Poor choice

At a dance for middle school honors students in Mount Vernon, Washington, a girl was beaten unconscious by other girls. The Seattle Times quotes Kevin Tate, a Mount Vernon School District spokesman, who says a principal broke up the fight, once she realized the girls were kicking the fallen victim, not break dancing.

About 150 students attended the dance, Tate said. All had to meet academic and behavioral standards to be invited.

“To go to the dance you have to be on an honor level. Your grades have to be up and you can’t have many poor-choice slips,” he said.

“Poor-choice slips.” It’s a new euphemism for me.

About Joanne


  1. Mad Scientist says:

    Like calling a prison a “residence for those who have made unfortunate legal decisions”?

  2. That view of prisons was held by no less a jurist than Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    I actually like the idea of “poor choice” slips–seems to me it emphasizes personal responsibility.

  3. I like it too, not only because it emphasizes personal responsibility, but because it doesn’t label the child. A juvenile delinquent is a bad kid. A child who has a poor choice slip has screwed up, but can still straighten out. It’s like the bad behavior is an aberration.

  4. Poor choice slip…is that like a wardrobe malfunction?

  5. “Poor choice slip” is deeply offensive. It is a slur against the monetarily different. Moreover, the concept of “choice” is part of the free will myth perpetuated by the Eurandroppressor hegemony. They want us to think that we have “freedom” (snort, another white man’s lie) but in reality we are all robots programmed by our melanin and our X and Y chromosomes.* Finally, as holly reminds uss, “slip” is reminiscent of a type of womyn’s clothing and is hence sexist. In fact, bad behavior is usually perpetrated by males. The use of the term “slip” is a classic case of projection by chauvinist pigs unable to accept their original sin.

    *O parasexual community, please accept the infinite apologies of this heterosexual!

  6. Rita C. says:

    I’ve found that asking students, “Why did you choose to do that?” is a more constructive question than “What did you do that for?” They’ll stop and think about it, at least.

  7. I use the phrase “poor choice” in parenting my 6 and 4 year olds. An example of a “poor choice” is choosing to put on sandals when it’s snowing, after I recommended boots; or choosing not to eat breakfast or take a nap when requested. When the consequences of the poor choice come back to bite them, I remind my kids that they’ve made a poor choice and next time should make a better one. But hitting another child is not a “poor choice”, it’s an immediately punishable offense.

  8. A little background on the area. It’s rural with lots of dairy farming, very little crime, and fewer damaged families than you might find in some cities.

  9. Sigivald says:

    Like Jim says, when I heard it was Mt. Vernon, my first thought was… what? That little town between Everett and Bellingham, with the tulips? What The Hell?

    Mayhem in the Skagit Valley!

  10. Okay, but what was the supposed REASON for beating the girl unconscious? Was it a fight over a boy, was it a fight over school grades, was it a personal issue from outside school? Or did they just not like her and decide to beat the crap out of her? Was she threatening or bullying them first?

    This kind of reporting, where only half the story is told, is infuriating.

  11. This reminds me of a villain in a science fiction novel I read a few years ago – he had “Poor Impulse Control” tattoed on his forehead, punishment for some crime.

  12. It’s probably going too far to say that the inane euphemism/punishment “poor choice slips” is directly related to the attack.

    But could it be possible that people who use this kind of gobbledygook language really don’t take discipline seriously enough?

    What’s wrong with: You messed up. You’re getting detention.

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