Statistics and crime map…
May 14 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context. For most part, this walk down memory lane has been pleasant for me. However, as I recall the following incident, I experience a visceral response and feel very happy to be retired.
Saturday, May 11, 2002
This morning I had angry parent phone calls at home. Nothing like it to burst a lovely, happy birthday weekend. First the mother called and took an immediate offensive, no doubt a knee-jerk response to the son’s “F” progress report. She took exception to a note I’d written home about the requirement because I’d addressed it to Mr. and Mrs. with the son’s last name, and the parents have a different name. I apologized for this oversight.
She then launched into my requirement of word-processed papers. They didn’t own a computer, and she wasn’t about to listen to the dozens of ways the son could access a computer. Why wasn’t a typewriter good enough?
She was completely uninterested in hearing that her son had recently turned in his paper word processed, but too late for the new grade to be reflected on the progress report. I asked my husband’s famous question, “What is it that you want?” but I never got any clarity.
After the mother finished with me, the father called. He was downright abusive, yelling at me, telling me all the people he knew at school and all the committees on which he served. It became clear quickly that he was not interested in any type of dialog, but in making me feel intimidated and threatened. He said things like, “Maybe next time you’ll find out who you’re dealing with.” As though I should treat children differently based on whom their parents might be????? After a while, I held the phone a couple feet from my ear and let him yell. He ended with the threat, “I will make things hot for you. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise.” Then he slammed down the phone.
My husband wasn’t home, but when he got home, he wanted to call the man and tell him never to call me again. Unfortunately, the man didn’t have a number listed with the school. Even though he couldn’t help himself, the father knew that he was out of line, because he said, “Some people might consider this harassment, but . . . .”
My husband and I called our lawyer. He advised us to call the sheriff, which I did. However, since there was no direct threat of physical violence, they didn’t have grounds to pay the father a call.
I have our lawyer’s card. It feels good to be armed with it if anybody gives me any shit.
I need to get to school early on Monday to talk to our principal. He’s entitled to know the background, which basically goes like this. The student had a Romeo and Juliet essay assigned. One requirement was that it be word-processed. This requirement on some assignments is discussed in my letter home at the beginning of the year:
. . . Our school has received a technology grant with which we have greatly expanded the number of computers on campus. One of Watsonville High School’s expected school-wide learning results is that students will integrate technology into their learning and lives. The freshmen year will emphasize basic word processing and using computers to prepare, edit and revise essays. If your son or daughter does not have a computer at home, there are computers available in the school library, the downtown library and at the Enterprise Computer Center on Union Street. Word processing will be required on some assignments.
I ask that students take the letters home, get them signed and return the signatures. Hopefully I have the parent’s signature on file. Nonetheless, my husband says I shouldn’t have to justify myself. Whether my requirement was right or wrong, the point is that the parent called me at home and talked to me in a way that made me feel nervous and threatened.
The magic words when I talk to the principal (and probably our campus police officer) are “I feel threatened.” Secondly, “I’ve talked to our attorney.” Thirdly, “I will not speak directly to these parents again.”
Sunday - Mother’s Day
We had only thirteen people at yoga. I asked Michelle, the teacher, if we could do some asanas to calm the adrenals. She said that she’d anticipated a small group and that we were going to do some kundalini breathing that would help.
“In India, each season has a personality,” Michelle explained at the beginning of class. Spring has to do with anger because it takes so much energy to burst into life, the buds trying to push up out of the ground and the birds trying to peck out of their shells.
In light of my irate parents, I found this interesting. The kundalini did, indeed, help to calm me. I was able to enjoy the birthday dinner our friends had made for me.