Jewish World Review Nov. 7, 2001 / 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

California v. kids -- THE San Francisco Chronicle, is exposing some shocking behavior by the state of California.

According to reporters Nanette Asimov and Lance Williams, "high priced lawyers," last spring responding to a law suit from a number of California students and parents requesting modest school necessities like up to date textbooks and vermin-free classrooms, deposed the students, ranging in age from 8 to 17, and submitted them to the third degree.

Attorney Michael Rosenthal, for instance, asked 17 year old Alondra Jones, "Did the mouse droppings you saw on the floor affect your ability to learn in U.S. history at all?"

Ms. Jones was forced to answer no. And 17 year old Cindy Diego was raked over the coals for being sleepy at the deposition. She confessed that she'd been up until three a.m. the night before.

"Why were you out so late," the lawyer grilled. "Didn't you know you had a deposition today?"

Hard questioning by Attorney Ben Rozwood revealed that the irresponsible teen had been attending her senior prom.

The fiend.

The process of browbeating teenagers in lieu of actually removing mouse dropping from class rooms set California taxpayers back two and a half million bucks. Ballparking that figure, I'd say that's a half cent a mouse, so maybe it's a bargain if you look at it from a rodent's point of view. And maybe they provided our kids with a valuable lesson, an education, if you will.

No textbooks at all, no mouse droppings, just a no holds barred glimpse, in a spotless windowless room, of the legal system at work.

This could be a good thing.

Lawyers, however, demand a lot more money than teachers. I would suggest that in future the state of California might better spend its money on bitter unemployed men and women of no achievement whatsoever at minimum wage. Issue them pointed sticks, which they can then distribute to teens and pre-teens and force them to run with them, all the while yelling, "Don't put an eye out with that thing!"

I'd suggest having them run with scissors, but in today's economy, that's probably unrealistic. Too expensive. suspect that scissors, pencils, paper, glue, and even books themselves are not only outside the budget, but potential weapons in today's educational system.

Zero tolerance, that's what we have, for everything except bureaucrats, legal niceties, and state-sponsored stupidity.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


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10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
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08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales