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by Dale Connelly, 12/15/00

Dc: This is DCR, it's not the news. One of the most interesting trends in education today is the tendency of parents to challenge schools on discipline of their child. School administrators complain that parents are likely to complain if their child is disciplined, and to actually do battle with the school administration over various sorts of punishment, including suspension. Joining me in the studio to talk about this trend are Patty and Joe Fawning and their daughter, Plague. It is "Plague," right?

Plague: You suck!

Patty and Joe: (nervous chuckle)

Dc: The Fawnings successfully challenged the Styx River School District when it attempted to expel Plague from the middle school there. Patty and Joe, maybe you could tell us what happened?

Patty: It was a misunderstanding, that's all.

Joe: Basically our daughter was being harassed by some other students at the school, and the administration didn't take action until we brought it to their attention, and then who did they take it out on, but our daughter!

Patty: These other students thought it would be "funny" to give Plague a hard time about some unfortunate things that happened earlier in the year.

Dc: What were they doing, exactly?

Joe: Calling her "Noah" in the halls!

Dc: Noah?

Joe: Because of the prank really a harmless prank where she opened some taps in the boy's bathroom and it turned out that some drains got plugged up and there was a bit of a flood.

Patty: Nothing like the biblical flood. But you know how children are when they exaggerate.

Dc: Still, that's pretty serious. What do you say about that, Plague?

Plague: Leave me alone.

Patty: You can see she's still upset about the teasing.

Joe: The teasing was really the most hurtful thing. Calling her "Noah" and denying her femaleness, which is identity is very important to sensitive children like our Plague here.

Dc: Maybe it wasn't meant as an insult.

Patty: Oh, I'm sure it was, because they've called her other things too.

Dc: Like?

Patty: Like "Plague."

Dc: You named her Plague.

Patty: But it's the WAY they said it that hurt.

Joe: So more than anything it's really their fault that she went on that rampage in the lunchroom.

Dc: Rampage?

Patty: Well, more like self-defense. It's just that catsup was all she had to work with.

Joe: And the kids that were taunting her kinda melted into the crowd. So she kinda had to spray everyone.

Dc: She squirted everyone with catsup?

Patty: We know she got the kids who deserved it. And while some of the other parents have complained about dry cleaning and such, I think everyone benefits when bad behavior is punished.

Dc: So she caused a flood in the school and squirted everyone with catsup. Anything else?

Joe: (under) She poured nails in the paper shredder.

Dc: She poured nails in the paper shredder!?

Joe: You're sounding like the principal with that tone of voice.

Patty: You haven't even asked about her self esteem! That's why discipline in the schools is such an issue!

Dc: How's her self esteem?

Joe: Just barely hanging on.

Patty: Although the principal said she had too much! Ha! Like anyone can have too much self esteem, right honey?

Plague: Don't touch me, mom.

Patty: Sorry!

Dc: Patty and Joe Fawning have been doing battle with the Styx River School district over the district's disciplinary actions against their daughter, Plague


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