03
Nov
11

Why I am a Highschool Dropout

I have not written since the beginning of last year. Since then I have gotten through a year of highschool, then a quarter of a year of highschool, then left highschool.

Hm. I don’t know what to say.

Hm. I haven’t sorted out for myself why exactly I have dropped out. Hm. A year and a half worth’s of thought is difficult to encompass here.

I know what I am going to do now, however. I am going to go to community college for two years and try to transfer to the Art Institute.

I have no clue what I want to do with this blog. None. Whatsoever.

Does anyone want to read my blog anymore? I’m still interested in education.

23
Aug
10

Time to drop some f-bombs

Welcome to 9th grade. Highschool. Your first period: Air Force ROTC. Well, that’s my first period.

Oh my god. Of all the things that I thought could go wrong I had never foreseen this happening.

The day began, like most first school days begin, no one knows what your homeroom is. My school has 3,000 students. I had three possible homerooms. Remember at the beginning of this blog, back on 8th grade, I talked about the confusing alphabetical order system? It turns out that it is some sort of legal requirement for all the schools out there. From the chart that was hung up in the school my best guess was to go either to “Cooper 1” or “Cooper 2” or there was the possibility that I would have to go to a homeroom somewhere in the “S’s” because of the hyphenated second part of my last name.

So, anyway, after the homeroom shuffle, when it was time to go to first period, and in my schedule it read as “Aerospace Science” — which was listed under room 014 — which I searched quite diligently for, until I finally asked a teacher where it was. I was told it was on the ROTC Hallway, the one place I had decided not to look.  You see, I had not signed up for ROTC, and I could not imagine any classes of mine taking place in it.  I am a strong conscientious objector and in three years, when the government has decided that I am old enough go off and die (but god forbid I take a drink while doing so), I am going to point to this blog, and to the time when I was seven and a reporter in Montgomery, Alabama interviewed me at a protest of war, and I am going to show them all the pictures of me at other anti-war protests, and I am going to say that “all war is immoral” — except for maybe class-war, which is a war without guns. Other kids who are reading this: you should do your best while you still can to prove now your contempt for all war because it’s only so long before you and I get inspected, detected, injected, neglected, and SELECTED for war. Unlike how I take care of my homework you should do your best; diligently work at this, do not put it off. I AM A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR.

I’m going to take a stand. I am going to go the, I think it’s the guidance office, and demand a schedule change, on the basis that I did not sign up for ROTC, and even if I did my parents would not let me stay in ROTC, and I can’t even believe it’s legal for these people to put me in ROTC without my parents written consent. Since I didn’t sign up for it, I was told, the only way I could end up here is if a guidance counselor had signed me up for it. This doesn’t make sense. How can a guidance counselor, whom I’ve never talked to, sign me up for a program for which there is moral debate, without my parents knowledge? I don’t even have a RIGHT to sex education. My parents have to sign for the school’s version of that. Maybe there is something in my record, written down, talking about how I need some form of discipline. I don’t feel too safe…

My math teacher is a dick again. His name isn’t Richard. His name is O’Donnel. And just him opening his mouth makes you rather hear his nails on the chalkboard. Not only that, the guy is allergic to hand moisturizer.  What a bizarre allergy. What’s up with people who are good at math and really bizarre allergies? And not only that, but this is my 3rd time taking Algebra; this time because of a computer error, which makes me hate every moment. I would rather be in Geometry. It’s at least a new subject. Maybe I can do something about this class too.

Otherwise the rest of my day was kind of like watching a B movie. Although not unpleasant, nothing surprising, and the jokes were in bad taste.

My lunch time is surprisingly similar to middle school, except despite the fact that there are three times more students in the room, it is quieter. At the beginning and the end the administrators use the loudspeakers, but they don’t abuse us. We still can’t stand up unless we have a reason that is acceptable to the staff (one of whom, who thank god didn’t have a loudspeaker — just went around sweating and yelling at some students for ipod use — and is really annoying), but at least we can do it more than twice.

After school me and my friends went down to a local restaurant, Generous Joe’s, and caused a big raucous. At least a few people did. Two people wasted a whole lot of catsup. That thing I said about bone-heads still applies — in highschool too.  Generous Joe’s is not McDonalds and also, wasting catsup all over a plate anywhere is just disgusting and rude.  I didn’t tell them that at the time, but at least a couple of them will be reading this blog — so yeah Danny, I’m calling you out on this one. Don’t spray catsup on your plate, spray it in the JR ROTC hallway.

16
Jun
10

180ish Days Later

The school year is finally over. I got a free T-Shirt. People sign them. Someone wrote on mine “Shut-Up!”

A lot of my friends were telling me that the last day of school has a lot of fights and can be awfully hectic.  Last year two people got into a knife fight. My friends told me to not do anything crazy, which is to say anything I normally do. Like: wear rainbow colored socks (which I did today and I rolled up my pants to show them better) and talk about how stupid the school is and that the majority of administrative staff are a bunch of bone heads (maybe they were afraid the administrative staff would staff would stab me?). I also point out how the students are awfully bone-headed at times too though. They are constantly calling things “gay”, which I have talked about already, and they beat the crap out of each other over things like scuffing each other’s shoes. I talked today too. Stab wounds on me: zero. Bruises: zero. My nose remains unbroken.

Over the course of the year I did no more than 12 homework assignments. My GPA is a 3.0, which is a B. This upsets my friends and just about everyone else to no end. I guess I learned some things. I learned something about people, or people-wannabes, and that the fact is this: yes, they do exist. There are people out there who want to be people but they just can’t help but be inhumane.

About the last day: at the beginning of the day the principal announced that people were not allowed to turn on their TV for the whole day, which was about the World Cup, and about how teachers were not allowed to let us watch it during class. Mrs Golden, the principal, makes similar announcements, telling us who needs to come to the office, who is coming back from the office, who needs to pull their pants up, who needs to get out of the hallway, and how that the last two days of school were not going to be just fun and games, that we are expected to do our work (despite how many times she shrieked at us from above, making it impossible to think).  During first and second period, however, I and my class watched Chile show Honduras who’s boss. The teachers did not do what they had the complete and total moral right to do, however, and that is beat up our principal and intimidate her with sharp objects even though she acted the same way she has all year too, which is to say, crazily.  Well, she’s retiring anyway. She got the big Shut-Up T-shirt, just like me.

There were a lot of fights today. I guess people have a sort of end of the world mentality the last day of school.  After school my mother took me to the Mexican bakery we like and we bought several very delicious pastries. I think if the world was ending I would be found eating Mexican pastries.

Just to wrap up loose ends of the year and share a few thoughts I was too lazy to share before: the Gazette never did respond to my letter. At a school board hearing we learned that the principal of my school said, in writing, that she hates — “hates” — a bullied asthmatic sixth grade girl because the girl’s mother was asking that she actually do something about the situation with her kid. The mother was there to talk about this, but the school board did not seem very surprised. I also learned at that hearing that Tarkington Elementary uses weighted vests to make some children sit still.

I decided this year I want to be a teacher.

At the Labor Notes convention in Detroit, the new Ho-Town (Mo-Town has a lot of strip clubs now), I went to a teachers union workshop and learned that yes, everything is just as doomed as I thought it was.  Everyone was talking about how schooling is just impossible, administrators give everyone a really hard time, Wal-Mart is making money off the education system (the stock market and the public school system formed some sort of satanic pact I don’t understand), and that charter schools, which are anti-union, will one day take over the world.  During the question and answer session I pointed out that students really should have some involvement in the teacher’s union. Also, I don’t like it that students are viewed more as a natural resource than as human beings. They responded with things like how that was a very good point and that it was rarely raised. One of the teachers there said they she often tried to engage her students in union activities and that several of them were very helpful.

To sum up the end of the year: it was an interesting, loud, and very “educational” experience. I plan to spend my summer at the pool and maybe teaching small children at Peace Camp that no, it is not a good idea to pull out other people’s teeth unless you are a dentist.

10
Mar
10

Terrorist Genesis One

Today at school two of my classmates were called to the office twice to be told that they had begun a career in terrorism. As the story goes one of the two students owns a book called Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction and it’s like The Dangerous Book For Boys (which is sold at Costco) and all that. It’s basically for teaching the making of non-lethal firearms to mess around with in your backyard.  This is all because being male in the US is about enjoying firing some sort of projectile out of some sort of canon. I think we can guess that The Daring Book For Girls does not teach stuff like this, though I might be wrong.

Alas, alas, my classmates made a small pencil firing crossbow in science one day, which is perfectly scientific. The people who work for Lockheed Martin are scientists. And they messed around with it, firing at their notebooks, and now, about a month later, they were called into the office. There were several people playing with the pencil crossbow, but only two of them were punished. They were told they were “suitable for expulsion” for their actions a month ago. And that “this is probably how most terrorists got their start.”

I thought most terrorists got their start when their families were killed or had seen their house reduced to rubble by a US stealth bombing or affected by any other organized violence.  This is like my “why does the principle think that all boys are waiting to be rapists?” argument.  Nobody is just dying to kill or hurt everybody, unless they have serious psychological issues. If you find yourself wanting to hurt people, please see a therapist. Let me be the first to tell you that that is messed up. And I think even most of those messed up people can’t have too many impulses to just destroy the world.

Maybe this is more like how all US presidents get their start. Even you, Obama! I know about Afghanistan.

Why is this knowledge so dangerous? I mean, yeah, I guess nobody wants a pencil launched at them by rubber-band power. But they were launching them at notebooks. Yeah, one of them flew across the room. Accidents happen. But that was one of the funnest science classes I’ve ever had. And I’ve taken this subject equivalent to five times.  Nothing else seems to be offered. I could write a song in the form of the curriculm.

I guess my real question is why are such stupidly dangerous people in charge of our school system? I mean the administrators here. My teachers are OK. We’re all in this mess together.

09
Jan
10

We want education but we want scarves too.

I’ve developed a new plan. This is to send a letter to my school asking to allowed to bring a tape recorder into the lunchroom. My plan is to either post the response saying “no” or post what it sounds like in my cafeteria and send it to my local newspaper.  Or…do all three.

Something that has come to my concern is the bringing of escorts to my school. This was threatened by my principle several days ago. I thought prostitution was illegal. My principle doesn’t seem like the kind of person who breaks laws frequently. But she says our teachers need to become escorts. haven’t our teachers done enough for us this year?

Actually, the threat is that our teachers are going to take us from class to class, like in elementary school. Students are frequently in the hallway when the bell rings. I’ve barely escaped the hall sweeps once or twice. Kids are either just messing around or using the bathroom, neither of which is allowed. In fact, we are barely allowed to go to the bathroom at all. It’s kind of like a sweat shop in the 19th century, before unions. We should have a student’s union.

And now for something completely different. I wear this rainbow scarf and I’ve worn it for quite some time. At school and on my bus. I am secure in my manhood. I’ve worn it in front of my bus driver. Now, one day I accidently left my scarf on my bus and some people were messing around with it and tossing it around. It’s a cool scarf. It’s good for stuff like that. My bus driver got mad and threw it away. Later, the next day, I saw my scarf in the bus trash can and asked, out of politeness, “may I have my scarf?” My bus driver said no. I was surprised. And she said, “That’s not your scarf.” I said, “but it is my scarf. I’ve worn it in front of you several times.” We went back and forth about this and then she just kicked me off the bus, scarfless.

I came home and told my mother the whole story and we called the bus lot. The bus lot manager made it sound like the bus driver might be in trouble and I would get my scarf back. Then, later in the day, after my bus driver had returned to the bus lot we were called by the manager and she said “that’s not your son’s scarf” to my mother. She said it was a little girl’s scarf. My mother said, “it’s a rainbow scarf, right?” And she said it was. My mother said it was my scarf. And then they went back and forth about whether or not it was a little girl’s scarf. Finally, the bus manager said, “oh alright.” We’ll give you…ahem…son’s scarf back.

The next day I got my scarf back, from the trash can, except now it had tire tracks and oil stains and smelled like bleach. It had tears at the seams. My bus driver said she knew the little girl who’s scarf that was. I was wondering then, “why then did you run it over?” She said the little girl was mad at me and I was going to be called by this little girl and her family, as they were very angry at me. I said, ok. So far, no call. And a good thing, because the scarf was totaled. They’d be really mad!

We’ve washed it and I’m figuring out how to repair it. But, to those of you who wear rainbow scarves, let this be a lesson to you, don’t lose them. A psychotic bus driver will be waiting for you.

08
Dec
09

I get up at 5am

It’s not natural: http://www.parent-teen.com/yourbody/sleep.html or healthy.

The reason I get up at 5:00 is to get to school on time (7:30 — like the article says) because my school is an hour away by public bus and I’m glad I have that option because my school bus runs more like two hours. School times in my county are staggered because the school busses have no money and they have to take kids to lots of different schools.

How ironic that our Nobel Peace Prize winning commander in chief is sending more soldiers to Afghanistan. I wore my green and white “No Afghan War” button today to school. And my stocking cap, but that only brought me peace. Seriously, there’s like no oil or anything there. It’s just like a poor country. Maybe it’s like Dr. Strangelove, where they decide to have a war just because they accidently started a war. Go figure.

I wonder what 14 year old Afghan boys think about.

21
Nov
09

paper weight

My letter has not been published. Either they haven’t read it or they don’t want to post it. Maybe they are afraid that people wouldn’t like it. I don’t know how I feel about that. Paper wait.

By the way, I never look at my Facebook account, so you shouldn’t look at it. The last time I was on was over a year ago.  I checked my email (I don’t do that very often either) and an there an awful lot of friend requests. I’m sorry. If you want to talk to me, call me.

I’d like to thank Sam for sending a donation to my school. It was a whole lot of something. That was very nice.

I had this weird, violent moment that was a lot of fun the other day. I fell off my seat on the bus and landed on the floor below it and no one would let me stand back up. I couldn’t stop laughing. They threw my stuff at me. That was great. My bus ride is fun.

I just remembered that at Antietam they have a giant bullet made of stone. It’s like the size of my upper body. That’s a really big bullet. I was thinking about bus trips, and my old school, and our trip to Antietam. It too was a lot of fun. I think people threw stuff at me there too.

Also, at my current school, after Thanksgiving there will be this bizarre thing called “Hawk Sweeps” where, after the late bell, all the teachers close and lock their doors, and if you don’t have a pass, a group of adults will be searching the hallways and they will round everyone up and take them to the office and, I don’t know…stab them? I’m probably going to be caught in one of these. I am sometimes late to class. I forget whether it’s A day or B day, which determines which classes you have, so I’m always going to the wrong class and they are on opposite sides of the building. If you are reading this and you are one of my teachers, or some other adult at my school, please don’t stab me, OK? Deal? That’s not fun violence. Maybe, if it’s not hard, you can throw something at me.

At my glass blowing class I’ve made a paper weight. It’s kind of ugly. The colors are really dull. Being in a glass blowing class is a lot of fun though.  I did nearly burn my hand off the other day, but that’s OK. I still have my hand. The teachers are really nice. I feel respected, not like how I feel about my principle at school. I take this class at the DC Glassworks, which is in an industrial park.  I’ve taken lots of art classes where the students are adults and kids. And the class is always really fun.  I wonder why. Maybe, at my school, no one has any respect for anyone else. I learn better when I feel respected. 

This winter I will teach my mother how to throw a pot. Not at someone! She already knows how to do that. I am going to show my mother how to use a pottery wheel without hurting someone, including herself. Or her pot. I’m not going to yell at my mother. This is so she doesn’t just hate me and resist everything I tell her to do because then we would get nowhere.

Thank you Jamie and Marsha for writing to me. It makes me feel good that people read my blog. When I look at the “stats” for my blog and I see that people have been reading it I feel excited. I feel that I’m influencing people about how they treat children.

So, I’m sorry. I never write back. But I really like it when you write me. Uncle Tommy, Gabe, Jeff, Diana and people I don’t really know who have written me really good, long letters, I thought about what you said to me and I felt respected even when you were arguing with me.  Thanks! And that’s it!




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