Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Story is Serious

I have to check with my 10-year-old son about each school day. I must know what’s going on. Otherwise, how can I be Super Dad and protect him from the lions and tigers and bears of the world?

Of course, there aren’t many wild animals on the prowl in suburbia these days, but I do replace the furnace filters in the house and protect my family from deadly germs trying to get inside. Still, I inquire.

“How was your day?” I asked my boy when he got home from school earlier this week.

“Good,” he said. “I got an ‘A’ on my English test. And we started learning about the Constitution. Oh, I got a death threat today.”

“What? Are you serious?” I asked.

“There was a note on my desk.”

“What’d it say?”

“It said, ‘You’re dead.’”

“What’d you do?”

“I gave it to my teacher.”

“What’d she do?”

“I don’t know,” my boy told me. “She’ll probably forget about it.”

“You need to follow up,” I demanded.

“I’ll check in a few days.”

“No, check first thing tomorrow. Do you know who wrote the note?”

“Dad, do we have to talk about this right now?”

Why was this not a big deal to him like when a video game doesn’t work? I took the matter to the highest level -- I called my wife.

Why did this have to be a huge deal? She wanted me to call the police.

“This is serious,” she said to me.

“He’s in fifth grade,” I reminded her. “Do you really think we need to involve the police?”

“I’m a teacher,” she replied. “I know what’s serious on a school campus and what’s not serious. This is serious.”

“You teach eighth grade. There’s a big difference between eighth grade and fifth grade. Fifth-graders just duke it out at the bike racks. And maybe this whole thing is best resolved at the bike racks.”

“Don’t you follow the news?” my wife asked. “There was an incident a few months ago where a third-grader brought a loaded gun to school with him.”

“It was a toy gun,” I told her.

“Did you see the report?”


“It was a real gun with real bullets.”

That got me serious. I utilized my secret detective skills and uncovered my son’s teacher’s phone number. I found it in the phone book.

The teacher said our son found the so-called “death threat” on the floor, not on his desk. And it said, “You suck,” not “You’re dead.”

“That’s right, that’s what it said,” my boy recalled. “And maybe it wasn’t on my desk, but it was near it.”

The teacher assured me this was not a serious matter. Next time I’d look deeper into these things before freaking out.

The following day, I asked my son about school because I have to know what’s going on. He showed me a report from his teacher. Apparently the kid used inappropriate language and harassed a student. This was serious, so I let myself freak out.

“What did you do, what, tell me?” I asked. “You’re in big trouble.”

“I told my friend it looked like he was making out with the water fountain when he got a drink.”

“Now tell me the serious part where you used inappropriate language and harassed him?”

“Dad, that was the serious part. I said ‘making out.’ My friend thought it was funny and laughed, but the girl behind us got offended and told the yard duty on me.”

Evidently, I needed to let my wife deal with this "serious" issue -- she knows serious. And I replaced another furnace filter in the house -- I know deadly germs try to get inside.

-March 2014

No comments: