Surge Protector

It seems like whenever I wonder what they are teaching my daughter in school I activate some cosmic response that makes sure I know. The lesson she learned last week was a refresher from previous years. It is called Random Acts of Authority.

Random Acts of Authority is an essential part of the core curriculum that prepares your child for life in the “real world.” It works like this. A teacher, security guard, office worker, lunch aide – anyone who is not a student – chooses a rule that is rarely if ever enforced and slaps it down on a kid. It has to be random, and for no discernible reason, or the lesson is useless and has to be administered again at a later date.

On a September day with a record high of 97 degrees,  my daughter was told the shorts she was wearing were too short and someone had to bring her clothes to change into or she would be sent home from school. That someone being me. I was surprised as she had worn these shorts to school before, and most of the students in the school that day were wearing shorts of similar length. That’s the random part.

The authority part is that my daughter missed her entire honors biology class because she was not allowed to leave the office wearing the shorts. And then, when she had changed into the pants, she returned to the classroom with the other people still wearing their shorts, to ask the teacher what she missed.

This is a very important lesson designed, in my opinion, to make students feel their powerlessness. How better to keep control of a population that thinks they have rights than by randomly showing that they don’t? Its behavior management 101 to keep the population unsure of when rules will be enforced so that they self-enforce. Any idea that rules are fair or consistently applied in any situation is naive. That’s the part that readies the student for the real world.

The random application of rules is power flexing and is unfortunately something that a student has to experience in order to build up a resistance. Hopefully, by the time  my daughter finishes high school all the Random Acts of Authority will coalesce into her having a Personal Surge Protector that can absorb small fluctuations of power without knocking out the whole system.

Its a sketchy theory at best, but I am ever motivated to understand and apply order to that which appears to be chaos. Like human behavior.


Leave a Comment

  1. I think you nailed it “random acts of authority.” Brilliant, concise way to describe this situation. What infuriates me is that Random Acts of Authority do, by in large, center around women and girls’ bodies. On the girl front, it is great preparation for the many ways in which this policing and power structure will continue when they become women in the workplace, government, campus life, culture, on and on. It’s mind numbing that small acts of microaggressions are a reflection of a patriarchy at-large, but at a community-level or school; good luck bringing that up.

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