What Did You Say to Your Tardy Teenager?

Error at East led to some confrontations between concerned parents and good kids suddenly gone bad.

When James Price the younger came home from school Monday – he's a freshman at East – he was met by a stern elder.

"Why," I wanted to know, "did you have an unexcused tardy?"

"What? No! Really, no, I didn't!"

"Then why did we get a call from school saying you did?"

James is an honest boy, and soon confessed.

"Well, yeah, I was, like 10 seconds late to History, but he said it was OK."

"Well, it isn't 'OK' to be late."

"It was only 10 seconds! He said it didn't matter! It must have been a mistake!"

It was a mistake.

The East High attendance office, due to a "programming error," robo-called most of the school households at 9:33 a.m. Monday with a terse message saying, "Your student (blank) had an unexcused tardiness today. If you have any questions, please call the school office."

Honor roll students, National Merit Scholars, kids who have never been late a day in their lives, all were wrongly tarnished with the stain of tardiness, that unforgiveable sin of school regimen.

The School District quickly sent out an e-mail notifying parents of the error, but clearly, many didn't see it until long after they had finished scolding.

A non-scientific poll conducted by James among his friends showed that lectures were brief and to the point.

"Harry's mom" – Harry Willow is the son of regular reader Jon Anne Willow – "told him, 'Don't be late for class.'"

Harry apparently took it in stride.

Wauwatosa Patch wants to know: What did you say to your East student in the mistaken belief that, with this blemish on the record, he or she had just lost out on any chance of getting into Harvard?

Tell us in the comments.


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