Yes, it’s a teachable moment, but what’s the lesson?

So today I got called on the carpet for something that happened yesterday morning. It was my class’s day to work at our sister school for our vocational work site experience. It’s a fairly big prod…

Source: Yes, it’s a teachable moment, but what’s the lesson?

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David Fried Oppenheim: Too Many ‘Yeah, buts’

David Fried Oppenheim in Northampton Superior Court, February, 2012

When I was in high school, I had a teacher who used the phrase “no yeah, buts.” He said it so quickly, it sounded like yabbutz. And “too many yeah, buts” is what comes to my mind about the testimony of the defense as the jury deliberates in the rape trial of David Fried Oppenheim.

I was not present for the entire trial, nor am I privy to the documents entered into evidence, but I do think that the defense testimony has too many ‘yeah, buts’ in its case. To wit:
• I found it disingenuous that a person who professed his computer expertise on the one hand would not know that instant messages are only kept on the server for four days. I found that odd.

• I disagree with Attorney Hoose’s assertion that teenagers are unable to hide anything of the magnitude of the allegations. As a teacher of troubled kids I know they can hide more than you can imagine.

• I also disagree, from personal knowledge, with Attorney Hoose’s statement ‘no one ever gets rid of a diary.’
I think David Fried Oppenheim did know about the four day expiry for AIM. I think that is why instant messaging was his preferred mode of communication. I don’t think it occurred to him that the victim would take the extra step of saving the communications.

His mother testified that she never saw the plaintiff at the site, yet a few months after she took over, the menu was changed so instead of showing up around 4, she started to arrive at 5 or 6. The plaintiff testified that she usually showed up at PACE at around 2:30 p.m. The high school that she attended dismisses school at 2 p.m., so she could have hours alone with DFO without his mother’s seeing it.
Defense also stated there was no possible window for SFO and DFO to be apart, yet SFO served on the Easthampton City Council during that time…

On the other side, despite Attorney Hoose’s characterization of the witnesses for the prosecution as a little nutty/a little slutty (although not in those exact words) I found them sane and believable. The fact that the plaintiff was an officer of the National Honor Society, the Harvard Model UN and the Key Club during her time at PACE is not lost on me and does nothing to detract from her credibility.

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setting boundaries with a roomie

OK, so I’m feeling just the teensiest bit exploited right now (mind you, I’m very sensitive to these things) My landlady of less than one week is displaying some behaviours I am going to have to deal with, sooner or later. And this is the kind of thing where sooner is better.

To wit: My Landlady likes to keep the toilet seat cover down and the shower curtain open. I prefer the other way around: The curtain needs to dry out between showers, and I don’t like to bend to lift the lid, or even touch it. When she got home after my first day, she went right into the bathroom and opened the shower curtain! I mean, that’s kind of a my way or the highway statement, right?

Over the weekeknd, she wasn’t home and the sugar bowl ran out. I didn’t know where the sugar was, so I bought more. The sugar in the bowl was ‘raw sugar’ I bought regular white sugar (I thought ‘raw’ sugar was just white sugar with molasses added) anyway, when she got back, she emptied out my sugar into a container and refilled the sugar bowl with her sugar. OK, that’s not so bad, but today was.

She put some clothes into the washer and said “I have some underwear and light things to be washed, do you have any?”  I don’t like to wash my underthings with anyone else’s  (not even my husband’s!) but I didn’t want to say that, so I said no, all I have is dark things. She said “Oh, Ok, I’ll throw my bluejeans in.” She then started the load, added her soap and stopped it. She said “I never use the dryer except in the winter, I hang things up or use the little dryer in the bathtub.” Oh, great. I had just appropriated the little dryer and put it in my closet to dry my towels.

That was my first thought. After she left, I thought about how she already put her soap in, so I can’t use my soap, or even take her things out, do mine and put hers back in. After the load was done, I took out the stuff and realized that she must want me to hang her things up! And there were several pairs of underwear! So, basically, she left me with no choice but to do her wash and hang it up! What am I, the house bitch?  What I did was throw the whole load into the dryer. She wrote to me that she had a washer and dryer at each house, not I have a dryer, but you can’t use it. I guess I’ll buy my own drying rack, give her hers back. I draw the line at doing my landlady’s underwear.

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oil companies: Obama never said don’t pay them for six months

Court Blocks Obama Ban on Deep Water Drilling

OK, so this is in response to the bruhaha about the smackdown ruling (and it was all that) by federal judge Martin Feldman today. The ruling says, in essence, that the perceived danger of drilling [gulf disaster notwithstanding] does not trump a region’s right to make a living. OK, but just wait a second here. Obama never told the oil companies to stop paying the workers, just to halt the deepwater drilling!

Instead of fighting Obama’s ruling, these companies (and Judge Feldman) should embrace the opportunity that such a moratorium provides. Just think of what could be done in six months of paid training to strengthen the safety and esprit de corps within these respective companies. Oh what couldn’t be done in six months!

To begin with, all of the refineries, wells and anything they operate in US waters could use a complete safety, cleaning and maintenance evaluation and overhaul. Top to bottom; every scrap!  Then, the workers could create safety benchmarks, standard operating procedures and training manuals. They could cross-train, so every worker is trained in more than one job. They could work on some team building and trust exercises. Take a college course, maybe. Whatever.  It could be like a sabbatical, focused on learning and sharing ideas; a kind of combination retreat and skunkworks.

The moratorium on deep water drilling should stay in place. Oil companies should use this time to pay their workers while they perform the necessary audits and safety standards. They can afford it!  Six months off the rig, or at least away from a production/bottom line focus, could provide decades of safety and innovation in the years to come.

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South Hadley fails again

sh-anti-bully-report-0610

Questions about the task force and policy:

1. why did SH feel they needed to reinvent the wheel? Why couldn’t they just research policies in place elsewhere and tailor them to SH? Didn’t Barbara Colorosso have a
template thy could use for all of the thousands they spent bringing her here (and why didn’t they implement the policies she recommended?)

2. Some of the things I heard about the committee make me sick. Between the heavy handed ‘my way or the highway’ administration attitude, the teacher who said the girls were “rightly” upset with Phoebe (in other words, she DESERVED this), that wingnut-who-shall-not-be-named that used to blather on Masslive…What do expect
from a group with those dynamics? if a camel is a horse built by a committee, this is a jackass.

3. Gus Sayer’s insistence of the word exclusion to make parents of special needs
happy is just as much of a joke as the recently passed anti bullying law, by
mandating something that is unenforceable on the part of school
personnel. While I think the idea of a student inviting all the kids but one to
a birthday party is reprehensible, I don’t think the school can tell
someone who can come into their house.

This is the exact wording:
“Bullying is also prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school related or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the district, if the act or acts in question create a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringe on the rights of the victim at school, or materially and substantially
disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.”

I can see how the school could prohibit, say giving party invitations at
school to all but one kid in the class, but it goes farther than that. So far
that it could be challenged in court, I’m pretty sure our friend Will Newman
of the ACLU might have something to say about that!

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