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Monday, September 27, 2010

Slugfest: Insurgent Infiltrates Local Prep School

Al-Pokemon camp broken up; Paul captured

Yesterday my phone rang mid-day. It was the director of the boys' new school asking me to pick up my son...promptly. He explained that Paul had been suspended because he had been in a "fist-fight." 
I told him he must have the wrong number. My eight-year-old? A fist-fight?
As I sped toward the school, many questions raced through my mind: 
  • Was he hurt? 
  • Does Paul really know how to make a fist? 
  • Were there steroids in those organic pop-tarts I packed in his lunch? 
  • Does the word "fist-fight" still get a hyphen?
I could not begin to imagine my mild-mannered son in a physical fight. In fact, I could not even imagine him spitting on an adversary. 
Unless... it was very, very dark... 
and the other child's back was turned, 
and the other child was in handcuffs, 
and the other child was already completely surrounded by a S.W.A.T. team.
I raced over to the school to find my dejected, tear-streaked boy softly crying on a lonely school yard bench. He confessed that he had indeed punched a classmate in the stomach. 
When I asked him why, he explained that the classmate had grabbed his finger and twisted it backward because Paul had not listened to him. 
I noted with interest that the incident had occurred during lunch right before the school's peace day celebration.
I carefully and thoroughly thought this one through before responding to my forlorn son as he sat there looking tinier and more frail than ever on that bench. I wanted to make sure that whatever I said to him at this crucial moment did not undermine the school's legitimate interest in ensuring that neither the lives nor limbs of its third-graders were in jeopardy. I wanted my son to grow up to become a good world citizen and learn that impulses must be controlled. 
But I also wanted my gentle son to know it was okay to defend himself. Especially in a dangerous world of third-grade finger-twisters.
After duly considering how critical my next words were going to be, I took a deep breath and plunged right in. I looked into Paul's sorrowful eyes, and said that I was taking him in for his first tattoo. It would say: "Twist my finger, and I'll kick your ass."
Paul was not remotely amused. 
In fact, he blushed and threw up his arms as if to say that this world of intermeddling adults was just too much to bear. Then he thought a bit and quietly muttered to himself: "I have a strange mom."
End of conversation.

That night, I spoke to Paul's father about the details of the brawl and the school's swift and certain response. 
And did I fail to mention here exactly what that response entailed? Well, not only did they send both boys home in tears, the two boys had to do the following: 

  1. Hug and apologize to each other. 
  2. Then they had to apologize to their entire class, the headmaster, and the elementary school director. 
  3. Then they had to visit the school counselor to write and sign a behavior contract promising to never hit again. 
  4. And, worst of all, they had to ask their parents to also sign the contract... and I did not even get to hit anyone first!
So, as I said, I told my husband about the day's events and the consequences imposed. His response? He said they should have just tasered the two boys.
Above, Paul shown watching insurgency training videos at Al-Pokemon camp, circa June 2010.


Shown in cave hideout shortly before his capture.

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