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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 04, 2023 10:16 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included dealing with excessive crying by a two-year-old, a troll thread about a sister-in-law asking for jewelry, a troll thread about a child joining the military, and another thread about MCPS Principal Joe Beidleman.

As I predicted in my last blog post, the Gaza war thread is back as the most active thread over the weekend after having dropped from that spot for a day. The second most active is another one that I've already covered, the thread about "The Golden Bachelor". That means that the first thread that I will discuss today was titled, "Discipline for excessive crying" and posted in the "Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers" forum. The original poster has a two-year-old daughter who is constantly crying. Almost anything that the original poster does can cause the girl to cry for long periods of time. Moreover, the girl is only like this around the original poster and not her husband or nanny. The original poster knows that experts advise not punishing a child for crying, but she is at the end of her patience and desparate to find a solution. She wonders what others who have had a child like this have done. In response, the original poster gets a range of advice. Nobody is in favor of literal punishment, but some counsel ignoring the child. That advice is generally accompanied by other strategies aimed at encouraging an end to the crying. For instance, telling the girl that her mother can't help her while she is crying, teaching breathing or counting exercises to help her calm down, or creating a "time out" room to where she can be sent to cry alone and calm down. One poster recounts using "kiddie yoga" videos to help her child learn emotional regulation skills. Posters also suggest that the the child may be feeling the stress the original poster experiences from the crying and that actually causes her to cry more. To reduce this vicious circle, posters suggest that the original poster address her own emotional state. Another angle that many posters took was to propose that the original poster contact a developmental pediatrician and have her daughter evaluated for potential special needs. About halfway through the thread, the original poster responded to thank everyone for the helpful responses. But, she pointed out that the wide variety of responses shows why this is a difficult situation for her to know how to address. She still isn't sure what to do because there are so many contradictory schools of thought. Shortly after that response, the original poster responded again to say that she was planning to contact her local pediatric developmental behavioral center today. Previously, she was unaware that diagnoses or evaluations could be done at such a young age. She seemed to have dropped out of the thread at that point, but it continued for another 7 pages without her. Many of those posts simply repeated or reinforced advice that was previously offered.

Next was the thread about the coolest first name that I've already discussed. So, skipping that one brings us to a thread posted in the "Family Relationships" forum and titled, "Brother’s Wife Asked for a piece of Jewlery [sic]". The original poster says that her mother passed away and her sister-in-law asked if she could have a piece of the original poster's mother's jewelry. The original poster is extremely angry as a result of this request and told her brother that it was inappropriate. Her brother pointed out that they have been married for 20 years and his wife was close to their mother. This was not convincing to the original poster who is now also angry with her brother for not having a backbone. Most of those responding fault the original poster and side with her sister-in-law. They point out that it would have been completely appropriate for her brother to ask for the jewelry and then give it to his wife which amounts to the same thing. The original poster conceded that point, but was still insistent that a blood relationship was significantly more important than a relationship by marriage and that those who are not blood relatives should not ask for jewelry. However, about halfway through the thread, the original poster, without disclosing that she was the original poster, suddenly began arguing the opposite case. Whereas a blood relationship had been all-important initially, suddenly she began arguing that the closeness of a relationship is what matters and that the sister-in-law, with a 20-year close relationship, was entitled to jewelry. Speaking about herself in the third person, the original poster went so far as to say that a blood relationship was insignificant and should be the last thing anyone considered. This was a complete "Jekyll and Hyde" transformation. Obviously, I don't think that there was an authentic epiphany, especially since she never disclosed that she was the original poster after having undergone her change of heart. Rather, I think that it is clear that the original poster is little more than a drama-loving troll. Therefore, I locked the thread.

The next most active thread over the weekend was titled, "Your teen says they are leaning toward the military…" and posted in the "Tweens and Teens" forum. The original poster asks how others would react if their child said that they were thinking of joining the Marines or another branch of the military. Responses span the entire spectrum from "totally unacceptable" to "I would be proud". In between are more practical responses. Posters suggest helping the child prepare for the ASVAB, the aptitude test taken by recruits, and discussing the various jobs available in the military. Others suggest working on physical conditioning. For many, their priority is linking military service to a college education. One poster's reaction would be to support the child only if they could gain acceptance to a military academy. Others advise joining ROTC and getting a college scholarship. As would be expected, responses tend to reflect the poster's attitude toward the military in general. Posters who have first-hand experience or a spouse in the military tend to be supportive of the idea. On the other hand, some posters say that the military doesn't reflect their values or that they have different goals for their children and, therefore, would not support them joining the military. I suspect that the original poster is a troll who is just trying to stir things up. In a subsequent post, in which she didn't disclose that she was the original poster she said that her daughter is planning to join the Marines and that she fully supports her. However, in a thread the original poster started two days later, she said that her daughter is planning to go to trade school and that she supports that 100%. Of course, there are probably innocent explanations for this inconsistency, but frankly, I am unlikely to believe any of them. Rather, this simply looks like our second drama-loving troll of the weekend.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum and titled, "The OIG finds that Biedleman [sic] violated MCPS policies and code of conduct". This thread is part of a continuing saga involving former Montgomery County Public Schools principal Dr. Joel Beidleman. Beidleman was a rising start within MCPS who had recently been appointed principal of Paint Branch High School. Previously, Beidleman had served as the principal at Farquhar Middle School. Prior to beginning his new position at Paint Branch, the Washington Post published an article describing a number of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying that had been lodged against Beidleman. Moreover, the article alleged that Beidleman had been promoted despite the history of complaints. This is actually the third thread about Beidleman that I have discussed in this blog. The first was about the initial Washington Post article and the second was about an investigative report issued by a law firm hired by MCPS to investigate. This thread deals with another investigation that was conducted by the Montgomery County Office of Inspector General. That investigation was able to substantiate a number of the allegations against Beidleman including that he had engaged in repeated sexual harassment of staff members, bullying of staff members, and had a sexual relationship with an individual who was a subordinate who he supervised. I don't think that these findings are a surprise to anyone, least of all the posters in this thread. As such, most of the focus of the thread is not on this report, but on what additional actions posters think should be taken. For instance, posters want the MCPS administration investigated due to their promotion of Beidleman despite the numerous allegations and because of the failure to act on those complaints. Many posters are hoping that MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight will be fired. There is considerable concern in the thread that Beidleman is simply a symptom of a larger problem and that the larger problem — an ongoing pattern of abusive or incompetent administrators being tolerated and promoted — is not being addressed. Posters contend that problematic principals or other administrators are not held accountable, are frequently promoted as a means of getting them out of the way, and that their failures are papered over. These posters are eager to see accountability. One of their main complaints is that Beidleman remains an MCPS employee. Beidleman has at least one ardent supporter in the thread who believes that he was setup and is actually the victim in this entire episode.

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