Archive for the 'School' Category

04
Nov
09

A Letter To The Editor

This was sent to the Prince George’s County Gazette today. If you want to write a letter too, please do. Send it to: letters@gazette.net

Our public school system is messed up. We seem to have education confused with the military. Students are exposed to drilling and demands of constant obedience. “Smart people” are obedient.

This year I started Hyattsville Middle School where at lunch, for instance, administrative staff stand at the podium every day and scream at us. They demand we sit down, be quiet. This makes me angry and I can’t work because I spend all day thinking about just how loud it is at my school and how upset I am.  It’s not the kids who are loud. It’s the adults.

Even teachers seem to think some of our many rules are distracting. As an example, students may not wear anything with a lining. It’s cold. Why can’t we wear normal clothes? No one knows why. My teachers all say it isn’t them and they don’t care about sports jackets. I think about this, not Algebra. 

My principle is Ms. Golden. She is responsible for the rules at my school. She yells at children. I have never seen her speak in a normal tone of voice. My father witnessed her humiliating a girl who was wearing a sleeveless shirt. Ms. Golden told her it was dangerous, that boys would want to rape her. I’m confused. Why would I want to rape anyone? Don’t you have to be messed up to want to rape someone? I thought the whole idea was that rapists were people with serious problems.

I started a blog named after the song “Alice’s Restaurant” if you want to read more about my school.  It’s at cafetoriumac.wordpress.com.

Our school system needs change, desperately. I’m going  to one of the “best” public schools in the county and I can’t eat my lunch without being told I’m an idiot, or walk down the hall without being a rapist, or be warm and not be a terrorist.

Those of you who think I’m a troublemaker are right maybe. But I’m a kid and I need your help. Other kids are scared, or just used to being treated like this, so they don’t write to ask you.

Advertisements
26
Oct
09

I’m not dead yet

In the past few weeks I have decided to do these things:

  1. Rebel against a certain rule in my school
  2. Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about the yelling at lunch, which continues three months into the school year
  3. Attempt to lobby for funding for schools across the US

The first item on my to-do list I started three days ago.  The rule is that anything worn above the waist may not have a lining.  Are we a kosher school? Not that I’m aware of.  Anyway, so you may not wear any outdoor jacket, even if it does not in fact have a lining, because they’ll just guess it does and they are always right.  I’m wearing my jacket to school every day. I tell other kids to leave their jackets on too.  And when the principle tries to take them away I say, “Don’t do it.”  Goodbye cruel world. I have not gotten in trouble because the only people who care, the principle and the vice-vice-vice principle, have yet to see me in Fall attire. Sometimes it’s too hot. My teacher and the vice-vice principle saw me and they told me to take off my jacket and I said I couldn’t do that, but they said that if I got in trouble so would they. I felt sorry for them and I took the jacket off — for them.  Every teacher I talk to about this issue says they think it’s silly.

I am going to write the letter to the editor today. It will be on my blog soon. Goodbye cruel world.  Part of my letter is about my protest of the yelling a few weeks ago where I held a sign up at lunch that said “Please give respect. Please don’t yell.” “Whose yelling?” said the vice-principle at the podium, but then he took his eyes off me to yell at another student. When I held up the sign it was like I was holding up the head of Satan. Some kids covered their eyes and leaned back and were screaming, “Put it down!” Some of them tugged on my arm. The entire cafeteria looked at me through their fingers and it seems like everyone knows my name now. Everywhere I go kids say, “Hi, Mac.” But the teachers still call me Thomas. The principle calls me Thomas, as opposed to “young man.”  The vice-principle knows my name is Mac. As does the vice-vice. Let’s hope the information never passes down to the vice-vice-vice, one of the 137 fallen angels.

My final act is still in the planning stages. So far it involves screaming at the White House. By the way — trivia: over 50% of US tax dollars go to our military budget. Before a nurse called my mother and told her to pick up Thomas today (I was sick; I think I have an ulcer) I was talking to the two nurses about how our schools need more funding so we don’t have to sell stupid fake jewelry just to buy toilet paper. They said, “Well, you can try to do that…” And I said “Sure, I think I will.”

And, hey, my birthday has passed. I’ve lived on this planet 14 years. I’ve lived on Jupiter 128.

12
Sep
09

Today was September 11th

Today when I went to school, in homeroom, when I got there, the TV was on and it was the weird school broadcast that comes on every day. But after that ended Mr. Cutler, the Parent Liason and sort of Vice-Vice-Principle started talking about 9-11. He went on for a little while. Then we were shown this bizarre montage of 9-11 in New York. And then he talked about 9-11 in the DC area and then we saw another montage about the single tower, called the “Freedom Tower,” that is going to replace the Twin Towers. Then after that two poems were read by Mr. Cutler and someone who is in some of my classes.  After that we had a small moment of silence. Then the normal day started. I was pissed off.

I was pissed off for two reasons. One, no one talked about the United States retaliation with the “War on Terror,” except for once, but that was in a tone of “that was the right thing to do” and not at all about the amount of deaths that occurred because of that. And number two, which is, the day before I refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. And several days beforehand.

The school counselor called my parents the first day. During 5th “mod(ule)” two days ago I was confronted by my homeroom teacher. He told me I was giving someone a hard time. I asked him about what. He said in homeroom. That’s all he said. I thought for about a minute. And said, “Oh, you mean the Pledge of Allegiance.” He said “Yes, now why do you refuse to stand up for it?” I said “for political reasons.” I am an anti-nationalist. I do not believe nationalism, or patriotism, is any system that anyone should be running — especially on children. If someone has direct sort of sworn loyalty to any massive group of people then their kind of getting rid of a lot of their personal freedoms, like now you are expected to volunteer in the draft. As an example I told him to think about Nazi Germany, which was extremely nationalistic.

There is an insulting poster in my cafeteria. It says, “A rainbow of cultures all under one destiny.” These words circle a globe; the only land-mass in the globe is the United States of America. Can you explain which fascist did this?

So, my mother told this teacher and the guidance counselor that she wouldn’t say the pledge either because she is a pacifist. My father looked up whether or not there are legal circumstances which force me to say this pledge and there aren’t. My friend Sam sent me his blog piece about the pledge and him: http://husseini.org/2008/07/independence-from-nationalism.html

So, back to being pissed off about September 11th, which still I am. My teacher told me that I should stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance because people DIED for me to have the freedom that I do. But many people died in 9-11 and the events that caused it and it caused and I didn’t have to stand up for them. I just had to sit still for a little while like I normally do in class.

We were given a small project, to make a “Freedom Flag” or something like that. We were all given little sheets of paper where we would write a poem or draw something that was then going to be laminated onto the flag. Mine was Mark Twain’s proposal for a new American Flag. All the stars are replaced with crossbones and the white stripes are now in black. It’s in a People’s History of the United States. Mark Twain spent the last years of his life protesting the Filipino War.

This poster is in the office of my school:

Evil Poster

This is going to be kind of boring for me.  At Back To School Night, two days ago, my mother came with me to meet my teachers. I’m going to skip most of it and cut straight to the chase. After the actual Back To The School Night had occurred, me, Mr. Jones (the school counselor), my mother, my homeroom and 5th mod teacher, and my English teacher talked about me and how I’m not sued to this sort of environment. At times I might think we are doing something wrong. The way we spoke about things I felt was a little unnerving, like I had some sort of problem. But I also felt like they all cared about me.

Almost all of my teachers look like and act like they came from a working-class background. After our talk with everyone me and my mother talked about how my teachers are oppressed people too. This made me feel a little guilty and sympathetic. My teachers must see me as either odd or confused or a little bit of both. 

Today on the bus some kid said that America is the “stupidest, gayest nation there is.” I screamed “HOMOPHOBE!” The person next to me joined me. We pointed out that homophobia is a stupid and terrible thing. We pretty much made him feel really bad.

That’s all I got for today.

01
Sep
09

Human Traffic

Above view

Above view

I built this piece (“Human Traffic”) for BrickFest 2009 in Virginia/DC. I named it Human Traffic because it’s about people who self-enslave themselves so that they may live in a Utopian society free of all the dangers of emotions. The “traffic” comes from how there is supposed to be whole line of people moving slowly, traffic, and also they are self-enslaved, trafficked.  It’s funny that I made this out of Legos because Lego is a giant corporation but also it’s a toy, meant to make people happy.
I made this before school started. Now that school has started I’m kind of frightened by the similarities between the art piece and my school. I never really went to public school for too long before. I went to a Sudbury school, then I was homeschooled, then I went to a Friend’s school. That school went bankrupt, and at the Sudbury school you could hurt someone and get away with it unless enough people really did feel that it was wrong,  so I am now in public school. At the Sudbury school democracy ate itself up because people weren’t really concerned about other people’s feelings. At public school it’s the same thing on a broader scale. Because our society cares so much about security and because what should really be used as funding for good things is used for the military our schools don’t have enough money and the people that run them aren’t paid enough and get stressed out and they frequently believe in a militaristic society. Our schools have no democracy, just like the Sudbury school had no democracy really, but also because of democracy. We live in a democracy and these are the schools we have made. I don’t want to get rid of democracy but people need to care about other people for it to work.
At the Quaker school the teachers really cared about all the students. There was freedom, but not really democracy though. I liked that better than complete democracy with no one really caring about anyone else.
Worker
Worker

 Computers destroy emotions. “Lol” means you have stopped laughing. I would like to have physical work. No one has physical work in my city. 

No one has physical work at my school either. My school is faceless office work training.

Ghostly reflection

Ghostly reflection

This photo makes everyone look like a ghost, sort of transparent. Everyone is dead. Or good as dead. But they are not vampires. They are plastic.
Shadows of flowers

Shadows of flowers

The flowers are there to point out that the world still exists even if no one wants to see it again.

At my school we are not allowed to go outside beyond the fenced-in temps and the school field. It reminds me of an internment camp. There is barbed wire on the fences. The temps are trailers. They look like standard buildings in an internment camp. Colorless, all the blinds are closed. It is silent for the most part, till come lunch, then we are screamed at and insulted.

31
Aug
09

My favorite school activity is staring out the window

My ride home from school is really one of the funnest things about my school. I take that back. It is THE funnest thing about my school. I take the bus.

It’s how I socialize with new friends.

But, now I have to do my homework. I have no time to blog.

But I have a question to people out there. Do you have any idea where you would keep a Scantron inside a school building? I’ve never seen one.  I don’t know anything about how it would look. Whnever I imagine it I think of a gigantic tower that goes up into the ceiling with all kinds of gears and wires that makes all kinds of weird noises. Something God-like.

28
Aug
09

One of these days I’m going to go to school in a robot costume

So, TODAY the other thing was that I had my first assembly. The principle wasn’t speaking, neither was the vice-principal, or any parent liaison, or anyone I have EVER seen before. It was some weird salesman guy. What he wanted us to do was to sell weird candy bars and cheap jewelry to fundraise for the school and if you make a certain amount of sales you make a certain amount of money.

When I started to tell my mother about this she asked, “Oh, was this some JR ROTC thing?” And I said, “No, that’s the next assembly.”

Yesterday I was at a community house because my friend was thinking about moving in. The bumpersticker said, “It will be a glorious day when schools have all the money they need and the airforce has to have a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

What my school needs is funding and anti-depressants.

28
Aug
09

It is a moral injustice to teach art with a textbook

Today in my “art” class at my “arts” magnet school I had to test in to and submit a portfolio for (with six pieces of my work) I was confronted with a textbook. I looked down at it and I read its title, which I now don’t remember, I looked at the student next to me and asked, “What the hell is this?”

“Is this a textbook?”

A: “Yeah, it’s a textbook.”

I stared at it a long time. I was flabbergasted.

You see, you can’t teach art with a textbook because art is a creative thing and a textbook is the very absence of creativity. It’s there so you don’t have to think up your own way of doing things. Instead of a textbook you should just be able to talk to artists and explain what you did and you can look at their art work. I think the textbook must be required by state law or county law. This really depresses me.

Yesterday I drew closing stitches all over my arm. I looked like a badly repaired teddy bear. My mother says it’s kind of cute. My teachers were not amused. Neither was anyone else in the entire building. They would all say, ‘What’s on your arm?” They had this tone like I had a large amount of jelly or blood was running down my arm. I was really confused for the longest time. And then I finally understood and I said, “Oh, you mean the drawing?” It’s like, don’t you draw on yourself too, or did you ever draw on yourself? And they would all just look at me like I had committed some sort of crime or I had chopped my arm all to pieces and sewn it back together.

I passed someone who is sort of considered to be my guidance counselor and he asked me to wash it off, but I said I couldn’t because it was permanent marker. And he said, “Well, OK, wash that off when you get home.” And then after that I was really frightened I had done something punishably wrong. And if I get punished I would get kicked out of my art class and then I would be very sad because I had to work pretty dang hard to get into an arts magnet and my neighborhood school was worse.  It was scary for one thing, which was very scary.

I also discovered yesterday these odd student of the month awards. They were for Kindness, Courage, Respect, Honesty, Trustworthiness, Citizenship. I stared at these for a while, or thought about them for a while, since I can’t “stare” at crap. I can’t even use the water fountain during the change of classes or the bathroom or talk or even think about anything.

The Courage one has some obvious issues. How can you be courageous in a system that runs on fear and get an award for it? You get suspended for courage. And then Citizenship, I wondered what they were talking about there, and then I found one of those weird posters in my school and it said “Citizenship: doing what you feel needs to be done to help your school community.” I’m even more confused now! Citizenship gets you expelled too. And then I started to also wonder about the Trustworthiness and Honesty posters. What’s the difference? Whether you say you won’t lie or whether you don’t lie? And whose to determine whose more honest or trustworthy than others? And then there’s Respect. OBVIOUSLY there was some mistake when they decided to put this one up.  Why are these student of the month awards?

The other thing I have noticed about these posters with the awards on them is that they use Microsoft Word’s Word Art for their titles. And also cheap clip art as the pictures.




October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031