Tuesday, February 05, 2008

That's Our Boy!

Yesterday was Z's first day of classroom Driver's Ed. We were going to homeschool this class, but you wouldn't believe the hoops the state wanted us to jump through. The red tape is incredible! So, we bit the bullet, paid our $75, and enrolled Z in Driver's Ed. The class runs for 2 weeks, from 4-7 p.m.

The sheet we were given at registration stated that Z MUST attend all 30 hrs of class in order to take his written permit test. The only excused absences are for severe illness, or earth-shattering family emergencies, and these absences must be made up. No problem.

I dropped Z off at 3:45 yesterday afternoon, slightly nervous. Z's bullies still attend this school. How would Z handle a confrontation? I figured the odds were in Z's favor as his former classmates took Driver's Ed last year. Z won't be 16 until later this summer, so we didn't see the point in him taking Driver's Ed until this year.

Z went to the classroom and was told, by the Driver's Ed instructor, that the class had been canceled for that day. Class would start on Tuesday. HUH? The kids can't miss a class, but the instructor can cancel class on a whim? Whatever! Fortunately, Z had our cell phone with him and called me to come get him. He then went outside to wait for me.

While waiting, Z was approached by one of his bullies, a "mean girl" named Mandy, and 2 of her toadies. This girl had made Z's grade-school years miserable by deliberately humiliating him at every turn. Z decided to let bygones be bygones and had a friendly conversation with Mandy. She wanted to know where he'd been for the last 3 yrs. Z told her that he was homeschooled. Mandy asked if he was coming back to school, to which Z replied: "I'd kill myself before I'd come back to THIS school!" Mandy exchanged a few more pleasantries with Z, then went back into the school.

A few minutes later, the principal came out and started questioning Z about who he was and why he was there. The principal then told Z that there had been a "report" of a kid in a black trenchcoat, who was threatening to kill people. Mandy strikes again! Z repeated the conversation he had with Mandy to the principal. Then Z proceeded to politely tell him what he thought of our school system: "As a special needs student with Tourette's Syndrome, ADD, and OCD, your system made it impossible for me to get a decent education."

The principal's jaw dropped and he was speechless, but not for long. The cavalry had arrived! Two police cruisers zoomed in and surrounded Z on the sidewalk. An officer got out, questioned Z, smiled, and asked if he could search Z for weapons. No problem! As the officer was patting him down, Z suddenly remembered that he had his Swiss Army Knife in his pocket. Oh shit! Like any normal country boy, Z always carries a jackknife in his pocket. He forgot that this is a forbidden object in school and he SHOULD have left the knife at home. Fortunately the officer felt the knife in Z's pocket and chose not to mention it. WHEW!

When I arrived a few minutes later, all I saw was Z talking to one of his friends on the sidewalk. Z hopped in the truck, started giggling, then told me what had happened. When he got home, the adrenaline that had kept Z going wore off and he got a bit shaky. I told him that I was soooo PROUD of the way he had handled the situation. A year ago, this would have totally unnerved Z and brought him to tears. Now, here he was, handling himself like a polite, responsible young man, with all the confidence in the world. If we have accomplished nothing else in homeschooling, we have managed to return Z's confidence and self-esteem to him. He proved to himself that he knows how to use these tools in a difficult situation.

Z was a bit nervous about returning to school this afternoon. I thought of offering to walk him to class, but I knew he'd refuse the offer. When I dropped him off, Z took a deep breath, swallowed his fear, and proudly walked through the doors of the high school with his head held high. As the doors closed behind him, I let out the breath I'd been holding, and drove home with tears of love and pride shining in my eyes.


At 2/05/2008 7:19 PM, Blogger Jeannie said...

That's excellent - hopefully it will be obvious to the powers that be that Mandy is a lying troublemaker and she won't be able to give him any more official trouble.

At 2/05/2008 7:24 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Jeannie, I doubt if the "powers" will do anything to her. However, the kids are starting to catch on to her. Z was talking with some friends today, and they all realize what she is. I can't say I'm sorry that she's headed for a fall.

At 2/05/2008 7:26 PM, Blogger Sonja said...

Hats off to all of you!

At 2/05/2008 7:38 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Wow, great job of working with your son. And a great job he did in handling the situation.

This has me just about in tears. That effin' little bitch. And I'm not going to apologize for my language. If she were ostracized by the other kids that would be a light sentence.

At 2/05/2008 8:16 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

Good for him. It goes to show what a good home environment will do for a childs temperment

That little monster who reported him needs to get what's coming to her.

At 2/05/2008 11:35 PM, Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

AMEN to that, honey! Z did good - better than I would have. LOL! He's going to be alright, most definitely.

At 2/06/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Nice... well done.

A good Civics project for homeschool would be to investigate whether or not the office even had a right to search him at all though. It's a grey area, but it's a good one to be informed about.

At 2/06/2008 2:12 PM, Blogger Blue said...

What an EXCELLENT test and result. You all have done wonderfully and thank God!

Mandy sounds like those idiots in BC who killed R. Virk. The sickness starts somewhere. Glad that she's been proven to be the lying troublemaker that she is.

What barn did she grow up in? What the @#%^ kind of parents do such idiots have, and how "proud" must they be of her behaviour?

You can be justly proud of Z, as we all are (and of you too).

That little idiot who bothered him will come to no good end, that's certain. Anyone who picks on others...well, isn't that abusive behaviour?

I detest bullies.

At 2/06/2008 2:57 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

He done good, he did. I probably would have lost my temper.

At 2/06/2008 3:04 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Sonja!

Squirl, thanks! You never need to apologize for your language here! I said the exact same thing when Z told me the story. ;)

Knowing our school, they'll congratulate Mandy for being so quick to spot a possible problem. The admin is CLUELESS! :(

Hammer, our school system had totally broken Z's spirit by the time we decided to homeschool. I'm grateful that he got it back!

Grizz, I don't know if I could've kept my cool that well either. He done good! ;)

Laura, Z already thought of that, believe me!
He said if they had forcefully searched him, he would have raised a stink. The officer asked Z's permission to search him in a very friendly manner.(Z thinks the officer figured out what Mandy was up to.) Since he had nothing to hide, until he thought of his knife, Z said "No problem.". The officer felt the knife in Z's pocket, but kept quiet about it. I think he accurately assessed the situation and knew that Z was telling the truth.

Blue, Mandy has been getting by with this behavior since she started school. To my knowledge, the only school authority who ever called her on it was Z's 5th grade teacher.
I don't think her parents care as long as she's cute and popular. According to Z's friends, Mandy's popularity is on thin ice. She's headed for a fall and I'd love to be a "mouse in the corner" when it happens!

At 2/06/2008 11:31 PM, Blogger Jay said...

You must have been so proud.
He handled himself well, and it makes me think that he's preparing himself for the real world while kids like Mandy are going to fall flat on their faces in no time at all.

At 2/07/2008 10:05 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Wow that is great.I have tears in my eyes for him remembering what it was like going to that HELL HOLE every day. Excuse the language. Congrats Z for being a man and telling them off. Wish I could have done that many times over again when I was there. I am proud of you Z..

At 2/07/2008 10:51 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

DEAR GOD!!!! What a load of ridiculousness re. the calling in of the police! Un-f*cking-believable!

But, I too was extremely impressed by Z's composure and maturity during the whole episode. Excellent! It's a testament to ALL of your efforts!

At 2/07/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

All my words are jumbled up, pressing to be the first out - so I'll just write WOW!! So proud of Z, so pissed at Mandy, flabbergasted by the cops and all - just sort of shocked!

Please tell Z that we are most impressed with his responses - and his Swiss Army Knife. (Don't leave home without one.)

At 2/07/2008 3:24 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Courtney, I would have expected Z to lose his temper, but he kept his cool and triumphed on his own. For this kid that was unbelievable!

Jay, we've had our doubts about Z's ability to handle himself. His future looks a lot brighter now.

Tweets, Z has the freedom to speak his mind when the school doesn't have control of him. You were a prisoner of the system and had to keep quiet. :(

WC, Thanks!
The schools have to follow certain procedures if there's any threat.
I don't think the admin would have overreacted if they had known Mandy's history. Is bullying EVER a high priority to schools? :(

Cherie, LOL! Shocked was my first response to this story. First, I couldn't believe that Mandy is still pulling this crap. Second, I couldn't believe Z handled himself that well.

I wonder what the school would do if they found the multi-tool, with knife blades, that I carry in my purse? ;)

At 2/07/2008 4:38 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Mucho Congratulationes!~

At 2/07/2008 5:56 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Gracias DC!

At 2/07/2008 7:21 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Way to go Z!!!!! You showed em - and stayed a whole cut above them! I've never met you, but I'm proud as heck of you.

At 2/07/2008 9:48 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

I hope you don't mind but I linked to this story from my blog. Too good an example of the power of good parenting, home-schooling, and a good, intelligent kid!

At 2/08/2008 9:16 AM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

You made me tear up with your story. It's because K is pretty much the same age as Z and I think of the struggles that all teens go through, especially when they don't fit the mold (K definitely fits no mold). What we love best about our sons makes it painful for them at times. I'm very impressed with how Z handled himself.

At 2/08/2008 9:59 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Even if he's embarrassed with this comment. Hugs to him and I hope to see him sometime this year. Dont know when yet but hopefully sometime OK.... And you guys too.. Not making promises this year.

At 2/08/2008 11:22 AM, Blogger Mike S said...

The 'Home School System' deserves a big round of applause as well. Having helped raise 'troubled teens' for a bit, I know even the best schools have problems like this. They had the same thing in the Dark Ages when the Old Indian Fella went to the 'All White' school. No other 'minorities' in school there at that time.

At 2/08/2008 4:02 PM, Blogger Pam said...

Holy Buncha Crap, Batman! I can only say bravo to Z. Don'tcha just hate the way kids can be? When we used to homeschool our kids, people were forever asking us that assinine question, "What about socialization??" To which we would often reply, "Exactly! Kids get way too much of the wrong kind at school." Hats off to all of you. And may the world one day be filled with far more Zs and far fewer Mandys. (What a little turd.)

At 2/08/2008 4:34 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Gardenia, Thanks! I told Z that if he had spazzed out and lost his temper, he would have lowered himself down to Mandy's level.
He thwarted Mandy's plans by maintaining his composure. He learned a great lesson!

Cherie, aw shucks you're making me blush.
As my good friend, feel free to link or borrow anything you want here. That's what friends are for! ;)

Notta, so true! The big hearts and sensitivity that our sons possess does make them an easy target now, but it will make them wonderful men in the future.
I wish our boys could meet someday. They have so much in common.

Tweets, we'll be here. I'm sure that Z will let you hug him. ;)

Mike, that's what I've always told my kids. The same personality types, some good, some bad, have been around since time began. We have to learn to deal with all the other types in order to survive.

Too bad you didn't attend school here. I always had several Indian friends in my classes. It's the only diversity we have here.

Pam, our answer to that asinine question is usually: "Actually he doesn't miss the bullying at ALL!"

I know that kids like yours, Cherie's, mine, and my other blog friends will make their little corners of the world a better place to live.

At 2/09/2008 9:54 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

That's great for Z! Good news. I'm glad he handled that well.

My gosh, I always brought a knife to school. All boys should carry a knife. You never know when you need one. Actually, everyone should have a knife and a cigarette lighter.

The whole anti-knife thing just pisses me off. I got in several fights in high school, but I never whipped out the knife. Only (pardon my French) pussies used knifes in a fight. Real men used their fists. Or at least that's how I grew up.

One of my friends brought a throwing ax for show and tell. He threw the ax in the classroom and it stuck into a tree stump that his parents brought. He showed off in the middle of class how accurate a throwing ax could be.

I can't believe high school nowadays. they freak out about everything.

At 2/09/2008 9:56 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Oh, and too bad Z's big sister is so much older. Mandy needs to get beaten up. That passive aggressive crap didn't fly back in my days.

At 2/10/2008 8:46 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, it is sad how things have changed. :(

When I was in high school, all the boys and many of the girls carried a pocket knife. It's a TOOL, not a weapon.

The most serious injury sustained in a fight in our school system, occurred when SME was in high school. A kid got cut up pretty bad when his opponent threw him through a window. Maybe we should eliminate windows in schools?

Your ax story reminds me of my high school English class. We had to give a demonstration speech. One of the kids brought a shotgun to class to demonstrate proper cleaning procedures. Another kid brought black powder and primers to school to demonstrate shotgun shell reloading. Another kid demonstrated knife sharpening, with several different types of knives. NOBODY gave a second thought to this, and no special permission was required to bring these "weapons" into the school.

LOL! Now that I think about it, SME WAS involved in more school fights than Z has been. She always won too!

At 2/11/2008 4:35 PM, Blogger VV said...

Awww, way to go Z! I'm proud of you too! I'm torn between wishing bullies will get what's coming to them one day and knowing bullies have horribly low self-esteem and only lash out to hurt others because they feel so aweful themselves. Well, I'm proud of you for handling this the way you did. Bravo! Oh, and good luck with Driver's Ed and the driving test. My son, B starts his class at the end of March or so. We have to pay for private lessons as the schools here don't offer it. We're talking $275, ouch!

At 2/11/2008 9:22 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, that's what I always tell my kids about bullies. It doesn't make them feel better at the time, but later, they understand and feel the pity.

We have to pay $75 for the class and another $175 for 6 hrs of behind the wheel training before Z can get his license. THEN, once he gets his license, we get to pay all that extra insurance. :(

At 2/12/2008 11:08 AM, Blogger VV said...

Yeah, we've been delaying B's training because of the insurance cost and the maturity factor. Also, the more I think about this incident with Z, the more amazed I am that he kept his composure. I'm not so sure if most people would have been able to do that.

At 2/12/2008 8:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Maturity level was the reason we held Z back a year too. He's matured sooo much in the past year! I think that's why he handled himself so well with the "Mandy incident". A year ago he was hesitant about even talking to strangers, now he's standing up for himself. I'm amazed!

Good news. I talked to our insurance agent today, and she estimates that it should only cost $200 every 6 months to add Z to our insurance. I thought it would be more like $100/month extra.

At 10/12/2012 12:44 PM, Blogger TheBoss said...

That is illogical.

If someone passes a test then clearly they know the subject and that's all that's relevant so they should be certified.

The only reason they have that rule is to make $. Same reason why even if you already know everything about a subject you still have to go through years of college just to get the degree.

How much innovation and expansion is society missing out on because of all these extra hoops we put people through? All that should matter is what you know, and if you can prove it. If you already know it and can just prove it right off the bat then they shouldn't waste your time and you should be able to immediately move on to applying what you know. We may have more technology and innovation if we did that.


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