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Va. School's No-Contact Rule Is a Touchy Subject
WaPo ^ | June 18, 2007 | Maria Glod

Posted on 06/18/2007 8:46:38 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative

Fairfax County middle school student Hal Beaulieu hopped up from his lunch table one day a few months ago, sat next to his girlfriend and slipped his arm around her shoulder. That landed him a trip to the school office.

Among his crimes: hugging.

All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: "NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!"

School officials say the rule helps keep crowded hallways and lunchrooms safe and orderly, and ensures that all students are comfortable. But Hal, 13, and his parents think the school's hands-off approach goes too far, and they are lobbying for a change.

"I think hugging is a good thing," said Hal, a seventh-grader, a few days before the end of the school year. "I put my arm around her. It was like for 15 seconds. I didn't think it would be a big deal."

A Fairfax schools spokesman said there is no countywide ban like the one at Kilmer, but many middle schools and some elementary schools have similar "keep your hands to yourself" rules. Officials in Arlington, Loudoun and Prince George's counties said schools in those systems prohibit inappropriate touching and disruptive behavior but don't forbid all contact.

Deborah Hernandez, Kilmer's principal, said the rule makes sense in a school that was built for 850 students but houses 1,100. She said that students should have their personal space protected and that many lack the maturity to understand what is acceptable or welcome.

"You get into shades of gray," Hernandez said. "The kids say, 'If he can high-five, then I can do this.' "

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: discipline; fairfaxcounty; pda; teens; zerotolerance
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A December 2005 article in the LA Times (about a California school) had the same cheesy pun in the title.
1 posted on 06/18/2007 8:46:42 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Our schools are run by idiots and pedants. That any student manages to navigate them with their brains still intact is a miracle.


2 posted on 06/18/2007 8:50:14 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

((just shaking my head))


3 posted on 06/18/2007 8:52:04 AM PDT by RDTF (www.imwithfred.com)
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To: Rummyfan

This is so true-how can you ask students to respect such moranic rules and the idiots who make up such rules. What happens is kids decide not to listen to or believe anything these fools tell them. Who can blame them?


4 posted on 06/18/2007 8:52:46 AM PDT by nyconse
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To: Rummyfan

I agree. You just know that some committee came up with this. And no one saw how stupid it really was.


5 posted on 06/18/2007 8:53:42 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

I suppose the varsity football team actually plays flag football to keep with the policy


6 posted on 06/18/2007 8:54:19 AM PDT by Horatio Gates (I remember when a pop-up blocker meant a cold shower.)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
Government schools are expensive baby sitters. Policies of these baby sitting institutions have been created principally to guard against those children who have been raised by parents who haven't taught their children any rules or standards.
7 posted on 06/18/2007 8:54:37 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Enoch Powell was right.)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Well, I guess “Good Touch - Bad Touch” is out the window...


8 posted on 06/18/2007 8:55:25 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Don't mistake timid driving for defensive driving.)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Then I guess swirlies are out of the question...


9 posted on 06/18/2007 8:56:20 AM PDT by dakine
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To: ClearCase_guy

Chinese School has just begun, no more laughing, no more fun. If you show your teeth or tongue, you must pay a penalty.


10 posted on 06/18/2007 8:56:23 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: massgopguy
Chinese School has just begun, no more laughing, no more fun.

I know this is tangential to your point, but I thought it worth a remark... In Chinese school classrooms, physical contact is impossible to avoid. I had the opportunity to visit a couple of high schools in PRC a few years ago. Each classroom had approx 50 students in it, and they were sitting literally shoulder-to-shoulder.

11 posted on 06/18/2007 9:00:39 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Global Warming Heretic -- http://agw-heretic.blogspot.com)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Didn’t the teacher’s union go on strike?


12 posted on 06/18/2007 9:02:51 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Rummyfan

From the county that tells you how many trees to plant in your yard. Comply or go to jail. Glad I moved.


13 posted on 06/18/2007 9:03:35 AM PDT by CJ Wolf
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

I wonder if these ridiculous rules were passed by the same people who say we need to stop going after petty criminals and that we have to let some criminals out of jail because we don’t have the people and infrastructure needed to enforce the laws.


14 posted on 06/18/2007 9:05:54 AM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Liberals are blind. They are the dupes of Leftists who know exactly what they're doing.)
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To: Rummyfan

My friend’s 12 YEAR OLD daughter had a boy walk up to her in the hall, pin her arms behind her and shove his tongue down her throat.

That’s SEXUAL ASSAULT.

Because no staff or faculty saw it, HE GOT AWAY WITH IT!

I say keep them apart.


15 posted on 06/18/2007 9:06:34 AM PDT by Mrs.Z
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To: Mrs.Z
I say keep them apart.

Mrs. Z, there's a universe of difference between sexual assault and a kid patting his buddy on the back.

16 posted on 06/18/2007 9:10:00 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Global Warming Heretic -- http://agw-heretic.blogspot.com)
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To: Mrs.Z
Because no staff or faculty saw it, HE GOT AWAY WITH IT! I say keep them apart.

How would a rule make a difference if nobody witnessed it?

17 posted on 06/18/2007 9:10:19 AM PDT by Sloth (The GOP is to DemonRats in politics as Michael Jackson is to Jeffrey Dahmer in babysitting.)
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To: Rummyfan
Our schools are run by idiots and pedants.

Our schools are controlled by idiot rabid parents, their lawyers and administers who cower down to them.

Lawyers, psychologist, activist parents, and a pacifist public have turned our public school system in to a failed social experiment.

18 posted on 06/18/2007 9:10:57 AM PDT by WesternPacific
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To: Sloth

Touching would be easier to prove and have a lighter “sentence”.

It would go on the record and maybe slow him from future garbage.


19 posted on 06/18/2007 9:12:13 AM PDT by Mrs.Z
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Here’s the email address for the principal:
Deborah.Hernandez@fcps.edu


20 posted on 06/18/2007 9:13:43 AM PDT by Shannon
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To: Mrs.Z
I say keep them apart.

Punish the individual kid, don't implement a "no thought required" policy punishing all of the kids.

Of course, doing that takes initiative, good judgment, and dedication, all qualities in short supply among school staffs these days.;)

21 posted on 06/18/2007 9:14:18 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Chances are this will only exacerbate problems the school already has. Students will go to great lengths to “touch” in private so they will not get caught.


22 posted on 06/18/2007 9:15:35 AM PDT by erikm88
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Politicians are IDIOTS and make no mistake our schools are being run by politicians not the elected kind, a kind worse than that the bureaucratic kind. But the IDIOTS in Washington want to solve every problem with another stupid law, policy, or program even though they do not have the WILL, nor the competence to enforce the laws presently on the books.So it is with the locals in charge of the public schools. I was a typical white male student who was fortunate to do very very well in school. I was in athletics and the rules were simple, what the coach said went, and if you pouted about it, you had no chance to play and if you could not submit to authority you just as well quit. I have seen the pages upon pages of policies some schools make their athletes sign off on in order to play sports, that would have killed my will to play as the basis of my participation was simply to have fun. If I am in a stupid public school today, I am dropout material because I hated unnecessary structure, pretense, and hypocrisy at an early age, and I still do.


23 posted on 06/18/2007 9:15:39 AM PDT by Biblebelter (I can't believe people still watch TV with the sound on.)
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To: Mrs.Z
Touching would be easier to prove

How on earth is that true?

24 posted on 06/18/2007 9:16:02 AM PDT by Sloth (The GOP is to DemonRats in politics as Michael Jackson is to Jeffrey Dahmer in babysitting.)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

I’m trying to imagine how this stupid rule could be enforced in any sort of human community. First, the caveat - I’m a teacher at a high school. Yes, there are conservatives who teach.

In fact, every student and teacher communicate through socially acceptable touching - a high-five, a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, that odd little touching knuckles with the fist that has become popular in the past two years around here. Done within the strictures of professional conduct, this kind of body language does a good job of improving relationships between student and teacher.

Among students themselves, there is always a flurry of touching - slapped hands, heads on shoulders, holding hands between girlfriends and boyfriends, purposeful pressing into each other while passing between classes. These actions also improve relationships, since human beings thrive on touching.

Of course we also police against typical teenage horniness, much to the discontent of the students. Tough. It’s not “Brave New World” yet. Most kids are actually good natured about our attempts to make them focus on developing their cerebral cortex instead of the gonads.

How this school can even come close to banning “no touching” is beyond me. When a kid is hurt, they want a hug. When athletes score a point, they naturally come together in a flurry of touching high-fives and slapping.

However, what this does get kids used to is an over-regulated society with rules that are irregularly enforced and unevenly applied by overzealous social engineers. Call that socialism, liberalism, the Democrat party, whatever you want. One kid I had in class called it “fascism lite.”

Just consider that all the time spent searching for kids touching each other is taken away from reading, writing, and math. *sigh*


25 posted on 06/18/2007 9:18:43 AM PDT by redpoll (redpoll)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative; patton; SoftballMominVA; dandelion; Gabz

i teach kdg and i cannot imagine even a day without
any physical contact with the kids. we give high fives
and pats on the back all of the time.


26 posted on 06/18/2007 9:22:10 AM PDT by leda (19yrs ... only 4,981yrs to go ;))
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

There is a world of difference, but I’m actually going to take the schools side on this.

Kids are abusing their freedoms in schools. My guess is there was too much wrong physical contact in the school, so the school just said no more.

I’d rather a school be strict than the opposite. My daughters were in a school that had no discipline, and it was horrible. (Of course, we switched to private which is full of reasonable people and well-disciplined kid.)


27 posted on 06/18/2007 9:22:40 AM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: Sloth

The key was the kissing/tongue thing.

Other kids saw him pin her. There were conflicting reports from the kids about whether he kissed her and how.

It basicly came down to girls VS. boys testimony.

If there had been a “no touch” rule, he would have at least had it gone on his record.


28 posted on 06/18/2007 9:22:51 AM PDT by Mrs.Z
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To: Horatio Gates
I suppose the varsity football team actually plays flag football to keep with the policy.

When I saw the topic I wondered the same thing.

3 guesses as to the team mascot.

29 posted on 06/18/2007 9:24:02 AM PDT by TYVets (God so loved the world he didn't send a committee)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

You can BET they will now have a “Zero Tolerance!” rule on touching.


30 posted on 06/18/2007 9:26:00 AM PDT by 2harddrive (...House a TOTAL Loss.....)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Two simple rules: 1) No violence 2) No affection


31 posted on 06/18/2007 9:27:55 AM PDT by Niteranger68 (Amnesty….NO MEANS NO!)
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To: redpoll

Very good analysis. I was thinking such a rule would surely turn out sociopaths. Touching is as needed in emotional development as food is for the body. This is simply more of the same......zoombie the kids so the teachers don’t have to work so hard. Sure adolescents are a pain, but it’s a time when they need more social contact, not less.


32 posted on 06/18/2007 9:28:28 AM PDT by WVNan
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To: Rummyfan
Our schools are run by idiots and pedants. That any student manages to navigate them with their brains still intact is a miracle.

So true. Zero tolerance means, we don't teach the difference between acceptable and unacceptable touching and we treat all drugs alike instead of teaching the difference between legal and illegal drugs.

33 posted on 06/18/2007 9:30:24 AM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: Mrs.Z

“Other kids saw him pin her. “

This is illegal in every state AFAIK. Call the cops. Have him charged with battery, which is unwanted physical contact. If other students saw him then it should be easy to prove.

The kissing issue is also part of the battery charge but may not be as easy to prove.

Your idea that this no-touching rule would have solved your daughter’s problem is misguided. There are already plenty of existing laws and rules to deal with his behavior.


34 posted on 06/18/2007 9:38:18 AM PDT by webstersII
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To: Mrs.Z
"Because no staff or faculty saw it, HE GOT AWAY WITH IT!"

That's why God gave girls knees, and boys sensitive groins.

And why God gave boys backsides, and parents willow switches.

35 posted on 06/18/2007 9:51:28 AM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: Rummyfan
Our schools are run by idiots and pedants. That any student manages to navigate them with their brains still intact is a miracle.

LOL. So true. I've been told by some young relatives of mine who attended public schools that they would tailor their essays, etc. to appeal to their lib teachers sensibilities, in order to "get the grade". This was relayed to me with much laughter and derision, btw.
36 posted on 06/18/2007 9:54:11 AM PDT by khnyny
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To: Mrs.Z
If there had been a “no touch” rule, he would have at least had it gone on his record.

Had it been my daughter, that kids parents would have had a personal home visit from me, her Dad...school be damned at that point.

37 posted on 06/18/2007 9:57:29 AM PDT by RockinRight (Our 44th President will be Fred Dalton Thompson!)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

The idiots and fools are winning.
This is the stupidest ruling that I’ve seen since the TSA took away a todler’s sippy cup.


38 posted on 06/18/2007 10:01:06 AM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
Deborah Hernandez, Kilmer's principal, said the rule makes sense in a school that was built for 850 students but houses 1,100. She said that students should have their personal space protected and that many lack the maturity to understand what is acceptable or welcome.

She is an idiot. Middle-schoolers lack the maturity to understand some things, but they certainly should have learned by reaching middle-school what types of physical contact are appropriate and what types are inappropriate. This is just an example of laziness on the part of administrators to implement a nonsensical policy like this.

39 posted on 06/18/2007 10:14:51 AM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

I agree that a no-touching rule strictly enforced is overkill.

But I fully support the ban on relational contact, especially in middle school. That means hand-holding, arms around, kissing, long hugs. School is for learning, not for dating. If you want to put your arms around a girl, pay for a movie ticket.

When you allow dating-type contact in the schools, it puts a lot of pressure on other children to get “partners” and engage in similar behavior in public so as not to be ostracized.

Also, some parents have rules about dating for their children, but can’t enforce those rules if schools allow dating-type contact when the schools are responsible for the children.

And since dating-type contact has nothing to do with the mission of the schools, there is no reason to allow it in the guise of “diversity” or “tolerance”. I have a right to expect that when I send my child to a public school, they will restrict activities like this.

Meanwhile, my daughter tells me about all sorts of inappropriate sexual activity at her middle school, including kids getting expelled for having sex in the bathrooms.

Any rules the schools can implement to discourage this type of contact is a good thing.


40 posted on 06/18/2007 10:18:05 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: VRWCmember

This is 6th through 8th grade. I know we hadn’t learned these lessons when I went to school in the 6th grade, although by 8th grade we were beginning to.

I’ve hung around these 6-8th graders, and they are no more mature than we were at that age, and are full of inappropriateness. Further, they are full of interest in touching, and need adult supervision to prevent them from such activities.

At home I can control touching, I can check the parents of parties my children attend, I can send my kids to activities at churches I trust to not allow dating-type activities, I can chaparone the school dances.

But I have no control over the supervision my children get at school. Since a good number of parents DO want their children refraining from touching at this age, it is appropriate for the schools to enforce such a rule, as it is a small burden for others whose parents might not care if their 11-year-olds are having sex or french-kissing in the locker rooms.


41 posted on 06/18/2007 10:22:34 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

While a “no-kissing” policy, or even a no hand-holding policy might be reasonable, the policy described in the article would also send a kid to the principal’s office for a congratulatory high-five or pat on the back after a home run in kickball during recess or for winning the class spelling bee or any other instance where a handshake, high five, or pat on the back is perfectly reasonable. That is completely idiotic.

Pre-schools, day-cares, and elementary schools ALL have to deal with issues of what kind of touching is acceptable and unacceptable. By the time a kid gets to middle school he/she is certainly capable of understanding the difference and a policy specifically against inappropriate touching CAN be implemented. Your implied dichotomy between an environment where kids are allowed to have orgies in the hallway and a strict no-touching policy is the same kind of reasoning that caused these administrators who were too lazy to think of a reasonable and workable policy to come up with this nonsense.


42 posted on 06/18/2007 10:33:40 AM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

But HOW are they gonna socialize?! So much for that arguement. Another reason to homeschool.


43 posted on 06/18/2007 10:37:48 AM PDT by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.)
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To: Mrs.Z

Maybe her father should have taught her how to take care of business. He would have trouble doing any more assaulting while writhing on the floor. And since nobody “saw” it....


44 posted on 06/18/2007 10:40:30 AM PDT by Politicalmom ("Mom, I'll be old enough to vote for Fred when he runs for his second term." -My Son. (I'm proud))
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To: nyconse
What happens is kids decide not to listen to or believe anything these fools tell them. Who can blame them?

The same thing is going to happen to those idiots in the congress if they pass this terrible amnesty law. There will be massive disobedience and CW!

45 posted on 06/18/2007 10:42:20 AM PDT by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: VRWCmember

I agree that a blanket prohibition on contact is overkill, in the article the kid who got in trouble had his arm around his girl friend in the cafeteria during lunch for OVER 15 seconds, and only took the arm off when he was caught — so there’s no indication he was going to stop.


46 posted on 06/18/2007 10:48:25 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
School officials say the rule helps keep crowded hallways and lunchrooms safe and orderly, and ensures that all students are comfortable.

No. This is to make it so the "School officials" don't have to make any enforcement judgements against truely disorderly kids. That is called real work and they aren't really into that.

47 posted on 06/18/2007 10:51:47 AM PDT by subterfuge (Today, Tolerance =greatest virtue;Hypocrisy=worst character defect; Discrimination =worst atrocity)
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To: LearsFool
Not to mention that the girl has teeth. Think what she could have done. He would've never repeated the offense.
48 posted on 06/18/2007 10:53:53 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative

Liberals are such hypocrites.

They believe and teach our kids there are no absolutes.

Then the adopt ‘zero-tolerance’ policies and enforce them zealously, that ANY offense no matter how benign is equal to the worst example they could cite.

No absolutes, yet apparently there are when they are called ‘zero tolerance’ policies.

Zero tolerance policies trash common sense and insults the intelligence of everyone except whoever thought such a policy was a good idea.


49 posted on 06/18/2007 10:55:50 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man
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To: WesternPacific
Our schools are controlled by idiot rabid parents, their lawyers and administers who cower down to them.

After having put 2 daughters through public school, I'm convinced that for your child to do well and avoid the various whims of the "officials" you better either have a brilliant child, lots of influence (lawyers, position) or a big fat checkbook to BRIBE...er, make donations with.

50 posted on 06/18/2007 10:56:28 AM PDT by subterfuge (Today, Tolerance =greatest virtue;Hypocrisy=worst character defect; Discrimination =worst atrocity)
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