Friday, 7 June 2013

Old School vs New School

I don't usually discuss my children's coming and goings in public - they aren't that keen and you very quickly become a 'child bore' but as this incident effected all of us (except the other 2 kids of course - it was barely noticed in their busy lives) I think I can safely write about this from my perspective and call it 'a parenting experience', also it makes the lad look pretty cool and he is all for spreading the news of  his awesomeness by whatever means available.

It had been a funny week, short work weeks always throw me out and not only can I never remember what day it is, I feel like I have lived them all more than once. So while suffering 'Public Holiday Disorientation' I received a phone call from the school's deputy head advising my boy had a cut knee and probably shouldn't bike home, no biggie. After school we asked the boy what had happened to his knee and the following is the situation as we understand it and two different ways in which to deal with it - one is how my old school would have handled it when I was at primary and the other is how todays school dealt with it.

The Situation


Lunchtime at school, the class are outside munching away when Boy A decides to undo the blade from someone else's pencil sharpener and remove the blade. In the interests of science he wants to know 1, Does the blade cut? - yes, it does,  2, Do the cuts hurt? -yes, just a little bit and 3, Do the cuts bleed? - again yes, but not a lot as several cuts on his arm testify. He then decides to take the  experiment one step further - Does the blade have the same result on skin other than his own? - the answer is again yes, yes indeed it does as Boy B's leg is most certainly cut and bleeding a little although Boy A can't be sure of the pain level as Boy B is staunch. That's what happens when you are 10, bored and being a douche (new school) or a dork (old school). Boy B decides a plaster is in order and walks into the classroom looking for one but he can't find any so heads back out to finish his lunch. It is at this point the adults see the blood and get involved.

Old School Resolution.


As this never happened at my school that I was aware of (something this minor wouldn't even have blipped on my radar) I am making this up or in grown up speak 'giving my best guess scenario'.

Teacher sees Boy B and asks what he thinks he is doing inside at lunchtime (ie interrupting his quiet time). Boy B explains Boy A cut him and he now requires a plaster. Teacher advises Boy B to go to the office and get one then goes to see Boy A to get the lowdown (very old school). When the teacher sees the little blade he removes it from Boy A, calls him an idiot and returns to the classroom to continue eating his own lunch in peace. End of story, nothing to see here folks.

New School Resolution.


Boys A & B are sent to the deputy head to explain what has happened - easy really, Boy A cut Boy B because he had disengaged his brain as it was lunch time and the experiment had seemed like a good idea at the time. Then both sets of parents are notified and it gets really new school.

I can't be sure about Boy A's parents but Boy B's mother received the news via mobile phone on a busy street, in the rain with a woolly hat on making the receiving of quality information impossible, all she knew was her boy had a cut that may or may not need medical treatment and he wasn't in trouble - that's a relief then - the news can be so much worse when the deputy head phones. There was also the request for 'input about how to proceed with boy A' which sounded like a potential minefield so mother B defers the decision until 'both parents of Boy B can have a discussion'. The parents of  Boy B never really have that discussion however. Father B dresses the wound as he is good at that and mother B aims a few relevant questions at Boy B to get more background on the incident as she is good at that. Parents' B then put the children to bed and watch the final of Masterchef as they are equally talented at watching cooking shows. All good there.

The next morning Boy B does is civic duty on road patrol before school while mother B pops into the classroom to ask the teacher to excuse Boy B from P.E until his cut has healed and is greeted by the class teacher and the deputy head who clear the classroom of pupils leaving mother B feeling - 1, like she is infectious and 2, totally unprepared for any kind of official school business as parents B had failed to come to any conclusion the previous night other than agreeing that this years Masterchef title went to a worthy winner. Mother B has to wing it, luckily she has a small talent for this as she is often unprepared and it is often due to her larger talent for watching cooking shows on TV. She begins by stating that Boy A's parents are lovely people (this is not made up, they really are lovely people and the truth is always a good place to start when winging it) and they are sure to impose a penalty on their boy so 'lets not punish him twice', or something like that anyway. Thinking that was the end of it mother B prepares to leave but is then asked if she consents to meeting with the parents of Boy A which was a total curveball but mother B gamely agrees so she can set their minds at rest that Boy B was still attached to his leg and is such a tough cookie he was, as they spoke, bravely protecting the innocent at the school crossing (Boy B is old school tough) while she kept an eye on the time so as not to be late for work.

Mother B received a major shock when family B arrived into the office for a private meeting, they had clearly not been watching Masterchef the night before but had instead been up all night emotionally wringing themselves out over the situation - their child had self harmed and cut another child which does sound bad when you say it like that but family B saw it more as a kind of normal thing for kids to mess about with pencil sharpeners, compasses and the like - stationery can provide hours of schoolroom entertainment when the maths gets just too hard as plenty of my old school generation will attest to.

With family A obviously giving the situation far more thought then family B mother B was a little panicked and unsteadied from her previous position - had family B under reacted and publically  exposed their slack parental care? Mother B proceeded with a couple of badly aimed light hearted comments which, considering the audience were never going to fly but it did buy her some time to think and wonder if she ought to ask for a suspension or something - what is new school discipline anyway? It was obvious Boy A showed genuine remorse and the parents were living in fear of their son being forever known as 'The Schoolyard Slasher' and mother B insisting that he should be used as the class dartboard so all the kids could join in the fun with a game of 'divider darts' (remember dividers? Two holes for the effort of one, brilliant). The emotionally charged room put mother B off her stride a little but alls well that ends well with an agreement to 'learn the lesson and move on' which brought on sighs of relief all round - school, family A and mother B who was in danger of missing her bus.

Boy B is now almost completely healed and managed to 1, Collect another scar to show off (he didn't even have to make any effort to get this one - it shouldn't really count), 2, Has proved once and for all that he is the toughest kid in class (possibly the school - we will have to wait until the end of the year to see if anyone overtakes him for the title of  'toughest cookie') 3, Proved himself to be the most clear headed and mature of all the characters in the story and all whilst heading further up the awesomeness scale - he is pure gold that kid.

As for Boy A -  his parents had a lot more 'family discussions' in store for him and that seems punishment enough. He did write two letters of apology - one to Boy B and one to parents B who read it together and were very pleased to hear that Boy A 'never intended to hurt Boy B that badly', hhhmmmm.