Eric Lee Can’t Help It If He’s Lucky. But What About Those Who Aren’t?

This follows up on yesterday’s post, Be Careful What You Post on Social Media: Remember the Lee Brothers? and you should read that first.

I ended that post with a few questions. In December 2011, 4 people were arrested for trafficking. Two have court case numbers. Two don’t. The two that don’t aren’t the sons of the owners of the Pinnacle School, which has as one of its campuses the Elk River Treatment Program (ERTP). The CEO is owner Karen Lee. Her son Eric was employed at ERTP as a counselor and is now a supervisor and is one of the 4 arrested who doesn’t have a court case number.

This puzzles me: What does it mean not to have a case number? Not guilty? Dismissed? Or trial pending?

My speculation is that it means either not guilty or charges were dismissed. Why? Because the other son with no case number, Charles Lee, Jr., was arrested 1/30/2013 on an unspecified felony charge and released 1/25/2014. My thinking is that if he were still awaiting a court date for the 2011 bust and was convicted of a felony, then he would not have been released. This could well be erroneous thinking since it doesn’t factor in money and influence.

So if the 2011 charges against the brothers Lee were dismissed, I guess there would be no reason for the guy not to be a supervisor at a remote whatever ERTP is. His mother seemed sure all along he wouldn’t be convicted. But why?

As I said in the title, Eric Lee can’t help it if he’s lucky. Here he is, in the presence of 24 lbs of pot, $37,600 in cash, and a small arsenal when the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counterdrug Team comes busting through the door of a $138,000 home in Madison. And yet he is free.

He can’t help it if someone (Mom?) can come up with $25,000 bond for him and another $25,000 for his brother so they were in jail only 4 days.  You, I and the man on the moon all know if he had been poor — guilty or not — he’d be in jail awaiting trial. Contrast his predicament with that of the 19-year-old who died naked on the floor of his Madison County jail cell from an infected foot that was never treated. He was arrested in June 2013 for shoplifting Star Wars DVDs and in July for passing a fake $100. By August he was dead. Couldn’t come up with bail, I guess. Freedom isn’t free.

So where are we? Either Eric Lee is awaiting trial or his 2011 problems just dissolved. If he is awaiting trial, then his mom, Pinnacle CEO Karen Lee, has some explaining to do about his job.

If not? Well, then there was no mistake about posting the picture of supervisor Eric on the ERTP Facebook page, maybe as a message that all is clear for Eric, or maybe as a middle fingered salute.

I don’t care if any of the Lees smoke pot or not. I’m unequivocally in favor of the legalization of the plant. For one thing, its illegality continues to destroy the lives of some who are arrested and not for others, and this is unfair. But even if marijuana were legalized and possession for personal use not a crime, trafficking would be. Legal marijuana would be taxed. And one of the best reasons for legalization would be to avoid the culture of trafficking, which includes being willing to harm others, which is why the rifles and weapons were confiscated.

I’d say that Eric could be a nice guy for all I know, except that even if he just stumbled into the house with the 24 lbs of weed, $37K in cash, and shotguns and rifles, what kind of man would be at ease earning his [artisan] bread and [creamery] butter for depriving teens of their liberty and subjecting them to who knows what kinds of torment because they were stupid enough to get caught with a joint in a Huntsville City School and unlucky enough not to have money for a high-profiled attorney and were not to the manor born? One with the integrity of puddle scum, I guess. Or a question of upbringing.

Even if Eric just stopped by the house at the wrong time, his judgment at hanging out with traffickers should disqualify him from a position of responsibility for other peoples’ kids. What does this have to with Huntsville City Schools? Some of those whom Eric Lee are supervising have been sent to ERTP by HCS, and some I expect are there because of social media monitoring. If private pay parents wish to spend tens of thousands of dollars on ERTP without questioning the qualifications of its staff, that’s their decision. But if the public is footing the bill, it should have the assurance that ERTP’s staff, every single one, is qualified and has good judgment. 

As I said back on Sept. 14, 2012, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Lees were not convicted. I would be a little surprised if the charges were simply dismissed, but just a little. Why?

Enter Robert Broussard, DA Madison County.

If the charges against the Lees were dismissed, it comes down to the District Attorney for Madison County, Robert L. Broussard, a man for whom I have even less respect than I do for Col. Wardynski. And that is saying something. 

The  Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counterdrug Team is a division of his office, and this team is a specialized and extra-well trained and funded one. I would imagine that they look before they leap, and had an eye on the four people they arrested long before 12/9/2011. All four. A raid like this should have been executed when no stray people were on the premises. This was no broken tail-light, oh my, there’s 24 pounds of weed in the trunk bust. But “Lee” is a fairly common name, and so maybe they hadn’t done their homework well enough to discover they were about to mess with the sons of the power elite.

If the charges were dismissed, I for one would love to hear the story concocted to explain this.  I haven’t the brainpower to imagine how a specialized drug squad could make such a boo-boo. How, exactly, can you be in a house with 24 lbs of marijuana, etc. and walk away from the charges? What was special about the Lees’ presence that didn’t apply to the other 2 arrested, who do have court case numbers? 

What was different about the Lees in contrast to McDonald and Porter? Money. Not just the Lee’s own stash, being augmented by the public through their contract with the HCS, but the money that has gone into propping up Wardynski, who is a great enabler of Karen Lee.

So here’s the situation again. I expect no answer.

1. The charges against Eric Lee are still pending. This means that Karen Lee’s assurance to the public that Eric would not be counseling at ERTP needs some scrutiny.

2. The charges against the brothers Lee were dismissed or they were found not guilty. Did the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counterdrug Team screw up? Or did Broussard choose not to prosecute? Why?

 

Advertisements

Racism? Profiling? Prejudice? Or Incompetence? The Tale of One Student, Zoned for Butler.

If you think there is no systemic racism in the Huntsville City Schools, perhaps you could explain to me why, without even opening her record, a Mexican girl who transferred from Butler to Lee in 2010 was automatically enrolled in Lee’s remedial classes.

Oh, but you say, this happened 4 years ago, pre-Wardynski. True, but it was the same Board of Education with the exception of Culbreath. And considering the hostility of Wardynski to transfers within the system, it would surprise me to learn that transfer students are now treated with respect. Or given a chance at least.

OK, you object, this was one counselor’s decision. I met with this counselor the next year and found her, as kids had told me, to be a pleasant person who seemed to care about her students. A meeting that should have taken 15 minutes took at least 90 because she was interrupted repeatedly by kids who needed help. If the events that transpired in the letter here were of her making, they were in the context of the HCS’ culture.

The story is laid out in this letter of complaint I sent to Lee. I’ve changed the girl’s and parent’s names.

“I am contacting you on behalf of the mother of one of your freshman students, Maria Garcia. Her mother, Ana Garcia, has fairly good oral comprehension of English but still feels inhibited when she tries to speak in formal situations.

“I have known the Garcia family for six years and was instrumental in Maria’s enrollment in Holy Family School after she completed 5th grade at University Place since we were all dubious about the atmosphere at Ed White Middle School. Maria was zoned for Butler High and entered Lee under the No Child Left Behind provisions.

“My understanding from Maria and her mother is that they are concerned that nevertheless she is in fact at risk of being left behind since at Lee she was scheduled into classes that seem very basic to her, especially her math class. Maria wants to go to college. She is a bright young lady and should go to college.

“If her placement was based on her final grades at Holy Family, there are a few things that should be considered. First, Holy Family uses a traditional grade scale [A 93-100; B 84-92; C 74-83; D 65-73; F 64 and below], so an 83, which would be a mid-level B in the Huntsville City Schools, is a C at Holy Family. Secondly, at least half, perhaps three-quarters, of Holy Family’s graduates go on to Catholic High, which is a college prep school (more than 60% take at least one AP course, 100% college acceptance rate). Unfortunately, although she was accepted to Catholic High, her family could not afford the $6,900 tuition, and so instead are trying to get her the best education they can at Lee.

“Maria tells me that she has been to see you and her understanding is that she will need to wait until her sophomore year before her placements can be re-evaluated. The logic of this is hard to see: why not make the decision now, and let her start getting challenged during the second semester of her freshman year?

“May I ask you to please talk with Maria and explain what Lee has to offer her? Perhaps that would be enough, or we could arrange a conference with you, me, Maria and her mother. Should you have any questions, I can be reached at xxx-xxxx.”

Maria’s schedule was re-cast that same week.

So what do we have here? Was Maria pipe-lined into remedial classes because she was Mexican? Because she was zoned for Butler? Because she was presumed to have gone to a Butler feeder school? Or all of the above?

There’s been a lot of insulting, condescending editorializing over at al.com this week about the need for parental involvement. This girl’s parents cared about her education, although they have little themselves. They did not, however, know how to work the system.

What became of Maria? Despite never seeming to spend a moment studying, she made As and Bs at Lee, but never had much interest in her classes. By the end of her sophomore year, she had lost a lot of her sparkle and ambition.

Her parents sent her back to Mexico to live with her grandmother. They thought she would be safer there and would get a better education. She excelled, and is now in college.

He Spies With His Beady Black Eyes: Wardynski Has His Tail in a Crack. Pt 1

And I am hoping it is so tightly wedged that he won’t slither out of this one.

If you are here, I expect you already know about the latest crock of lies, evasions, deceits, illegalities, and violations of civil rights on the part of Wardynski and his henchmen: the May 2012 NSA tip-off (which the NSA denies) about a so-called immediate threat of danger (aka juvenile last day of school humor) with a foreign connection: one of the 100s of people following then junior Auseel Yousefi’s Twitter feed was a Yemeni (and thus, it seems, presumed to be a Muslim Jihadist terrorist) and how this tip-off led to the never-spent-a-day-on-the-battlefield retired colonel forming a surveillance project that the Board of Education maybe did or maybe didn’t know about (damn! who was responsible for delivering the scripts last week?) two months before the Yemeni non-event occurred.

There! I packed a whole lot of it into one sentence. But I am sure there is much, much more to come.

First, praise for al.com’s Challen Stephens who is doing investigative journalism! I could dance with glee. Starting with the September 24, 2014 story, “Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online,” and following up with an interview with Auseel Yousefi, who outed himself in the comments responding to Stephens’ first article, the subject has grown and other reporters are on board.

There are tons of issues. There’s the matter of funding, well addressed by geekpalaver:
“Off The Books Spying Program $1 Million,” “All Kids Are Our Kids” and “Wardynski Violates Board Policy.”

Oh dear, post interrupted by consideration of the beady eyed one’s proclamation, Monitoring social media part of Huntsville schools’ responsibility to keep students safe: guest opinion.

My responses follow: So Colonel, now bullying is a problem? I remember a time when it wasn’t. In October 2012 you told WAAY 31’s Shea Allen: “Bullying has been going on for a long time. There was bullying when I was a kid. But I can tell you when we look at the statistics, while its [sic] about 80 percent of what you guys talk about its [sic] only about one percent of what we see.”

Remember way back then? Same season when one girl at Butler was beat up by three other girls in a bathroom and you referred to the event as”horseplay” and suggested the victim was at fault since she was “in a bathroom 20 minutes after class“ had begun and then gave her mother all kinds of hassle before granting the child a “temporary transfer”?

Funny what you can find on the internet.

and

Oh yes, then there’s the outsourcing of alternative schooling to Pinnacle Schools. It’s so outsourced that the only mention of it on the HCS website is one sentence about athletics (“A student [sic] that is attending the Seldon Center or Pinnacle is only eligible to represent the Seldon Center or Pinnacle. A student attending the Seldon Center or Pinnacle cannot participate at any other school.” [Students are people; “that” should be “who.”]) although millions of taxpayer dollars have been funneled to Pinnacle. 

Where was the concern for student safety when Julian Lorenzo Boykin, one of the guards at Pinnacle’s Huntsville campus, was charged with “torture and willful abuse of a child”?

Or when Karen Lee, owner of Pinnacle, hired her son Eric as a counselor (!) at the remote private prison (which these days you are calling a “boot camp”) AFTER young Eric was charged with felony drug trafficking AND firearms charges (confiscated weapons included “shotguns and rifles.”). Was it revealed that Eric was “outfitted to hunt ducks or deer” and so couldn’t possibly be a threat? I missed that update.

Your response: renew the contract!

If you don’t know what I am on about just hit the tag word Pinnacle.

And I’ll be back with much more.

Wardynski’s Other Digital Initiative

After living thirty years in Huntsville, I am fully aware that there are two things one must never do:

  • question the ethics of naming a city’s civic center for a Nazi, and
  • suggest that someone who chose a career in the military isn’t necessarily better, braver, and more worthy of respect than someone who didn’t.

But what the hell.

I am here to tell you that the good Colonel Wardynski’s military career included no combat service. His claim to fame is conceiving a free computer game, America’s Army for high school kids (and younger) to entice them into the Army, and that has meant in all too many cases sending them into brutal warfare — something about which Wardynski has no personal experience.

Have you ever wondered why suicide rates are skyrocketing among active troops and veterans? Why post-traumatic stress disorder is a huge problem in the same population?

I don’t know about your kids, but mine have seen exactly one dead body — the casketed, embalmed, made-up body of their 93-year-old grandfather, a veteran of WWII (Infantry, captured in N Africa and POW in Germany for years; later a Reservist). They’ve never seen anyone dying or being born or seriously injured.

But they have played their share of shoot ’em up video games.

I simply have a feeling that there isn’t much in common between the two, that is, being on the ground in battle and in your bedroom playing a game.

But what do I know? I’ve not been in combat. And neither has the Colonel.

The difference between the Colonel and me is that I have not enticed kids to go into deadly situations that I haven’t or wouldn’t go into myself.

So when Wardynski in his role as the mastermind of America’s Army proclaims, “We want kids to come into the Army and feel like they’ve already been there,” I want to know where is this there.

An air-conditioned, fully secure building on a military base?

In America’s Army

“soldiers are not massacred in bloody fire typical of most video games, or for that matter, real combat. When hit, bullet wounds resemble puffs of red smoke, and players can take up to four hits before being killed. To further protect youth, concerned parents can turn on optional controls that sanitize the violence even more – shots produce no blood whatsoever and dead soldiers just sit down. This presentation of war contrasts to the much more grisly reality unfolding every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

And isn’t this of interest, considering how important it is to Wardynski for your child to be online using Pearson software? America’s Army

“records players’ data and statistics in a massive database called Andromeda, which records every move a player makes and links the information to their screen name. With this information tracking system, gameplay serves as a military aptitude tester, tracking overall kills, kills per hour, a player’s virtual career path, and other statistics. According to Colonel Wardynski, players who play for a long time and do extremely well may “just get an e-mail seeing if [they’d] like any additional information on the Army.”

While the Army initially worked on development of the game, first released in 2002, in 2005,

“the America’s Army developers partnered with the Software Engineering Directorate and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to manage the commercial game development process and use the America’s Army platform to create government training and simulations.”

Now its development has been outsourced to private corporations. Sound familiar?

Wardynski spent his military career sitting behind a desk figuring how cheaply kids could be persuaded to do what he never had to do himself (and interestingly, while his son has joined the military, he serves in the Coast Guard).

His job put him at less personal risk than that of anyone in a profession who potentially comes into daily contact with strangers’ bodily fluids, you know, like medical professionals obviously, but also police officers and fire fighters, — and teachers.

So the next time you think, oh, W is a colonel so he must be better, braver, more patriotic, more worthy, etc. than the rest of us average mortals, imagine what it must be like for 18-year-olds to go into Afghanistan thinking they know all about what it is like to be in a firefight because, after all, they’ve spent hundreds or thousands of hours playing the game that makes them “feel like they’ve already been there.”

At least in the old days when there were real human beings — recruiters — talking to kids, the kids had a chance to ask questions and the recruiter could make the reality of the commitment clearer to those kids he perceived as having a naive view of what to expect.

But, hey, using computer games is so much more cost effective than having real people involved in the process.

Come to think of it, the human recruiter and potential recruit relationship isn’t totally unlike that of a flesh-and-blood teacher and student, now is it?

More Consultancy Fees for the Shredder. Separate and Unequal. A 3-Minute Tour.

Update, October 29:

Well, what a coincidence. I posted this on Friday, and today, Monday, there was some news on Butler’s “News” page and some more content on its homepage. Two of the events are for Tuesday, the 30th and one for the 31st. Not much notice then, but better than none.

Money for the Shredder.

With all the news about the beatings at the Pinnacle Schools and the propaganda regarding the digital initiative, you may have missed this article in the Huntsville Times by Challen Stephens: “Alabama leads nation in desegregation cases; Huntsville looks to shed 42-year-old order.” Stephens notes that Huntsville City Schools “remain under judicial order to erase signs of a dual system based on race,” but have “now decided that ending the order should be a top priority and has made that a performance goal for new Superintendent Casey Wardynski.”

Will the Board achieve this goal by obeying the law, doing the right thing, and eliminating the numerous disparities between predominantly white and predominantly black schools?

Not exactly. No, their strategy instead is — surprise — to hire a consultant: “Wardynski this summer brought in Maree Sneed, a Maryland educator turned Washington lawyer and desegregation specialist.” As of October 12, 2012, “Huntsville has paid Sneed for two days of work, $2,448 for July 31 and $2,076.75 for Sept. 14.”

Might as well have sent that $5524.75 through the shredder because Huntsville is nowhere near achieving even a separate and equal school system.

The 3-Minute Tour.

I can show you this in 3 minutes. Open a new tab and go to the HCS site. Now open 2 more tabs, one for Butler High, and one for Grissom. Some consultant (I’m willing to bet) got paid well over the summer to standardize the schools’ websites. Only they aren’t. Compare the Butler and Grissom home pages you just opened. Sure looks to me like a lot more is happening at one school than at the other.

Go a little deeper. Let’s try Guidance. Butler’s page is blank. Grissom’s says it is still under construction, but directs you to link tabs at top of that page, all of which lead to pages full of information and additional links.

Try Latest News. There are 6 subject links at Grissom. At Butler, there is no news [on 10/26; 3 items on 10/29].

How about School Publications? Grissom: 3 links. Butler: 0.

And so on.

How Can This Be Blamed on Students or Parents?

This is my favorite aspect of our short little tour. I simply can’t imagine how Wardynski, his enablers, or even the most rabid comment posters can blame this very public, very obvious display of inequality on the Butler student body or their parents. The students aren’t responsible for the website, and neither are the parents. I don’t know who is, but I can tell you that it doesn’t take a $2500 a day consultant to see that there’s a problem here.

If Consultant Sneed has any professional integrity, she’ll tell the Colonel to save his money because she can’t convince the Justice Department that Huntsville deserves unitary status.

She can’t because it doesn’t.

Dear Board:

Really guys, just how stupid do you think the US Department of Justice is?

“I don’t want us just to get unitary status, I want us to deserve it,” said McCaulley. I’ll clue you in, Ms. McC — you aren’t getting it any time soon.

McCaulley thinks that “the new digital initiative, awarding laptops to each student, helped standardize the curriculum between schools in different parts of Huntsville,” and that this will make a difference.

Malarky. The curriculum has always been standardized because the same textbooks have been adapted for all schools in the system. Geez, lady, think about it.

David Blair believes it is “way past time” to be getting out from under the deseg order: “It’s the right thing for the kids, right thing for the community and the right thing for the city.” Way past time — agreed. But the order isn’t going away just ’cause you are tired of having it hanging over your head, man.

Here’s a suggestion: instead of talking about digital initiatives, spend a few minutes online visiting the websites of the schools in the system. You might see what is obvious to the rest of us.

And while you are at it, type “Pinnacle” in the search box of the HCS main site.Why, oh why, is there nothing about the system’s alternative school on the system’s site?

One might conclude that the Supe, the Board, and the whole of Merts aren’t proud of their association with this train wreck.

Last Week in Wardynski’s World

Incoherence is indicative of an “indisciplined” (to use one of W’s favorite words) mind. Last week we learned from Colonel Wardynski, Superintendent of the Huntsville City Schools, that:

  1. It is possible to be in two places at once.
  2. Talk is quantifiable.
  3. Obeying the law is optional.

1. The Lee Knife Incident

My kids were wee toddlers when they figured out something couldn’t be both in the playpen and out of the playpen at the same time. The Colonel and crew seem to have trouble with this concept. Consider this report from WAFF concerning a student who was on his way to Lee or at Lee with a knife.

“The school district confirmed the student was taken into custody by school leaders before he ever made it on campus with the knife.”

AND

“They took the student to the office last Thursday, questioned him, searched his backpack, and that’s when they discovered the knife.”

So was the kid on campus with a knife in his backpack, or was the kid not on campus with a knife in his backpack?

In the pen or out of the pen, but not in the pen and out of the pen, OK?

Sounds like some quick backtracking to me, as if the spokesperson realized that if the kid were walking down Meridian Street with a Swiss Army knife in his backpack, that isn’t quite the same as walking the halls of Lee High with a knife in his backpack. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is still legal for me to walk the city streets with my pocket knife in my purse, right?

I’m curious about what “school leaders” have the right to take a kid into “custody” “before he ever made it on campus.”

But no matter: “Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said the district did everything right when responding to the threat.”  Whew, that’s a relief.

The Colonel said, “There are layers of security at the door, layers of security inside, there are humans inside looking at those types of things, and we have people watching the internet.”

What does this mean: “humans inside looking at those types of things”? What types of things? And “humans” as opposed to what, exactly?

As for “people watching the internet,” what can I say but welcome to my site and I hope you spend a good long time here.

I do have one suggestion on how better to employ the “humans inside.” Could they spare a few moments for a glance at the closed circuit TVs? Surely keeping an eye on what is happening now is important, too.

2. Bullying

When WAAY 31’s Shea Allen questioned Wardynski about bullying in the HCS, he was insulted and unable to comprehend the simple metaphor, sweeping it under the rug (“‘And what rug?'”).

Since he’s a numbers guy, he then tried to explain reality to us in his own language:

“Bullying has been going on for a long time. There was bullying when I was a kid. But I can tell you when we look at the statistics, while its [sic] about 80 percent of what you guys talk about its only about one percent of what we see.”

Questions: Who are “you guys” and how do you quantify whoever they are’s talk and come up with 80% about bullying? Then how do you compare this 80% of “talk” to 1% of what “we” [who?] see?

Malarky. Gibberish. Nonsense. Waste of space.

And what are we to make of this:

. . .Wardynski disagrees. “We look at statistics. We look at student discipline in our classrooms and our schools. Its [sic] gone down 60 percent in one year. So we’ve taken a lot of actions,” he insists.

Here, the antecedent of the pronoun it is discipline. So, according to W, discipline “in our classrooms” has “gone down 60 percent in one year.” If you say so, Supe.

3. Federal Funding

For the background on this, go to geekpalaver. Basically, the HCS didn’t obey the law when it came to accepting Federal funding for Special Education and now the Feds and State want back $2.6 million.

WAFF reported that “Wardynski said it’s disappointing the feds are so fixated on following spending formulas instead of what’s actually achieved”:

“And what is achieved, of course, is that we’ve gone in the right direction on student achievement. The number of schools that failed for special education students on AYP went down as this was all transpiring.  So I think the appropriate thing for government to do is focus on ‘what are taxpayers getting for their money?’ and not on ‘we gotta spend a lot of taxpayer money,'” he said.

As I see it, there is nothing for a rational, law-abiding person to talk about here. It’s as clear as a choice can be.

If you don’t want to play by the rules, stay out of the game:

  • Take Federal funds; follow Federal laws governing the distribution of those funds.
  • Refuse Federal funds; join the Crowley crowd: Do what thou wilt shalt be the whole of the law.

Colonel, We Need to Talk About BLOOD

Those of you following the latest example of systematic ineptitude in the Huntsville City Schools know that the superintendent Col. Casey Wardynski’s reaction to the beating of a 15-year-old girl in a Butler High bathroom is beginning to sound chillingly similar to the litany of domestic abusers: first, underplay the seriousness of the crime (for example, calling it horseplay. Colonel, when it is three against one, it isn’t horseplay) and next, blame the victim (for example, for being “in a bathroom 20 minutes after class begins“).

I hope I’m wrong but I can easily imagine that the next command from the Colonel will be that teachers cease and desist from granting bathroom passes or be prepared to answer to his beady-eyed wrath. Kids can go between classes or not at all will be the theme.

Colonel, there are reasons, good reasons, why a female of child-bearing age may need to go to the bathroom at an unscheduled time.

I haven’t any reason to believe this pertains to the girl in the Butler case. That doesn’t matter.

It pertains to all females who menstruate. Yes, folks, I’m going to describe to the Colonel in graphic detail why sometimes a female might need to go to the toilet 20 minutes after class begins. So if this might offend you, just click out. The Colonel needs to know what it means to bleed for 2 to 7 days every 21 to 35 days. I doubt that strategies for accommodating menstruating students was a topic discussed at Broad Academy, Rand, Harvard, or West Point.

While the average age for starting to have periods is still claimed as 12 in the US, girls who start as young as 8 are not unusual, and 10 to 11 seems to be increasingly common. I can bet you that some fourth or fifth grade teacher in the HCS is going to have to deal with a girl getting her first period right there in his or her classroom.

It happened to a girl in her class when my daughter was in fifth grade. The little girl was terrified. The male teacher got two older girls, one my daughter, who from her requests through the year to go to the nurse’s office suggested to him she knew what was happening, to take the girl to the nurse so she could call her mom and get cleaned up and calmed down. This, Colonel, is what it is like some days in the classroom.

When girls first get their periods, they are irregular, and in fact there isn’t a woman reading this who even after years of bleeding hasn’t been caught by surprise. When a girl tells the teacher she needs to go to the bathroom or to the nurse, telling her to hold it til the next break isn’t going to work if she has started to bleed. Blood flows. Menstruation isn’t like urination or defecation. There’s no way to control it.

But you object that by the time a girl is 14 or 15 or 16 she should be experienced enough to handle her “problem” without disrupting the school routine. If she has five minutes between classes on opposite sides of the building, does she really have the time she needs to wait her turn in the bathroom and then go through the hassle of changing a tampon or a pad? If she can’t do the impossible and is thus tardy to class, she has a strike against her. So maybe she thinks it is better to get to class on time and go to the bathroom once things settle down.

Or maybe she is caught off guard. Her period starts early, and it happens to be ten minutes into an hour-long class. Maybe she is wearing loose heavy dark jeans and absorbent cotton briefs and it comes on as a drip drip. But maybe it comes on as a full flow and she is wearing tight lightweight white pants. She needs to get to the bathroom and she needs to go now.

Or maybe she went to the bathroom and changed pad and/or tampon between classes but she is having a really heavy period. She passes a big black glob of blood that she knows has leaked past the tampon and has a good chance of overflowing the pad, if she is double protected, which wouldn’t necessarily be the case. I can remember a time when I went to the toilet, changed tampon and pad, went out to get the newspaper, passed a blob, and immediately returned to the bathroom. Colonel, this happens. And when it happens, a girl needs to go to the bathroom. Now.

No, it isn’t the HCS’s fault that for females of child-bearing age life is sometimes — well, regularly — a bloody mess. You can blame it on the parents, I guess, for giving life or the chance for a life, to females. Female students’ bloody messes are something that they bring with them into Wardynski’s world. Make it more difficult for them to go to the bathroom when they need to and I guarantee you you’ll see a rise in absences.

Colonel, this is life. This is what you have to deal with if you are going to involve yourself in the lives of real flesh and blood young women. You can’t stop their blood flowing. If you can’t handle the bloody messiness of real life, go back to your virtual solider games where the blood doesn’t stain and doesn’t stink.

https://abouthcs.wordpress.com/