So today, I have a teenager off school on a five day suspension. Why is he suspended, you may ask? Oh, nothing really. He just made a "Hit List" and passed it around the bus so other kids could add the names of people they don't like to the one's my kid already had on there.
He is lucky to have only been suspended for five days. It could have been much worse; police called, expelled, suspended for the rest of the year. The reason it wasn't worse is that his principal knows what I know: that this kid would not hurt anyone, but like most immature 13 year olds, he likes to act tough. Yes, the principal has to figure out who the other kids were who added names and deal with them too.
Of course, back in my day (here is where I sound old), it was nothing for kids to make a list and title it "Kids I don't like" and add names. Which is essentially what this kid did. But when you call it a "Hit List" in the wake of an era of school shootings, it becomes a whole 'nother ball game. The school has to act. They have no choice. Even though I believe that 9 times of out 10 something along these lines means nothing more than a kid shooting off their mouth on a piece of paper. But for the possibility of that 10th time, every time has to be taken seriously. The world is so different from when I grew up. When I grew up, the teachers still had power to discipline, but now we have taken all that away but still expect the schools to maintain control.
No, not everyone will agree with that statement, but I do. Healthy fear of authority is not a bad thing and look at the stunts kids are pulling today. School shootings were unheard of when I was a kid, though we still had kids and we still had guns. We also had discipline. In school. And at home. Now parents are working twice as much and kids are expected to raise themselves because we don't want the teachers doing it. Fine mess we've gotten ourselves into.
Anyway, the teenager is here at work with me, reading 1st Corinthians 13 (Thanks, Margaret! Great idea!) writing what it means to him and how a "Hit List" does not comply with those teachings. He will also be writing his principle a thank you note and then if he still has time, he'll be writing about the kids he put on his list, what they do to make him angry and how he can better handle it in the future. This afternoon we pick up homework, so he will have that to do next week. At home, he'll be picking up several extra chores to keep him busy for the remainder of the day.
I want him to wish he was at school.
He knows he did a stupid thing. He gets it. I just don't want him to ever forget it.