Monday, September 20, 2004

Just got back from a parents’ meeting at Eldest’s school. Her class is a mixture of children from the relatively wealthy north and the less affluent south of the city (I say ‘relatively’ because Our Sis has just come back from a trip to New England, full of stories of real affluence).

This year, the municipality cancelled the special bus the kids from the south get to school, for lack of funds. The school is located in the north, about ten minutes walk from our apartment. The kids from the south are now being given bus tickets and are expected to get the public transport. It takes some of them about an hour and a half to get to school, poor things. The school administration is trying to negotiate a deal with ‘Dan’, the local bus company, so that they will allocate a special bus for these kids. They’ll pay with the bus tickets they’ve been given, but the bus won’t stop at any of the bus stops on the way, and will reach the school much quicker. I hope this solution works out.

During the meeting, while parents from the south were understandably letting off steam on the subject, some character at the back of the class kept making wisecracks about the discrimination of the south. It was uncomfortable.

Parents’ meetings in Middle School are truly horrible. We don’t know any of the parents, even those we suspect are parents of Eldest’s friends, unlike in elementary school where quite a few of the parents were our friends, and we knew all the others as well. Not that the parents’ meetings weren’t horrible in elementary too, just less so.

Tonight we couldn’t get away fast enough, and we certainly didn’t stick around for the lecture about dealing with drug abuse among adolescents.

The drugs issue has been a big joke in our household ever since Eldest confessed that she was very worried about some research she had read about somewhere that apparently had found that kids from families who didn’t have regular family meals together were more likely to deteriorate to drug abuse. We’re not very hot on formal family meals during the week, although we do manage a few every weekend. Bish expressed the view that maybe some families who don’t have family meals together could possibly have one or two problems besides the meal factor, and that maybe the lack of family meals was more of a symptom than a cause. She accepted the sense in this, but now we can’t help feigning mock distress every now and again, about Eldest’s imminent deterioration.