March 26th, 2004


School in Okla. City Suspends 6th-Graders (News Item of Interest to Teachers)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A public school suspended nearly all of its sixth-graders for class disruptions and a cafeteria ruckus this week, though many of the students were allowed to return after their parents met with school officials.

Sixteen of the 147 sixth-graders at F.D. Moon Academy were suspended Monday for class disruptions, and 120 students were suspended Wednesday after they picked up cafeteria tables, slammed them to the floor and talked back to faculty, school officials said.

Principal Elaine Ford estimated teachers spend 85 percent of their time reprimanding students and said test scores won't improve until disciplinary problems are resolved. The school, a magnet program for mass media communications and technology, is listed by the state as needing improvement because of low test scores.

"I wish you could be a fly on the wall because some of the time you'd be shocked at what your child is doing,'' Ford told parents at a meeting Wednesday.

About 125 of the suspended students returned to class Thursday, city schools spokeswoman Sherry Fair said. The suspended students will be required to do work at the school Saturday.

Jarona Knight, whose daughter was suspended, said after the meeting that she wasn't surprised by the students' behavior because some parents in the audience were yelling while school officials talked.

"If we don't get involved, I don't know who will,'' Knight said.

All My Vehicles Flock Together

So, it is finally Friday night, and here I sit with both the Beamer and the truck at school. I had to get a ride home last Friday, leaving the little car here, as it blew up when I pulled in.

Yellow-green fluid coated the inside of the engine compartment, and steam hissed out all over.

I could not reach the mechanic all day. (He's a sheriff's deputy. I'm not sure if he moonlights as an auto mechanic, or considers the police job as the moonlighting. Sometimes he has to sleep, and if there's an emergency, he goes...)

One fellow teacher thought it was probably a radiator hose. After school, I opened the hood and looked, but could not see any obviously damaged hoses. Most looked new (I'd replaced a lot of them before.)

Catching up with the only person who now lives anywhere near where I do (on the far edge, one farm away from the end of the district), a janitor, I got her assurance that I could ride home with her. At 9:00 pm.

Last Saturday, I had a tow truck haul the Beamer to my mechanic, the only one in the area who will work on it. By Wed. it was ready. No, we didn't have to send to Germany for the hose... it was the thermostat. It got stuck and caused the engine to either blow a head gasket or crack a head, no way to tell without tearing the engine out and opening it up, which comes under the heading "major repair". which he doesn't do. ("That's the second one I've had today. The warm weather seems to be causing havoc with them. He blew his head gasket/head, too.)

"$700-1000 to repair, IF you can find someone else to work on it, as I don't do major things like that, and IF you can find the new engine." (They quit sending the diesels to America shortly after my car came over...)

"I drove it up to Millerton and back, about 20 miles, after we got the thermostat replaced. It ran fine, but you now blow white smoke out of the rear end."

The bottom line is, if I watch the antifreeze, I can drive it until it "really" blows -- no idea when/where, but he thinks my goal of getting to 300,000 miles (the life expectancy of a diesel engine) is unrealistic.

$72.00 please.

So, here I have two vehicles at school and no way to get the second one home. Actually, I'm not that upset about it -- if the little car blows, I can drive the truck home... Just pray it doesn't happen en route.

If they were horses, I could ride one and lead one, or just let it tag along. Their herding instinct is quite strong, and they dislike being alone. Evidently, so do my vehicles...