking about it. How many days could he cut and how many detentions etc could he refuse to go to before they would do anything he would really mind. All he wants to do is graduate and all he needs to do to do that is PASS English and Economics. He can fail the other two. Of course there is no way he is going to fail one of them, because it is just a TA hour and he can usually just nap then. The fourth class is something that is incredibly easy. He can get the work done in class and still have time to be bored silly. So his grades will be okay.

And now it is a challenge. He's 18 and he shouldn't have to go to school if he doesn't want to. They can't make him. He asked if he couldn't excuse himself and I told him that the school doesn't make that as easy as they used to. I have no idea what they require for him to get permission to do that, but he could find out and let me know.

So this morning, when I learned he wasn't going at all, I went back to the kitchen and made some tea. I remembered when Carl did this and when David did. I wore myself out with being angry and frustrated and trying to make them see reason. I met with the dean of students. I talked with social workers. I am sure I cried.

I realized bow differently I felt about it this time. I am sort of interested to see how this was going to go. Instead of thinking "OH NO! What if he doesn't graduate? What will he do? How can I make him behave differently?" I was  thinking "Thank goodness he is doing this whole rebellion thing with the school and not me! I wonder if I should send them a thank-you note?"

And then I giggled.