Choosing a Middle School Shouldn't Be This Hard
If you haven't been in a middle school lately, they tend to be pretty insane hotbeds of hormones, thanks to budget cuts, class sizes are huge, and teachers are fairly overwhelmed by everything on their plates. It's pretty easy for kids to slip through the cracks and fall behind simply because teachers often have less time to work one-on-one with kids. Things are a little better since Mr. O is in L.A. Unified's magnet school system. They started back in the late 1970s by a court desegregation decree to end what was the judge called the harms of racial isolation. Nowadays you have to apply by a lottery and they operates a little like a private school system within the public school system.
Some middle schools are entirely magnet, while others have magnet programs within a larger school, so when I go on these tours, I have to keep an eye out for the entire school culture. Middle school is where social issues--drugs, alcohol, gangs, preteen sex--rear their heads. I know some people don't think 11 or 12-year-old's giving each other blowjobs is a big deal, but I do. Not acceptable in my house.
All that to say that it's a little nerve-wracking to have to figure out which school is the best for him--all the while knowing that we can apply to that school and he might not get in. Really, it shouldn't be this hard.
One spot of comic relief is that over the past few days, well-meaning people have made some fascinating assumptions. The conversations go like this:
Los Angelista: Yeah, so I'm taking Mr. O on a middle school tour.
Well Meaning Person A: Middle school? Oh wow.
LA: I know! I can't believe it's already here.
WMPA: Yeah, I...wow, I didn't know you old enough to have a kid in middle school.
Blank Stare. Thanks for calling me old in Los Angeles where everybody seems to want to stay young forever--which is odd because for real, I don't want to go back to 25-years-old.
There's also this one:
Los Angelista: I'm going to check out a middle school for Mr. O on Thursday. I hope it works out.
Well Meaning Person B: He's in middle school already?
LA: Sure is. He grew up so fast.
WMPB: Yeah...it must have been so hard for you as a teen mom. How old were you when you had him?
I'm not sure whether I prefer the you're so old look at all those wrinkles version or the DANG, was it terrible having a baby at 15 one. But in the meantime, this will be the first of many trips to check out schools. Wish us luck.
Photo of Mr. O by Razi Wilson Photography