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Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Nov 30, 2023 11:05 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Maury Elementary School, a daughter who was groped at school, Covid vaccine uptake, and raising kids without structured activities.

Once again the Gaza war thread was the most active of the day yesterday. The most active thread after that was titled, "Maury Capitol Hill" and posted in the "DC Public and Public Charter Schools" forum. This thread was actually started back on September 21 by a poster who had heard about a Parent-Teacher Association meeting at Maury Elementary School, a District of Columbia Public Schools school located on Capitol Hill. The poster had heard of two issues that came up in the meeting. One was the current effort to reevaluate DCPS school boundaries and the other was a loss of Title 1 funding that is aimed at low-income students. The poster was concerned about how these developments might impact property values. This was an active thread that grew to 23 pages prior to yesterday. But, yesterday the thread added 10 new pages. I didn't read the first 23 pages but apparently the interest yesterday was generated by a subsequent meeting about school boundary changes. A poster summarized that meeting, saying that DCPS wants to cluster Maury with another nearby elementary school, Miner Elementary School. The purpose of the proposal is to address socioeconomic disparities between neighborhood schools. If I understand the "clustering" idea correctly (and there is a good chance that I do not), kids from both schools will attend younger grades together at one location and older grades will be combined at the other building. Students at Maury apparently perform better than those at Miner and it seems that the hope is that by spreading the higher-performing kids around, it will improve the weaker school. Overlying this is the issue of race. Maury is nearly 60% White while Miner is 80% Black. As a result, some of the posters see this as an attempt to "spread the White kids around". To make matters worse, the DCPS plan is not yet fully baked and DCPS staff members were unable to answer a number of basic questions. Needless to say, this has created all kinds of consternation among Maury, and likely Miner, parents. Parents who have seen Maury improve over the years are worried that that progress will be set back. But, not all posters see this idea as entirely negative. As mentioned by the original poster, increasing affluence at Maury resulted in the school losing Title 1 status and, with it, significant extra funding. One result was apparently that free preschool is no longer offered by the school. Clustering with Miner would restore Title 1 funding and free preschool. As one poster pointed out, currently Maury has plenty of students who could benefit from extra funding, but without Title 1 status that money is not there. The ultimate problem for DCPS is that administrators can try to orchestrate diversity goals, but in a school system that emphasizes school choice, parents have options and will not always cooperate.

The next most active thread was posted in the "Tweens and Teens" forum and titled, "12 yo daughter groped at school...at least twice". The original poster says that two weeks ago her daughter came home from school very distraught because a boy had groped her. The original poster's daughter suffers from depression and after this incident, she refused to go to school for two days and wouldn't let her mother contact the school about it. The original poster discovered from reading her daughter's texts that the girl had apparently been groped again just before Thanksgiving. Her daughter doesn't want to talk to a therapist or go to school and the original poster is seeking advice. Posters responded urging the original poster to contact the police. Others suggested having her daughter learn self-defense skills. Some suggested changing schools. Quite a few argued that the original poster should contact the school and address this issue with the principal. Six pages into the thread, the original poster responded to say that the replies had convinced her to take this matter up with the school. As a result, she and her daughter met with the principal and her daughter explained what had happened. It turned out that the same boy had also been groping another girl. The original poster is hopefull that this experience will make her daughter feel better. Moreover, the original poster was very happy with how the principal handled things with her daughter and she is optimistic that things will be resolved satisfactorily. Several posters commended the original poster and praised her for contacting the school. A number of those posters also expressed that this was a better course of action than contacting the police. Based on the original poster's follow-up post, it seems that this thread was beneficial to her and she appreciated the responses. However, there were a couple of side issues that took up a lot of the conversation and that the original poster seemed to simply ignore. One was whether social media, especial TikTok, was encouraging groping. One poster published a letter from a school superintendent that included a monthly schedule allegedly circulating on Tiktok for groping various body parts. The second issue was the topic of restorative justice which is employed by several area school systems. I think that this was initially brought into the thread by someone who was essentially trolling, but a number of posters were quite eager to discuss it, mostly to criticize restorative justice.

Next was a thread titled, "Only ~14% Of U.S. Adults Have Gotten Latest Covid-19 Vaccine Update" and posted in the "Health and Medicine" forum. The original poster simply repeated the statistic contained in the thread's title with a link to Forbes and asked what will we be in for. She apparently expects a significant increase in covid infections as a result. It seems that I have been discussing a covid thread in almost every blog post lately. I wish I could say that they were all different, but unfortunately they are all pretty much the same. Those who have not received the shot have all sorts of justifications. Covid is just a cold, they say, the vaccine makes them ill, the shot is not effective, and on and on. The one thing that I have noticed about the anti-vaccine crowd is that so many of them see themselves as brave rebels who are somehow confronting the establishment by refusing to get vaccinated. Sorry folks, when you are among the 86% group, you are with the sheep, not rebelling against them. The main example of their touted courage is to spout something that you can find all over various social media networks and act as if that is brave or unusual. As one poster says, "Can I say the quiet part out loud? I am not convinced that the mRNA technology is safe" and then goes on to repeat the same allegations that have been mouthed incessantly since the vaccines first became available. If there is any claim that is less quite, I would love to know what it is. It is clear from threads like this one that posters are quite willing to suffer repeated covid infections rather than risk even the most mild complication from a vaccine. Such posters can riddle off alleged harms from the vaccine, but seem completely unaware of the problems potentially caused by covid infections, especially repeated infections. In response to the original poster's question about what we are in for, based on DCUM threads, we are in for a lot of people catching covid, refusing to to even test, and then not taking preventative measures to lower their risk of spreading it to others. While many of these individuals will be lucky and suffer from only a mild illness, others will have a more difficult time and some will not survive. For my part, I am happy to say that I and every member of my immediate family are among the 14%.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Elementary School-Aged Kids" forum and titled, "‘I lived the happiest childhood a child could possibly know’". The original poster says that the title is a quote from Maud Hart Lovelace, the author of the Betsy-Tacy books, and that she is trying to give her 6-year-old a similar childhood. This means few structured activities, lots of outdoor time, minimal screens, and not many expectations beyond good manners and helping out at home. However, the original poster says that she will fail because nobody else is doing this. Other families have their kids engaged in activities or tied to screens. Nobody plays outside and it is impossible to simply go ring a friend's doorbell on the weekend because chances are they won't be there. To say that this post was not well received would be an extreme understandment. I suspect that for a number of those responding, it hit a little close to home. Somewhat ironically, it is exactly because informal and unplanned activities are so unusual these days that many posters have chosen structured activities for their children. Some posters even think that by avoiding such activities, the original poster is depriving her child of proper socialization. Beyond the posters who responded mostly with snark, many posters describe their own childhoods and how whatever happened then has influenced how they raise their children now. Posters who had upbringings such as the original poster describes regret not having learned an instrument or participated on a sports team so they ensure those things for their children. There are a couple of posters who agree with or are at least sympathetic to the original poster, but they are fairly few and far between. A significant minority of those responding argue in favor of moderation. A mixture of structured activities, limited screen time, and unstructured time seems ideal to them. I don't believe the original poster offered any follow-up posts but she likely was not enamored by the responses. Every once in a while someone pops up on DCUM who is a proponent of "free range" parenting and the person is treated like a heretic. The original poster and this thread are sort of in that vein. DCUM posters definitely lean toward the structured and programmed end of the parenting spectrum.

Avalon says:
Dec 01, 2023 01:23 AM
Is there a list of words we're not allowed to use on DCUM, Jeff (obviously, list them creatively, lol)?

I tried replying to you here -- I was told I didn't have permission, lol. 🫣
Jeff Steele says:
Dec 01, 2023 07:32 AM
It looks like your post was blocked because it mentioned an erectile disfunction medicine that is frequently posted by spammers.
Avalon says:
Dec 02, 2023 12:42 AM
What?!?!?
I have no idea what that was, but it's hysterical, lol.
Me! says:
Dec 03, 2023 08:13 AM
Does the Covid vaccine HAVE to be mRNA? No it doesn't. So why not make an alternative? Because we have to politicize this and cause people to fight over it... and Pfizer and Moderna make big bucks from the government pushing it. See those initials in Moderna? MRNA
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