Adorning Yourself With Malicious Compliance

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: TandyAngie | November 16, 2020

Our junior high dress code is a pain. Most teachers don’t care so long as kids aren’t distracting. The principal of the junior high, however, insists on enforcing every single rule.

A friend of mine wears a long-sleeve shirt under a tank top.

Principal: “You cannot wear that tank top; tank tops are against the dress code. Please take it off.”

Friend: “I can’t take off the tank top; the long-sleeve shirt is slightly see-through.”

That’s another violation. Instead of allowing her to simply wear the tank over her long-sleeve shirt, the principal sends her home.

I decide this won’t stand. I study every rule in the dress code to prove how stupid it is. I start off small and work my way up.

Dress Code: “No open-toed sandals.”

This one is easy. I wear open-toed high heels. There’s nothing in the rules against high heels, and the open-toed rule only applies to sandals the way it is written.

Dress Code: “Shirts must be tucked into pants. Belts must be worn through belt loops.”

I knock out two here by wearing a skirt. Skirts, or at least the one I wear, have no belt loops and aren’t considered pants so I am not required to tuck in anything or wear a stupid belt.

Dress Code: “Backpacks must be plain-colored with no pins or excessive accessories.”

I pick up a briefcase from a resale shop and slap it with every sticker I can find. Any random logo or inspirational sticker I have laying around gets slapped on it. Technically, a briefcase isn’t a backpack.

Dress Code: “No costumes allowed.”

I verify this; my school considers a costume to be anything only worn for a certain period of time or for a certain reason. If you wear it all day, it is an outfit, not a costume. I abuse this one so badly. Once a week, I dress up as a lawyer, a clown, a hippie, a Shakespearean actor, a superhero, a cameraman, etc., complete, of course, with as many accessories as I can handle. So long as I never take them off — this makes gym class interesting — they aren’t considered part of a costume. I end up letting classmates pick out what I will dress as each week.

Dress Code: “No crazy hairstyles.”

I keep my hair natural colors, and I keep the styles something that was at least popular at one point. The beehive takes forever but is the most satisfying. I give myself bonus points if I can find pictures of adults who are still wearing their hair like that currently.

Dress Code: “Shirts are not allowed to have logos or print, only patterns and consistent designs.”

“Consistent designs” is my loophole here. No print, fine, but consistent print made specifically to look like a design? At this point, the principal is going mad and she doesn’t let this one slide. She insists I change, which I expected.

Dress Code: “Gym shorts must reach students’ knees or as long as their fingertips.”

Guess whose fingertips reach about three inches below her butt? Me! I go from wearing a shirt that says, “Bite me!” all over it to an outfit that includes short shorts. But my shorts are still longer than my fingers. I even offer to change back into my other clothes.

At this point in the year, we are almost done with school. Other kids are following my lead, and we are driving the principal mad. I decide to kick it up a bit further. I attack what should be the most basic rules.

Dress Code: “No sunglasses.”

Rose-colored glasses aren’t considered sunglasses because you can easily see through them. Still, the principal jerks them off my face and insists that I won’t get them back until the end of the day.

Dress Code: “No tank tops.”

I wear a dress with spaghetti straps. It isn’t a shirt, so I’m not breaking a rule.

Dress Code: “Belts must be plain with no dangerous materials.”

Plain it must be, so plain I go. I wear a shoestring as a belt. I wear a braided yarn string as a belt. I even wear a spandex band sewn to my pants as a belt.

Dress Code: “No Crocs.”

Crocs are not the only rubber shoe, my friends. I find every off-brand Croc I can get a hold of.

Finally, at the end of the year, I wear one of my most outrageous outfits. I wear a see-through dress — like a bathing suit cover-up — over leggings and a shirt that barely classifies as a T-shirt. I wear shoes with a four-inch cork heel. I have on fake glasses — no lenses — and a four-inch-wide headband. I wear bangles up to my elbows and anklets on each foot. I have a box to carry my books in that is decorated with blinking battery-powered fairy lights. I walk right up to the principal and give her a smile.

Kids pause to see what will happen. I wait to see what the principal will say. We’ve had this conversation all year. She will point out the rule I “broke” and I will prove that I haven’t done so.

Principal: *Sigh* “Fine, but if even one teacher says you’re distracting to the class, you change clothes.”

We shake on it. The only thing I have to ditch is most of the bangles; they keep clanging while I write.

In the end, I ended up getting the dress code rewritten and amended, and the principal implemented a new procedure where dress code violations did not result in being sent home; they were noted and students had to wear a piece of duct tape indicating the specific violation. If you forgot a belt, you put a piece of tape on a belt loop.

Kids only started to get in trouble after three dress code violations in the same week. Since she lightened up on the dress code and how harshly it was punished, she stopped having trouble with kids breaking it all the time. It worked out for everyone.

Related:
Malicious Compliance, One Gram At A Time
Unloading Some Beautiful Malicious Compliance
REALLY Malicious Compliance
The Currency Of Malicious Compliance

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A Teacher Devoid Of Common Sense

, , , , , , | Learning | July 1, 2020

A very long time ago — in the 1970s — I was taking a general science course called “Physical Science”. This was a required course, so the classroom was very large and packed full of students, most of whom were only present because it was required.

The instructors of two adjacent Physical Science classrooms frequently opened up the temporary wall between the classes and held joint class sessions, especially when reviewing material for examinations. The instructors had very different teaching styles; [Popular Teacher] was popular with students and always cheerful, while [Strict Teacher] was very formal and was widely reported to have never smiled. 

Even in my early teens, I was very interested in science. I frequently read science and engineering journals at the school library — which irritated the head librarian as those journals were intended for the teaching staff. As a result, I was usually bored to tears in the Physical Science class. The material presented was intended for a general audience of people unfamiliar — and often uninterested — in science, specifically to give students a basic understanding of what science was. I was enrolled in [Strict Teacher]’s class and often clashed with him when he put out material from the required curriculum which was outdated and/or inaccurate. 

“There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas,” [Strict Teacher] explained.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Strict Teacher]?” I interjected. “I read an article in Scientific American which says plasma is a fourth state of matter.”

“I read the same article,” the teacher explained, “but I have to teach what is currently in the course textbooks.”

Since I was usually right, we would have a brief discussion in class about the new information which hadn’t made it into the course materials, and my grade never suffered for challenging his authority.

[Popular Teacher], on the other hand, did not enjoy being questioned by students. He was popular with most of his students because he encouraged those with no interest in science to tease and mock those who wanted to learn. Oddly, [Strict Teacher]’s students tended to have higher test scores in all manner of scientific subjects than the students in [Popular Teacher]’s classes.

During one of the joint class sessions, while discussing scientific terminology, [Popular Teacher] mentioned that the suffix “-oid” was used to describe something similar to the root term. A couple of students asked about hemorrhoids, which [Popular Teacher] said didn’t count. Another student asked about asteroids, at which point [Popular Teacher] began to mock the students questioning him, calling them “nasty kids.”

[Strict Teacher] went rigid with anger, because [Popular Teacher] was belittling students who were at least interested in the material, encouraging their uninterested classmates to bully them. Because he was unwilling to confront [Popular Teacher] in front of the students and thereby diminish [Popular Teacher]’s authority in the classroom, [Strict Teacher] held his tongue, but he looked annoyed.

I raised my hand, and [Strict Teacher] called on me.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Popular Teacher],” I said. “’Hemorrhoid’ is a medical term adding the ‘-oid’ suffix to the Greek word for ‘vein’. ‘Hemorrhoid’ basically means, ‘little vein.’ So that was a valid question.”

“All right, smart guy,” said [Popular Teacher]. “What about ‘asteroid’, then?”

“Also valid,” I confirmed. “’Aster’ is the Greek word for ‘star’, so ‘asteroid’ means ‘little star’.”

[Popular Teacher], slightly taken aback, just said, “Okay, whatever.”

As [Popular Teacher] tried to get his lesson back on track, I noticed [Strict Teacher] turn quickly away from the class… to hide his smile.


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

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Takes One To Know One

, , , , , , | Learning | June 3, 2019

When I was in grade seven, our class got a substitute teacher one day. The teacher had a condescending attitude and was talking down to the class. She started off lecturing them about good behavior and then said, “I want you all to be benevolent. You do know what that means?”

I put up my hand and asked, “Is it okay if we act malevolent, instead?”

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Softening Of The Contrarian Librarian

, , , , | Learning | September 13, 2018

(My school is two stories tall. There are two main stairwells, as well as a third stairwell in the library. The two main stairwells become unbearably crowded with students trying to get to their next classes, but the one in the library does not. Being an avid reader, I like to take those stairs to get to class because I can also spend a few minutes browsing for new books to read in my spare time. One day while I’m at school, my mom gets a call from the librarian.)

Librarian: “Hello, is this [My Name]’s mother?”

Mom: “Yes, this is [Mom], can I help you?”

Librarian: “Hello, Mrs. [Mom], I’m calling to ask if you’d like me to ban your daughter from the library.”

Mom: *aghast* “Ban her from the library?! What did she do?”

Librarian: “I see her wandering around the library between every single class period!”

Mom: “Is she causing a disturbance?”

Librarian: “No, she’s very quiet, but she’s here during every transition period. Sometimes she even spends her lunch period in here!”

Mom: *confused* “So, she’s skipping her classes?”

Librarian: “Well, no, she’s hasn’t been marked absent from her classes.”

Mom: *still confused* “Is she running late to her classes?”

Librarian: “No, she hasn’t been marked tardy, either.”

Mom: “Is she failing any of her classes?”

Librarian: “No, ma’am, she’s making good grades in all of her classes.”

Mom: *annoyed* “So, you mean to tell me that she’s making it to all of her classes on time, getting good grades, and quietly looking at books between her classes… and you’re asking if I want her to be banned from the library?”

Librarian: *is quiet for a few moments* “I’m sorry to have bothered you, Mrs. [Mom]. Have a nice day.” *click*

(The librarian was significantly more friendly towards me after that, recommending and reserving lots of new books for me whenever I returned the ones I’d finished, and I continued to use the library stairs without any more trouble.)

Related:
The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work
Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Inattentiveness Of The Contrarian Librarian

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Murdering Your Assignment

, , , , | Learning | July 24, 2018

(I am in sixth grade. I love to write stories, but I know that my teacher is very particular as to the criteria she gives for assignments. Therefore, by the end of the year, I always ask the teacher to clarify the assignment several times before starting.)

Teacher: “Your assignment is to write a mystery story. In the story, someone has to disappear, but in the end they are found. It needs to be four pages long.”

Me: “Are there any other criteria for the story? Any limitations on what we can or cannot write?”

Teacher: “No, you can write anything you want to write about.”

Me: “Anything?”

Teacher: *annoyed* “Yes, you can write any kind of mystery story you want.”

Me: “Really? Anything? No limits?”

Teacher: *really annoyed* “Anything! Only the original requirements of four pages, and that someone must disappear and be found. Your rough draft is due in two weeks.”

(Several days later, after some kids have finished their draft:)

Several Students: “[Teacher]! Four pages is way too long!”

Teacher: “Okay, everyone should make their story two pages long.”

(A few days later:)

Me: “[Teacher], I wrote four pages like you originally assigned. We did the peer review with my classmates, and I can’t figure out how to cut out half of my story. Can you help me?”

Teacher: *takes paper, looks at it for 30 seconds* “It’s too long; make it shorter.”

(Due date of the assignment:)

Teacher: “Okay, class, now that everyone has finished their mystery story draft, tell me what kind of mystery stories are there?”

Student #2: “Murder mysteries!”

Teacher: “No! No one is allowed to do a murder mystery! No murder, no violence! No one should have included any of these in their stories! I expect you to finalize your drafts and turn them in in two days.”

(Half the class completely rewrote their stories, since they assumed “anything” meant that a murder mystery was okay.)

 

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