Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Junior-Senior Wars

I'll begin this post with a disclaimer: I'm gonna sound like a bah-humbug old fogey today. Any of you who may have thought I was younger than my midlife years, today you will see what a grouchy old lady I can be.

A few years ago, pre-vegan, I may have been a lot more easy-going about this subject. Heck, a few years ago before my kids entered the teen years, I still thought of myself as a teen. But now that I am more aware of the damage we do as consumers to our bodies and to our environment, my nerves are rankled.

This is some of the toilet paper, forty feet off the ground and unreachable, which will likely remain on my corkscrew willow trees for quite some time. I planted the trees myself about 8 years ago from seedlings rooted from a twig in a floral arrangement.

Toiletpapering someone's house is nothing new, but it rises to a whole new level this time every year in Alpharetta, GA, during the week of the Junior-Senior wars. I am not sure if this "tradition" is unique to Milton High School, which my son attends, or if it is a more general southern phenomenon. I know we had no such thing in Virginia growing up, and I was certainly too square to participate in any such rogue expressions of independence or brattiness at the time.

Here is one of several bags full of wastefulness my husband collected, beginning at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning when he discovered the mess, and continuing throughout the day on Sunday, on a ladder, with an extension pole. My husband works hard all through the week and cleaning up after a bunch of spoiled brats is not the way he envisioned spending his weekend. My son also helped with the cleanup, though he had lawnmowing and powerwashing jobs in addition to his schoolwork which he is dilligently trying to recover after missing so much school due to his migraines this year.

Beyond the personal exasperation, I am mostly just disappointed in the type of kids who would participate in this behavior. We are clearly raising a group of selfish, thoughtless, immature individuals with outsized senses of entitlement. We actually got off easy. We've seen and heard of much worse destruction, from shaving cream messages which cannot be removed from driveways or destruction of the varnish on a wooden door or the paint on a mailbox, to whole full garbage cans that were upturned and emptied against the front door of a house. Sometimes, if there is a personal vendetta, the brats will "fork" a front yard -- sticking plastic forks into the yard at regular intervals and breaking them off low enough so it is hard to remove them, but not so low that they don't damage the blade of a lawnmower. We have also heard of paintballs being shot at brick homes, and, worse, being shot at the kids themselves by neighborhood vigilantes who appointed themselves "guardians" against the destruction. We know of one girl who was hit in the eye, and required surgery.

The school does not endorse the "tradition" of Junior-Senior wars, but since it does not take place on school property, they pass the buck to the local law enforcement who have had limited success in catching the kids in the act, but do crack down on underage curfew violators during the week.

Since my son is only a Junior this year, we have another round to expect next year. I can only hope we get off as easily. I remember being a teen. I remember being a rebel. But I never rebelled at the expense of someone else. "Lighten up!" some of you might be thinking. Fine -- I'm getting down off my soapbox now. But to those kids with rage in their hearts and a videogame mentality about reality, I'm disappointed in you. And to their parents, who look the other way and shrug, saying, "Kids will be kids," I'm disappointed in you too.


  1. I weep for the future....and I dread my little one becoming a teen. When I was young a group from my school during "class wars" took deodorant and wrote messages on cars. It permanately damaged the cars. The also took Lysol and sprayed messages on houses. You can only see it in the perfect light and it doesn't wash off. Spiders in mailboxes, dog poop bombs......their ideas of meanness were endless. I wasn't allowed out of my Mom's sight during that week.

    Ugh. I'm sorry about your trees!!

  2. A really good reason to vent Cheryl! I love being a parent, but the only thing I do not like is all of this kind of stuff that comes with it. Our bus stop is getting ready to be taken away because of all the misconduct by the kids. Really, so many notices have been sent out, and parents are not doing anything to control their kids!!!!!! Parents are lazy these days when it comes to parenting.......Sorry about any damages you or others have had.

  3. Thanks ladies -- I actually feel much more calm after my cyber-rant, though I have undoubtedly stirred hubris. Hopefully it won't pay out next year!