Date:  Thu, 6 Jun 2002 01:32:09 EDT

Thank you Mary Lou for the laugh.
Hello to the rest of you.
       I needed the laugh after an education focused phone call I received this evening.  If you are one of the names on the list who does not want to hear anything about Snohomish schools, better delete now.  You are not going  to be pleased with what follows.
       I do not vouch for the total accuracy of the following information. The Mom who called me to ask the names of school board members is sometimes more flamboyant in her descriptions than I would consider a factual  rendition.  Even so, I have known her for years and feel confident the
information is basically correct, especially as one of her children was directly involved in part of it.
       The time is upon us for senior pranks.  I am told a car appeared on the roof of the school last year.  That is a bit hard to top, but Snohomish students are nothing if not inventive.  This year a stone/concrete donkey appeared on the school grounds firmly planted in a concrete foundation.  I
didn't think to ask the size or exact location.  Personally, I hope it was life size and very visable from Avenue D so I may enjoy it the next time I drive through town.  High school officials give every indication of being more Queen Victoria's kindred spirits than Mark Twain's or George Burns.
Definitely they are not related to Lucile Ball.
       Another group of students, rather a large group, somewhat over 20 of them were in the process of repeating a stunt of several years ago when the police said, "No."  They were towing a school car from school property to hide it.  They could have  started it and driven it away, or so my source
believes, but did not do so.  It was their intent to return it after due excitement over it being missing.  The local officers of the law, in true Snohomish tradition of keeping the peace and promoting respect for law and order, instructed the students to return the car and to go home.  These instructions were obeyed with good spirits by the students.  The officers did not make any arrests for an obvious senior prank, part of a long tradition of  harmless mischief the week or two before graduation.
       Another prank was not so harmless, as it resulted in actual damage. Locks were filled with super glue or related compound.  Scattering garbage from local business garbage cans, while not exactly damaging, was certainly disrespectful.
       I am sure this is not an exhaustive list, but you get the picture.  Toilet paper has become tame.
       The high school authorities have expressed the intention of pressing for felony charges to be filed against the students in the car prank, probably others also.  They have revoked the privilege of marching in the baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies.  Apparently they are unable to restrict attendance at the all night party because it is off school grounds.
I am assuming unable because they have not done so.  The students will be awarded their diplomas, but not at the ceremony with their fellow classmates.

       One of the student baccalaureate speakers would have been under this ruling except for his previous elevation by his peers to the speaking position.  He will be allowed to participate in both baccalaureate and the graduation ceremonies.
       The appearance is that not being amused is an understatement as the same officials of our illustrious school district also have instructed the police department to arrest and prosecute to the fullest ALL infringements of the law.  In pursuit of this objective of using no discretion, no teachable
moments, no higher order thinking skills in carrying out their public duties,  and acting on a tip, beer was discovered in car driven by a student and  parked in the school parking lot.  The beer was readily visible, no search  warrant was necessary.  Oh dear, I think this fell under the category of
unintended consequences.  The student is one of the "best and brightest" as the saying goes.  My source did not say if this has induced the school authorities, politeness impedes my use of appropriate adjectives and earned titles, ---- to use common sense or to allow the police to do their job without undue interference.  She did say these authorities were flustered,  wishing to undo their edict on a selective basis.  She also reported the police department, whether in the person of the officer involved or the entire department was not stated, has firmly told the school personnel the
Snohomish police will not participate in different sets of standards depending on how school officials view individual students.
       From my own experiences living in Snohomish, having my children attend Snohomish schools, being actively involved as a volunteer in the classroom, in parent groups, and closely attending to the over all administration of this district, it sounds credible to me.  I hope all I have heard and related
is exaggerated, that I have expended this emotional energy without good cause.  I doubt it, but I hope.  My friend has a large family from college graduate to elementary age.  She has, all the years I have know her, been an adamant school supporter and very involved in the lives of her children.
She believes in consequences, even painful ones, when they are earned.  As most parents, she is tuned to age appropriate and the consequences being tied to the "crime."
       One of the last things she said in the conversation was, "I will never  vote for a school levy again, even though my children are still in school."
       Here are my questions: Given that we all know senior pranks will occur  each spring, that they are part of our cultural rite of passage in Snohomish.
 Given that the very nature of this rite is to push the envelope of  acceptable.  Given that stories of the exploits of previous generations occupy places of esteem, humor, and fond memories in popular literature, in communities, and in families. -- What has been put in place within our local  high school to guide our graduating youth into healthy, safe, parameters for  creative pranks.  In what class has the reason and motivation for the exuberant, unscheduled, unsanctioned senior pranks been iscussed or encouraged to be thought about?  Where has the question been posed, how can these legitimate needs and desires be carried out without harm to self or others? Without harm to property? Without disrespect?  Do the students know that the adults who teach them, the adults who administer the school, and the  community in general want them to have fun that will be a fond memory not a
shameful one in later years?  Do they know we value creativity,  inventiveness, humor?  Or maybe some don't.  In what ways has the high school  been pro active in challenging students to make wise decisions in designing and enjoying this uniquely senior student celebration?  Or have they, as it
appears from the phone call this evening, used their energy in a vindictive temper tantrum focused like a 10 gage shotgun?

Miriam Weldin