Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Scribe Plays "The Happy Game"

    As we sat down and the Scribe told me her story, my face went from red to white.
    "They brought me into the principal's office," she said, "and told me I'd sent some very bad emails."
    At the beginning of the fourth grade, every child was sent home with a permission slip. If the parents signed it, then their fourth graders could have an email address. I was pretty iffy about the whole thing, after all the Scribe is only ten. She started crying after realizing I might not sign it. "Everyone else will have one though," she said. So, we read the rules together; how she couldn't send mean emails or ever give her password to anyone else. We signed the papers and apparently that was the beginning of the end.
    "What were the emails?" I asked her.
    "They were so bad, the principal talked about Social Services." She paused waiting to see what I'd say.
    I took a deep breath.  "Can you show them to me?"  What had she sent?  I know she's a prankster, but she's fun not mean.
    "I don't know, Mom. They were really bad . . . The office was supposed to change my password, but if we hurry, I can show you." She ran over to my iPad and started typing. When I read the emails, I knew at once that the Scribe hadn't written them. They were sexual and terrible. I was shocked and a bit sickened any fourth grader would know details about such things. Plus, the Scribe has been grounded from her little pre-paid phone and the computer, so I knew she didn't send those at the time it said.
    "You showed me this so I would know you didn't do it?"
    "Yeah," she said. "They figured that out in the office pretty fast. They made me take some tests. They had me spell different . . . words. Then they started asking me who I'd given my email password to."
    "Did you tell them?"
    "NO! I wouldn't rat out a friend."
    "But, Scribe. If this person sent out these terrible emails and signed them with your name, they aren't a friend."
    "I don't know." She got tears in her eyes. "Maybe my friend is sorting through stuff--terrible stuff you can't imagine. All she needs on top of everything is to get in trouble. But no matter how long I kept my mouth shut, the principal had different people ask me questions in different rooms for a long time. They called other kids into the other rooms and talked to them alone. The girl who did this finally confessed. Only after I heard her tell the truth, that's when I agreed."
    I sat stunned.
    "But why didn't the principal call me?"
    "Well, she said since I wasn't in real trouble . . . All I did was give my password out.  Maybe she figured you didn't need to know?"
    That made me tense.  I remained calm though, for my girl.  "Why did you give your password out, anyway?"
    "The girl said if we really were friends, then I would give her my password. That made me feel pretty bad, so I gave it to her."
    We drank some hot chocolate, which I was thankful for because even then (especially after selling cookies) I was still feeling a bit weak from being sick.
    "Mom, I'm scared to go to school. They said we can't talk about it anymore. But everyone was questioned and the whole class still thinks I did it. Kids were making fun of me."
    "Don't worry. I'll clear this up tomorrow."
    "You will?" she asked.
    "Oh, yeah. You're my baby. I'll sort this out even if it kills me."
    "Mom, I'm having a bad day. We gave Luna up. Now I had to tell you about my friend gone bad. Can we play the Happy Game?"
    "Sure."  I remembered a time long ago when I carried a baby who would probably die.  The only logical thing was to play the Happy Game then, too.
    "Well, today I can be happy because they usually make you wait in the office, but today I went right in. Plus, I've always wanted to see what the principal's office looked like and now I know!" the Scribe said.
    I laughed. "That's right, you do know."
   "And I got to . . . hang out . . . with the principal. She's a very busy woman; not every kid can say she has time for them!"
    "You're awesome," I said. "Just your attitude shows that you'll make it through this. Hang tight, it'll be okay."


    The next day I was pretty heated, though; I wasn't to the boiling point, not until I went to the office FOR THE SECOND TIME.     
    "Can I talk to the principal?" I asked.
    "Whose mother are you?" the woman asked.
    "My kid's the Scribe."
    "I'm sorry, but we can't take walk-ins. Can I get your number?"
    What was it, a hair salon?!  "Someone else took my number, but no one has called me and I keep getting transferred to voicemails."
    "I'm sorry, but we're doing our best."
    I looked at her patronizingly. Doing her best . . . seriously? Doing their best would be letting me talk to the principal about why she questioned my daughter forEVER and didn't call me.
    "Everyone wants their ducks in a row," the woman finished. "We have a lot of parents to deal with.
    Deal with . . . so now I was a walk-in burden!
    "That's fine, but I need to talk to someone soon. My daughter was terrified to go to class today. All of her peers still think she sent those yucky emails. This isn't right."
    So, I left and did what any good mother would do--I called Fishducky! 
    When you're getting ready for war, you need the good ones on your side. Sometimes you need to take off your thong, put on your big girl panties and get ready to bust some balls.
    The thing is, I'm one of the nicest people around. I'll do anything for anyone (except Miss Priss). I would have been like the Scribe, standing up for some bully when it would cost me everything--not because I was scared but because I felt bad. Even if I do sound like a pansy, I'm not. Maybe my friends will tell you I am, but they just haven't seen me make it to the boiling point--that isn't pretty. I dislocated a kid's jaw in junior high, just because he touched my leg. I even gave another guy a bloody nose in high school because he tried grabbing my boob. When enough has happened--that's it. I don't care how bad I feel for you--I won't be spineless and get walked on forever.
    I nodded as the famous Fishducky talked to me. "Okay," I said. "That's what I'll do. I sure appreciate your help."
    Her advice was pretty good. It didn't involve any balls, or me busting them, but it was a start. And deep down, I thought her idea just might work.

To be continued . . .


  1. wow!!!! what is that all about!?!?

    the thing about the internet (and technology) is that i can be a very scary place...

    and what's up with the "friend" who she gave the password, too?!?!

    this i love: "Sometimes you need to take off your thong, put on your big girl panties and get ready to bust some balls."

  2. wow - I'm so sorry that happened to you and your daughter. I think you handled it better than I would have. I hope the issues are resolved, quickly. Your daughter sounds like a very sweet, amazing little girl - due in large part, I'm sure, to you :) And I love the happy game. I think I'll have to introduce my own kids to it :)

  3. !!! Can they do that? Without notifying the parents? That's just ridiculous.

    Scribe is such an awesome kid. Great attitude, but I'd be fuming.

    Can't wait to read tomorrow (that's sort of mean making us wait :P) (Also, aren't you close to your full year?)

  4. well i can't wait to hear the end of this, but i'm shocked that they don't at least call the parents to at least notify them. that seems just a bit, well, like they don't actually want to deal with the situation.

  5. You show a lot more restraint than me. I was ready to come up there with my billy club and do some house cleaning at that school!

  6. double DAHHHHHH!!!!
    need. to. know. what happens next!

  7. I can't believe they went through that whole process without letting you know. I'd be livid. I can't wait to see how you handled this.

  8. That is stupid, they shouldn't be allowed to keep a kid in there that long and not call the parents. Sounds like they are trying to avoid you too.

  9. When? I'm with Vic, I need to know, but honestly, I love the way you turn a rotten situation into a lesson for the scribe. Is this a school or an asylum for disfunctional staff?
    Waiting with baited breath.

  10. Another great story EC. Okay, I'm hooked. I am also ready to give that unprincipled principal a piece of my mind.

    The other E

  11. There's a difference in being a pansy and being nice E. You are just nice. No wilting flower for you. When you told me this the other day I was about to meet you at that freakin principals office. Still think you should have hyped the babies up on sugar and let them loose in the office till they came and talked to you. It wouldn't have taken long. lol
    I did that with the AC guys years ago with Kyle and two of his little 5 year old ADHD buddies. My AC got fixed REAL quick.

  12. Having both worked in education and also having 2 special needs kids in a school district that would sooner do the cheap thing than the right thing, my advice for getting things done is simple: the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Make a nuisance of yourself (albeit not the point of being arrested). Call every hour on the hour. Show up several times a day. Send as many emails as you can type...CC the superintendent on every one.

    It stinks but often times the best way to get to the front of the line is to establish yourself as that "crazy parent who won't go away". I've seen it done several times. We've done it ourselves. It works.

  13. I love the happy game. And your kid is so smart and loyal, just like you :)

    and can they even do that? -question kids about serious stuff without telling their parents? that's just not right.

    can't wait for next part. :)

  14. Can't wait to hear what Fishducky came up with! It's so great you could call her!

  15. At last--a two part post where I know what happens in the second part in advance! I'm glad that I was able to help. (Don't forget, the advice I gave you also came from Bud.)

    I love your "happy game" & the story you told the kids about Luna. You, my friend, are one AMAZING mom!!!

  16. I just wanted to cry for you and your daughter. What a doll she is! My thoughts and prayers are with you both. And, for the record I'm impressed that you were able to control yourself in the office, I fear I would have thrown something!!!

  17. First off, I can't believe you actually gave a guy a bloody nose!!! Craazzzyyy haha

    They should not have been allowed to question your daughter that long without contacting the parent. I'm sure there are some legalities against it let alone it being ethically worng. She's a minor... Sigh...

  18. I am still pretty mad that they felt they could question your child about something so serious without a parent around. That would have my blood boiling. You are way nicer than I am, I would have walked past the secretary and headed into the office anyways. If I have time to come down to your office, then you have time to talk to me!

  19. Damn you for making me wait and damn them for doing that to our darling girl. Something similar happened to my daughter once. I reported a bus driver for doing something she shouldn't have and my six-year-old daughter was called into the assistant principal's office. The woman managed to convince the hurricane that she had imagined what had happened on the bus. I reassured my child that it wasn't her imagination, that all the kids had said the same thing about the bus driver, and then I dressed up in my best clothes the next morning, marched to the assistant principal's office and walked right in and gave her holy bloody hell.I ordered her to never speak to my child alone again. Goodness. That woman was so polite to me after that.


  20. I could be a nasty bitch with people who mistreated my kids, but I couldn't stand up to my own husband when he mistreated me. What the hell is wrong with me? And now I've ruined a possibly excellent relationship by insisting on telling the truth about an unimportant detail, and the man said, How can I ever trust you again?

    It was because my husband beat it into me that I had to tell the complete truth about everything and now what I wanted so badly is gone.


  21. And I'm sorry to be pissy but Pollyanna played the Glad Game.

  22. Elisa! you're killing us with these "to be continued..." endings! It's like a book addiction you just can't quick, but you ever need MORE and MORE!

    You know I honestly can't believe you have a school like that! So busy that the principal can't take a minute to talk to a parent? I'm so sorry! I'm so grateful that I've always been able to go into my children's schools and say, "I need to talk to the Principal" and either be able to talk to them within 5 minutes or if they were in a meeting, been told a time when they'd be out of the meeting and i could walk in and talk to them at that time...and I have.

    I wasn't a big fan of my kid's principal back in Kansas, but she did her job, and was available if a parent needed an issue resolved.

    I absolutely LOVE our Principal here in Idaho. He's always available for the parents, and gets to know each student by name and is very involved in the school and community. If my kids ever got called into the school for an issue, I would be notified, and I don't think it's outlandish for you to require the same thing from your school, I don't care how "busy" they are.

    Oh my goodness, I see my Mother coming out in me, but seriously they should not have the right to put you off like that, and for an issue so serious! By law, they should not be able to question your child like that without your permission! I don't know, maybe the laws are different where you are. /sigh. I'm all upset. If I was in your area, I'd march into the school and make a big fuss.

    You are absolutely right, they can't walk over you! They interrogated your child! You have the right to be notified and to be able to tell them off for not notifying you! Actually they should have gotten your permission FIRST. I seriously think they are violating a law!

    I can't wait to see what Fishducky said!
    JadeLouise Designs

  23. The way you tell stories is legendary!

  24. Gripping. However, at the the risk of getting on your bad side (especially after the beautiful comment you left on my post) I know from professional experience that school staff are severly stretched and upset parents turning up out of the blue don't always get granted immediate access to the head teacher. I am not belittling your strength of feeling when defending your daughter. I'm looking forward to seeing how this ends.

  25. I would have busted some balls too. I'm reading "nonviolent communication" right now, if that tells u anything...

  26. I am so glad no balls were involved. I am with you though, I am usually a doormat, but when it comes to my kids....ummm...touchy touchy.

    Hey how come I can't friend you on FB?

  27. To be continued again!?!? You're killing me Smalls! Looking forward to the next part (hopefully I'll be reading it from my laptop. Seattle's Snowpocolypse 2012 has knocked out the power in surrounding cities, mine included. So I'm typing this from my Nonni's computer, where there is power :))

    At first I thought the Scribe's account had been hacked and it was spam being sent. That can happen to anyone. It's happened to me at least once. I guess I misunderstood or you didn't explain it clearly. Anyway, I'm glad everything worked out though her school sounds a bit disorganized to have not called parents then to not be able to talk to the mother of the innocently accused. Can't wait to see Fishducky's idea!

  28. I can not believe there is a principal that won't see a parent when they ask. Period. What the he11?

  29. I would be angry about this too - for multiple reasons. But what stands out most for me is the lousy job the school is doing at prioritizing communication between the school and the parents. Shame on them!

    The Scribe sounds like a real little dear. Good for her for finding positives in this!

  30. I can't believe they took your daughter out of class and questioned her and other for a couple hours and didn't even bother to inform you! They weren't too busy for that.

    I guess I was probably very annoying when I was a kid (and still am to many, I imagine). If I had to pay the price for what I did wrong, I expected others to pay the price, too. I may not have been a tattler, but I'd convince people to make their own confessions--no lie! LOL! You get a reputation like that and you can rest assured no one is going to ask you to steal cars or cheat on tests or lie for them. Made life easier all around for me to live my life up front, I guess. And I found out that if you openly told the good, bad, and the ugly about yourself you become very boring to people who love to gossip or backstab because you already told the worst yourself and you would just laugh about or accept the repercussions of your decisions and choices, anyways...and worry about the soul of the backstabber--ROFL!! I was a weird kid.

    I'm sure she realizes now that friendship should never have to be proven by expecting someone to do something they shouldn't. Prove you are my friend and break this rule or this law...not good. A real friend should have your best interests at heart. Hard lesson learned for The Scribe, but I bet she doesn't forget it.

    Now I'm waiting to see what happens next!! :)

  31. Jax and Pat are correct--to question a child at length requires parents to be present. I cannot help wondering what her 'friend' has been experiencing. I fear the worst. I am looking forward to reading Fishducky's advice, and getting some closure. Bless that little Scribe.

  32. I can't wait to find out how this all ends! The scribe is lucky she has such a nice and smart mom. I am sure it was a big burden off her shoulders to know that she could talk to you. She sure does know how to look at the bright side!

  33. Dear Elisa,
    I'm so glad you called Fishducky and got good advice. Now I'm eager to read just what that advice was. I find myself appalled that the principal questioned the Scribe for so long without you being present. And like "Susan Kane" I fear what might be happening to the Scribe's friend.


  34. I have some idea of what the Scribe might be going through. Nothing like this happened to me in school, but I was bullied and I didn't have many friends, and some of the few I had, I bent over backwards trying to not fall out with them and gave in to anything they wanted, for quite a long time before I finally realised they weren't really friends.
    It can be really hard for a kid - especially a girl: girls bullying girls are often incredibly hurtful but really cunning and it's hard to even be sure you're being bullied, let alone explain what's going on.
    At the same time, most young bullies are just too immature to deal with other people properly, and a lot of them are taking out their own problems. I hope the other girl isn't a terrible situation.
    If I may give some advice, it's not to tell a child to try and 'fit in'; I got that, and I tried to follow it. It just made me miserable and played right into the hands of the bullies. Even amongst kids, there are other people who will accept you for who you are, and you are better off not trying to hang around with people who won't.
    Also, never give any child that cr*p about 'Sticks and stones...'. The pen is mightier than the sword for a reason and telling a kid they ought to be able to ignore anything bad unless it's physical is just telling them they ought to feel bad and inadequate for being so pathetic as to be hurt by the most powerful weapons humankind has to hurl at each other.