A few days after confiscating bracelets from Marcos, which I took to the Dean's office just in case Marcos's mother wanted to pick them up, I was cruising the aisles of my classroom looking over student work, when I spotted a bright red bracelet with the letters STFU.
What is with these students?
These aren't even my hard-core high schoolers. This are my middle school students. It's the first month of school. They usually stay innocent until at least Valentine's Day. (Or so I like to believe.)
"Stephanie, you need to take that bracelet off." It was rather ironic that she had such a bracelet. I'm pretty sure I'll be screaming the words of that acronym to her--in my head--by the time the year is over.
"But, Miss--" she tried to look innocent.
"Save it. I know what it means." As she slipped it off her wrist, I gave her the low-down, "Take it home, and never bring it back. If I ever see it again, it will be mine."
How smart would she be?
The next day, I was heating up my lunch in the workroom, and I glanced into the Spanish classroom. There was Stephanie with her red bracelet on. I walked into the room (the teacher is a close friend, so it's okay), straight to Stephanie with my hand out.
"Give me your bracelet. I told you yesterday not to ever wear it again."
"But, at least it doesn't actually say the words."
I stood with my hand out. Eyebrows raised: Stink Eye activated.
Blah, blah, blah. She gave me some lip before surrendering it.
"Can I get it back?"
"You mother can. From the Dean."
I took it directly to the office. The way she was acting, I thought her mother might actually pick it up.
As I handed it to the dean, labeled with the student's name, I said, "This is the third inappropriate bracelet I've confiscated in the last week."
The dean looked confused.
"You know what this means, right?"
Not censoring for him, I said, "It stands for Shut the Fuck Up.'"
He recoiled a little when I said it.
Exactly my point.
(Sorry, Dad. Sometimes you have to tell it straight.)