Before I get into my post this evening let's take a look at the jackass I drove behind today.
This asshole was driving over the Blatnik Bridge (also referred to as the High Bridge) that connects Duluth, MN and Superior, WI. With a fucking role of carpet sticking out of his car window. (*Shaking head in disgust*)
So lately it seems like the national news is once again exploding with stories of teenagers gone wild. Have you heard of Constance McMillen? Well this poor girl is an openly gay student at her high school in Mississippi. She was banned from attending her high school prom simply because she wanted to bring a female as her date. The entire school board and teaching staff said it would be disruptive if she attended. It has caused obviously quite an outrage, but Perez Hilton flew Constance and some of her friends to LA for a night on the town. Obviously that's pretty generous and awesome but I can understand how she wanted to attend her own prom. So guess what the school did? They gave her the information for the WRONG PROM. I'm not really sure what is more offensive- the fact that someone actually thought this was a good idea or that it was executed by parents. And being the awesome, way ahead of her age girl that she is- she took it in stride. Her and her friends made it a fun night anyways. Good for her. I give mad props to this girl and her friends for sticking up for what they believe in. If all that wasn't bad enough, kids at her school have started a facebook page called "Constance, quit yer cryin" and is basically using the page to make fun of her, and post pictures of the real prom. Now this apparently has backfired a bit since Perez Hilton posted the link on his website HERE and many people have gone on there to write on the wall in support of Constance. I'm so amazed that a country who claims to be so progressive and the land of the free that we are still discriminating against CHILDREN. Who cares who she's attracted to? Does it really even matter? Really- in the total scheme of things, does it matter? It shouldn't. Otherwise you have issues far greater than your sexual preference. People say it's in the Bible and that's great and all but not everyone reads the same Bible. Not everybody believes the same things. You can't push your belief onto other people. You just can't. I'm not religious by any means but I work for a religious organization. I don't believe in their mission but I also don't push mine. Open your eyes and realize that different is ok. If there really is one Creator- and being gay is so bad- why were they created? I don't know. I guess the "if you don't like it, don't do it" manta is dead.
And if that wasn't bad enough, surely you've heard of Phoebe Prince- the girl who killed herself after being bullied at school. I understand that kids can be mean and we've all been throw the hell otherwise known as high school. But bullying a girl so relentlessly that she resorts to killing herself is horrifying. As a parent, I can't even imagine how I would feel to know that my child had such a horrible experience at school- a place that is meant to foster learning and growth. Not only are kids being charged with a myriad of offenses including statutory rape. And it all started because she "dated" a boy and other girls got pissed. Here's what I'd like to know- why do the Principal and academic staff still have jobs? I'm sorry, but they knew about this. Phoebe repeatedly complained and asked for help. And nobody did anything. Why aren't they being charged? Aren't all teaching staff mandated reporters? If you suspect a child is being neglected and/or abused at home- you legally have an obligation to report it. Does this law not apply if you witness students being abusive? And why are these kids pleading not guilty? What do you mean you aren't guilty? You sure as hell are guilty and frankly- why aren't they being charged with some kind of murder/homicide? I literally cried when I watched this on the news. How does a family even begin to heal from that?
And then we have Josie Ratley who was beaten so badly an entire medical team have no idea if A) she'll ever recover or B) if by some miracle she survives, they have no idea if she'll be permanently brain damaged. Which she likely will be after being kicked in the head by a 15 year old boy with steel toe boots on. All over a text message conversation.
Oh...what about the boy who is accusing his own mother for slander. No kidding. After posting some status updates on his facebook that she was concerned about (one being him bragging about doing 95mph on a road because he was mad at a girl) and leaving his facebook logged in on her computer- she changed his password. Damn right, I would have done the same thing. I also would have taken the keys to the car away and grounded his ass.
What the hell is happening to kids? Not only do kids have no coping skills what so ever, but they are so angry. I remember as a kid that if I did something wrong out in the neighborhood- all of the neighbors knew where I lived. And you better believe they'd scream at me AND visit my parents. All before I could race home on my bike. And I'd be grounded. I had fun stuff taken away and being in trouble meant something. My parents had "the look" and they made me fearful of them. I knew if I did ANYTHING out of line my ass was grass. I remember in 8th grade I took the candy out of the dish on the living room table. Just took it- didn't think about why it was there, nothing. When I got home, my parents were pissed. I distinctly remember my dad hitting me with the belt. Over candy, people. But guess what? I never took anything ever again. I knew my parents were serious and weren't fucking around. If my parents found out if my brother and I were bulllies? Our asses would have been beaten raw. I'm not even kidding. My parents didn't tolerate that kind of shit. We were taught to be respectful to other kids even if they did suck.
I was scared of my friends' parents. If they told me to do something you better believe I was doing it. I had respect for people older than me. I knew where I was on the societal totem pole and it wasn't high.
Kids now? Think they run this shit. I have neighbors who have two teenage boys who are apparently popular with the girls. High school kids. These girls come prancing by in short shorts, tube tops, thongs hanging out the top of their shorts, heels and more makeup than I even own. If I'm outside when the shake their ass down the road I say something. Last week's comment was, "Get some fucking class. You look like a god damn prostitute. Get some self respect." And you get a blank stare. They don't even know what that is. I see the boys playing basketball but if the ball hits my van? I'm out there. Now they run, but for the first few times I'd walk over there and say something like, "Listen here you little fucking punks. You hit my van again with your ball and you better believe not only will the ball be mine but I'm calling the cops on your punk asses." They stopped playing. And I tell their parents who assure me they talk to them. Clearly not because they keep doing it.
We have kids in elementary school outside swearing at the park in front of my kids. And I'm the only parent not afraid to grab the kid and tell them to find somewhere else to hang out. People are TERRIFIED to correct kids. How else are they going to learn? I would like to think that if my kids were out in the world and did something totally unacceptable other parents would tell me.
I don't think I'm a strict parent but I have expectations. I don't tolerate tantrums and I don't tolerate attitude. I have gotten gruff from other parents and family when I say the kids can't go to the movie, or for ice cream, etc because of their behavior the day before. I get the, "Oh, it's just ice cream". Sure, now it is. But someday it'll be shopping trips, using the car, going out alone, extended curfews, etc. If you don't nail this shit down right away forget it. I am a firm believer it starts at birth. I never tolerated kids throwing food, cups, toys, etc. You throw your food, you're done. I don't care if you're hungry before bed- maybe tomorrow you won't throw it. Your choice.
Olivia is probably going to kindergarten this fall and I'm terrified. I know that what happens at school is mostly out of my hands- I can't control it. I can't protect her. I can't push the other kids when they push her. (And yes- I do that. You push my kid please believe you'll get it back.) But what I can do is get involved. Every kindergarten teacher will know my name as will the secretary and principal. I will be as pushy as I have to be to make sure bullying is noticed and taken care of. I realize not every parent is capable or willing to take charge like this but I firmly believe that if you can't or won't do that- don't have kids. You aren't doing anyone favors. Just because you want a kid doesn't mean you are able to parent. Baby years? Are a cake walk compared to school years. I'm not one to tell people exactly how to parent, but if my child(ren) are playing with your child(ren) and you don't discipline or you don't do something I think is appropriate- I'm calling you out.
So in closing- if you see or hear of something that you think isn't right- do something. Don't tolerate discrimination. Don't be afraid to call someone out. Don't be afraid to stand up for equal rights. Don't be afraid to piss off your neighbor. Don't be afraid to not be your kids' best friend. That's not your job. Your job is to teach them how to be a productive, law abiding, respectful citizen. Do your job.