Be cool, Stephen: Part Deux

So Tuesday I drive my kids to school and the wife and I show up unannounced in the principal’s office.

Still smarting from my son’s recounting of the choking incident, I was ready to rip someone a new one.

“Are you here for Family of the Week?” asks the receptionist, ever so politely.


This is where it all went down.

This is where it all went down.

“No.” I shoot back icily, “we’d like to speak with the Principal about an incident involving our son yesterday.”

Don’t be acting all sweet when you know you’re running a zoo lady!

“Do you have an appointment?” Again, with the sweetness.


No advance warning. No chance to get your stories straight. 

“Please have a seat. And who is your son’s teacher?” she asks, once more, ever so politely.

“Ms. Lennon.”

I think I’ll stand, thank you very much!

If I thought I was hungry for blood, wifey was pacing back and forth as if she sensed prey close by.

A few minutes later, we see our son, hand-in-hand with his teacher, Ms. Lennon, walking down the hall to the principal’s office.

Ms. Lennon is fine. She and Chima make a handsome vision walking towards us.

Why didn’t I have teachers like that when I was in school?

We exchange pleasantries and I go in.

“Now we understand that you were understaffed yesterday, so you may not be aware, but apparently, when the kids were on their way to music, Jaleel…”

“No daddy, Jahier…”

Boy, what have I told you about interrupting me?

“Whatever his name is, was upset that Chima cut in front of him in line, and retaliated by choking him.”  

Let it sink in.  Marinate over that!

I continued, “he came home totally out-of-sorts, and I understand that this Jaleel fella…”

“Jahier, daddy!”

You are about to be whupped!

“Uh, this Jahier is a trouble-maker, and I can’t be concerned about my son being harmed in kindergarten, by another kindergartner no less.”

Ms. Lennon looked a little peakish. 

You should be shook!

She left us to talk to ‘Big Momma’ Ms. Lindsay, the school’s principal, and returned a few minutes later to invite us into the principal’s office.

There we sat, Ms. Lindsay, Mr. Brennan (the school’s counselor), the wife, Ms. Lennon, Chima and I.

Again, I went in. I recapped the previous day’s incident, with frequent pauses for dramatic effect, allowing myself an opportunity to gauge the reaction of the school officials gathered before me. Blank faces stared back.  

Man, this is a hard crowd!

The principal started, “Chima, didn’t we talk yesterday?”

What? Chima? Talk? Yesterday? 


What the hell do you mean ‘yes’? Boy, I thought you said said no one was around…

“As soon as I called his name…you see they were in the music room because that’s where they wait for their buses…the tears just started.”

“He’s very sensitive.” chimes in Ms. Lennon.

The wife nods in assent.

Crying? Cause she called him out?

The principal continued, “I asked him why he pushed Jahier…”


Long-ish story short, my son was not choked.  He put his hands on the other boy first.  He was ‘talked to’ at school (hence the tear-stained cheeks). When questioned, he embellished or selectively remembered the parts of the incident guaranteed to elicit the appropriate response from the parentals (from mom dukes really, she’s easily swayed).

At the end of the day, I was all up-in-arms over nothing. The school is fine. This Jahier chap is not troubled.

My advice to all you parents: take your kids at their word, but maintain a little bit ‘o distance, lest the truth be slightly different.

I got nuthin! 


Filed under Parenting

3 responses to “Be cool, Stephen: Part Deux

  1. Sabrinah

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. Being an educator and especially an adminstrator, I deal with this scenario frequently. And the classic “oh shit” look on parents faces when they realize the story their child told them was a bit embellished… well… I wish I had a dollar for every time its happened. And the weird thing is, it does start in Kindergarten. Children learn at age five, school age, to manipulate their parents and flip the story to suit them. In any case, glad everything worked out with your son and his school.


  2. John Tullai

    Yep. Experience for us has shown the same. Our kids essentially tell the truth. They squiggle when not doing so at this age.


  3. jai

    I am glad things worked out…glad u had u lightbulb moment n K..lollol some parents don’t get it till high school and we(educators) call them the “always somebody else kid”..lollol..thanks 4 sharing ur story 2 empower other parents…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s