A school in Avignon, France, has asked parents to stop throwing their children over the fence when they’re running late. For security reasons the school closes and locks its gate at eight a.m. which, actually, makes some sense, and it still sounds funny that some parents were actually resorting to throwing their kids over the fence. If people can just throw whole children over the fence that seems like the school still has a security problem in spite of the locked gates.
It also reminded me that in four years of high school I was only late once and even then I was only technically late. I remember it because my school had a policy that you got two extra points for perfect attendance and, well, in algebra those two points could mean the difference between passing and failing, which is pretty much the only math question I could get right. And the worst part is I wasn’t even really late. It started the previous afternoon on the bus ride home. A bunch of kids got rowdy and decided it would be funny to throw books. I know our science books had lines like “Someday man will reach the moon” and a chapter on how demons cause disease but still it was a pain if you had to replace them. One hit me in the head, I threw it back, the bus driver stopped the bus and yelled at me, and I got off and walked the rest of the way home.
The next day I was in my first class of the day which of course had to be gym. It was a terrible way to start every school day, and it got even worse when I was called to the office. Class had already started. Why couldn’t they call me before class started, or at least early enough that I wouldn’t have to sit in the office in my gym shorts and t-shirt. The gym teacher hadn’t taken attendance yet but I explained that I had to go to the office. He sort of waved me away because he was busy dealing with a bunch of runaway basketballs. I went to the office and the assistant principal said, “So I understand you were throwing books at people on the bus yesterday.”
I calmly and quietly explained what happened and I have to admit the assistant principal was a reasonable and understanding guy and dropped the whole thing, and also actually trying to prove anything would be too much trouble.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I learned the gym teacher had marked me absent for the day and it was really too much trouble to try and prove I’d really been in that day, so I just accepted barely failing algebra.