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Nobody Likes Dealing With Dress Codes

, , , , , , | Learning | December 1, 2023

I’m a male middle school teacher. My students are around ten to fourteen years old. My school has recently tried to crack down on dress codes after a few years of basically not enforcing anything beyond “cover your private parts”. A lot of teachers, including me, have not been looking forward to being the ones to enforce the dress code because of the stigma around “looking at students” that so many parents and others like to throw around.

After a few relatively minor incidents without any real protest from students, I have my first big case. A female student comes in on a rainy morning in a tight white T-shirt, which has now been rendered completely see-through because she didn’t have a rain jacket or umbrella. Needless to say, her dark-colored bra is completely visible. Unfortunately, this particular girl is known as a troublemaker, with parents who always take her side no matter what, at least in public.

Me: “[Girl], do you have a jacket or sweatshirt you can wear, at least until your T-shirt dries?”

Girl: “Why? What’s wrong with my shirt?”

Me: “You know exactly what’s wrong. Either find something to cover up until your shirt dries, or go change into your gym shirt.”

Our school requires either plain black, dark grey or school color clothing (blue and gold) for gym class. Students can fail the class if they have too many days without appropriate clothing, and since [Girl] is passing gym, I know that she must have an appropriate shirt in her gym locker.

Girl: “I don’t care if anyone sees my bra. My body, my choice.”

Me: “Outside of school, that’s up to you and your parents. In school, it’s not acceptable.”

At this point, several other students start telling her to quit making a scene, and she finally walks out of class and doesn’t return. During my prep hour, the school principal comes into my room.

Principal: “So… what did you say to [Girl] about her T-shirt?”

Me: “I told her that it’s unacceptable in school, and she needs to either wear a jacket or sweatshirt to cover herself until her T-shirt dries or change into her gym shirt.”

Principal: “You didn’t say anything about wet T-shirt contests or dancing on poles?”

Me: “Of course not.”

Principal: “I didn’t think so. [Girl]’s mom came into school after [Girl] apparently called from her cell phone. Mom insisted that everything was perfectly okay and that Mr. [My Name] needs to stop being a pervert.”

Me: “As expected. Any decision?”

Principal: “Yep. One-day suspension for [Girl] for dress code violation and unapproved use of her cell phone during school hours, and Mom has to re-sign the waiver declaring that she’s read the Parent Handbook.”

Me: “Anything for me?”

Principal: “Nope. Even Mom was chewing [Girl] out for dressing like a [derogatory term for a woman who enjoys physical relationships] while they were walking out the door, thinking they were out of hearing range.”

As If The Kid Gives One Single Baby Poop What Color He Wears, Part 2

, , , , , | Related | November 30, 2023

My sister-in-law was pregnant, and the prognosis was that she was having a girl. So, everything was pink, pink, pink. My dad got annoyed with me when I bought gender-neutral days-of-the-week onesies rather than something pink for the baby shower.

Guess what my nephew wore for the first week of his life while everything else was returned?

The lesson was not learned when it came time for my baby shower. We got pink everything. Since mine was from a DNA scan rather than an ultrasound, it was accurate, but still…

As If The Kid Gives One Single Baby Poop What Color He Wears

The Need For A Playground Is Not Grounded

, , , , , , , , | Right | November 29, 2023

In my time working as a waiter, both as a room server and as management, in a restaurant in the centre of Rome, there have been a lot of baffling complaints, sometimes about food, sometimes about the service, and sometimes about even the decorations’ arrangement. So, I kind of have seen them all, and I used to think I was prepared for pretty much everything.

Then, one day, during an off-season day, I see a family of four composed of two adults, one preschooler girl, and a boy who is clearly older than the girl. Beyond noticing them as they enter, I don’t pay much attention to them and let a waitress seat them, but then, after a little while, the same waitress seeks me out.

Waitress: “[My Name], the mom at table seventeen wants you to come over and talk to them. They’re foreigners, so be aware.”

And off I go. I see that the dad is saying something in his native language to the daughter fussing on the chair, and the mom is looking at me with a scowl on her face.

Me: *In English* “Good day. Have you asked for me?”

Mother: *Speaking slowly* “Yes! I asked your waitress if you had a playground here, but she said she did not understand.”

Me: *Blinking* “A playground? Inside here, you mean?”

Mother: “Yes, inside. You do have it, no?”

Me: “No, madam, we do not have a playground in this restaurant.”

Mother: *Gesticulating furiously to mimic the concept* “Again? I mean a place with small sliding things and climbing bars, not trees and sand.”

Me: “I got what you meant the first time; this restaurant doesn’t have either one.”

Mother: “Don’t be strict with words. I clearly mean a place where children can play away from the table.”

Me: *Resisting the urge to roll my eyes* “Madam, I know what you meant. In this restaurant, there is no playground, but you can have your children go around the table if they don’t disturb other patrons and the servers.”

The mother scoffs and says something in her language. I shrug and go back to my other duties until I get called again… for the same table.

Waiter: “[My Name], sir, come quick. Table seventeen is getting antsy.”

I am expecting a complaint about the prices. I am expecting a complaint about the lack of that d***ed playground.

I am not expecting to see the waitress from earlier having an incoherent shouting match with the mother, drawing the attention of nearby tables, while the girl is all red-faced and being restrained by the father, and the boy is looking at me pleadingly as I arrive. I rush to separate the two.

Me: “Wait, wait, wait! You all calm down this instant! What’s the problem here?”

Before anyone else can speak…

Boy: *In English* “Mom angry you have no play place. She ask me to pull sister skirt and do thing.

He mimes the gesture of pulling on a skirt and then pantomimes something unclear

Boy: “But I no wish to; is dirty and bad.”

The mother barks something at the boy while the waitress turns to me.

Waitress: “He’s trying to say he was refusing to change the sister’s diaper in the middle of the room. I intervened just as this lady tried to start changing the girl herself.”

Me: *In Italian* “Ah, so that’s how it is, huh? I’ll get to it.” *In English, to the family* “You pay up for what you consumed and get out.”

Mother: “No! You don’t give us access to a playground, I leave you a present. That’s my family’s way!”

At this point, the girl, well out of breath, is angrily seething on a chair, so the father is finally in condition to intervene and say something to his wife, which is enough to make her stop angrily gibbering. Instead, she leaves the bill on the table and then gets up to leave, taking the children with her. I leave to get the tab and present it to the man.

Father: *In English* “Sorry for my wife. We’re Czech, and she’s here just to take the usual pictures. She’s close-minded, and it was a fight to take her here instead of to McDonald’s.”

Me: “I could see that. But why the playground?”

Father: “A lot of Czech restaurants have one; she was convinced it worked like that everywhere. Again, I’m sorry for her behaviour.” 

And with that, he paid, tipped the customary 10%, and left in a hurry.

Kids May Lie, But Some Things Always Warrant Investigating

, , , , , , | Healthy | November 29, 2023

One week, I started suffering from stomach pain. I grew increasingly uncomfortable and felt weaker all week long. My parents let me stay home from school for the first couple of days, but then, they decided I was faking.

They dragged me to the doctor and demanded he tell me that I was faking.

The doctor examined me and ran some tests. He kept me overnight while the tests were run, to my parent’s objections. They were upset that he was “humoring” me.

Finally, when the test results came in, the doctor told my parents:

Doctor: “I can’t tell him he’s faking. He’s got stomach cancer.”

Clearly, I survived the cancer, but it was an unpleasantly close thing. I also don’t talk to my parents much anymore. They wonder why.

Tradition Shouldn’t Be Frozen In Place

, , , , , , , | Right | November 27, 2023

A father is shopping with his son, maybe five or six years old. Halloween is approaching, so they’re looking at the children’s costumes. The father approaches me.

Father: “Excuse me, but do you have any costumes from Frozen?”

Me: “Only some dresses, I think.”

Father: “Yes, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Me: “Oh! Follow me.”

I take them around the corner to where we have our Disney selection, including plenty of princess dresses. The boy’s eyes go wide.

Boy: “Wow! Dad, they have all of them!”

The boy rushes forward and starts comparing “Frozen” dresses. The father shares a look with me.

Father: “I bet you don’t get many boys trying on the dresses, do you?”

Me: “I guess we don’t, but I think it’s fantastic!”

Father: “I told him he could be whatever he wanted for Halloween this year as long as he got good grades. The little guy only went and got the highest grades in his class, so I would be a terrible father if I didn’t live up to my word.”

Me: “Well, you’re doing a great job.”

I start to walk away, but then the father calls back for me.

Father: “Do you have the dresses in adult sizes, too? Part of the deal is that we would trick-or-treat together — in a joint costume.”

Me: “Which means…”

Father: “Which means if he’s going to be Elsa, then I’ll have to be Anna.” 

We both smiled, but sadly, we didn’t carry the range in adult size. I did stop to help him find them online, though! On Halloween night itself, they both came into the store to show off to me how they looked in their matching dresses! Best Halloween in retail ever!