During a discussion of a New York Times article on curbing truancy with electronic monitoring systems, with an eye toward creating a persuasive argument, and as the more vocal members of class voice their opinions about how the chronically truant adversely affect the lives of those who diligently attend school--
Joe: I mean, those kinds of kids, the ones who are truant, they're not going to change just because they're wearing a GPS.
Jess: They might. If I had to wear one, I'd change.
Me: It is true that attendance does not necessarily equate academic success . . . I'm thinking that while Justin certainly is here in body, he's so busy texting right now that he has no clue what we're discussing . . .
(Justin sheepishly looks up and pretends to put his phone away.)
Roger: If the tracking device was really big and obvious, then it might make a difference. Like if it were around their necks . . .
Me (interrupting): What?
Roger: . . . with spikes to stick into their necks . . .
Me (interrupting again): What??
Joe: Naw, you don't need spikes. You just need to make them stand out, so everyone would know they were truancy problems.
(Tired groans from the rest of the class)
Me: So, you're suggesting a way to make it obvious that this group of kids is a problem, right?
Me (tilting head, scrunching mouth thoughtfully): So . . . we need a way to identify this particular group as a problem . . . (thinking some more) . . . I think the neck-thing would be difficult to manage . . . What if we tried something else . . . something simpler . . .
Adele (under her breath): Oh, lord . . .
Alex (under his breath): Wait for it . . .
Me: How about making all the truancy problems wear something to make them stand out somehow? We could make them wear, I dunno, a brightly-colored star or something on their clothes . . .
(Adele, Hosna, Alex, et. al. variously snorting and attempting to suppress laughter)
Me: . . . something so we could all know that these kids are different from us and that we, those who regularly attend school, are better.
(Exaggerated sighs and heavy eye-rolling from the truancy lynch posse.)
Me: Ah, yes. That's why I get the big bucks. And just remember why we're reading all these articles now . . .
Class: . . . because all your books disappeared when you were out . . .