Thursday 28 Jul 2016

School Tech
Jennifer Flaten

The automated message informed me I should be grateful that our district would soon be handing out laptops to the sixth graders. Hmm, grateful doesn’t quite describe the feeling that my son is now responsible for a few thousand dollars’ worth of technical equipment.


He lost his lunchbox, not once, but twice.

Yeah, I would more accurately describe the feeling as queasy with a touch of fear, when it came to the laptop. I suppose I should be grateful that I only have one-sixth grader. If they handed them out to the eighth graders, I would have two laptops to serve and protect.

I guess I’d rather look after a laptop than take care of the school pit viper for the weekend. So, I guess things could be worse.

Crestfallen doesn’t begin to describe the girls when they found out their brother would soon be in possession of his very own, shiny new laptop.

At least, he is the first grade to use the laptop, imagine the second or third grades to use the laptop. You remember how beat up and cruddy the textbooks got in school, now picture a laptop used by an indifferent middle-schooler.


I must attend a mandatory meeting.

In order for my son to receive this boon, I must attend a mandatory meeting. At this meeting, I will learn how to ensure my kid takes care of the laptop. I am a bit perplexed why I am attending the meeting, and not my kid. You know, the kid schlepping the laptop around all day. Maybe it would be a good idea to tell him how to prevent the thing from exploding or transforming into an autobot.

Really, if I have to suffer through a school district presentation with its wonky sound system and droning administrators, my son should suffer too. Besides, you can give me the instructions and I can pass them on, but he’s a pre-teen do you really think he is going to listen to my instructions? The last time I told him how to do something, he did it the exact opposite just to spite me. I don’t think he will listen to my care instructions.

I am also required to sign a document saying I will take financial responsibility for the laptop. Does this mean I have to pay for its college education? What if it wants a big fancy wedding, do I pay for that, too.


I don't want financial responsibility for the laptop.

In fact, I am probably the last person they want financially responsible for anything. I feel like waving a copy of my credit report at them and asking if they really think this is a good idea. I think the kids should be financially responsible, they have so many more years of earning potential ahead of them.

Of course, if the district is going to require the kids use a laptop I am glad I don’t have to purchase one. The school supply list is pricy enough without adding a laptop to the mix. I am surprised that pens, pencils and paper, you know those lame old-fashioned ways to exchange infomration and sentiment are still on this year’s school supply list.

I imagine some enterprising young thief stealing another kid’s laptop and then using his required pen and paper to write a ransom note.

I admit I am curious to see how this plays out over the school year. Normally, the kids store the entire contents of their locker in their backpack “just in case” I wonder if the laptop will prevent this from happening.

Plus, if everything is on the laptop and he must bring the laptop home every day than there won’t be any “Oh, I can’t do my homework because I left it at school.” Ha! Foiled again, “Mr I hate homework.”

 

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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