A salutory tale about the rise of parental rage – Susan Morrison
In these dangerous times of crisis, Brexit and Mr Trump simply being Mr Trump, it is a relief to find a mild diversion, even if it is in Hull, writes Susan Morrison.
That is where nine-year-old Jayden lives. Normally that would be enough to elicit my sympathy and admiration, because I imagine it can’t be easy living in Hull.
He has a mum, Stacy, who sports those startling eyebrows young women have these days. You know the ones. It looks like someone has shaved off the real eyebrows and re-drawn them with a Sharpie pen.
Just before lunchtime recently, whilst at school, Jayden had to take himself to the loo. Now, I have no idea what he was doing in there, but he claims that by the time he came out of the toilet, all the hot food for lunch was gone, and he was offered nothing but a tuna sarnie, which he declined.
When the news that Jayden had apparently not eaten all day was broken to his mum, I assume her eyebrows went straight into her hairline. To use a Scottish phrase, she went radge. Her maternal wrath shook the playground. Voices were raised and strong language used.
Stacy is still pure ragin’. She has pulled young Jayden from school, because the best thing you can do under these circumstances is make sure your child doesn’t get an education. She went straight to the local press about the school’s dereliction of duty for running out of hot food and failing to anticipate quite how long Jayden would take in the loo.
But the story doesn’t end there. It turns out there was food. It was shepherd’s pie. Jayden tried it but didn’t like it. Mention of other proffered food items have since surfaced.
It would appear that young Jayden did not include this part of story in the account to his mum, but this has not stopped Stacy and her eyebrows ruling the news cycle in Hull. Tensions have escalated. She’s now been threatened with a ban from the playground, given the hellfire and brimstone she rained down.
Now, I love an activist as much as the next ageing protester, but I am sorry, Stace, this is not a hill I would choose to die on. Y’see, it’s your handling of the issues, girlfriend. Can’t really support a gal who takes off at headteacher without finding out a bit more of the detail.
Pals who teach tell me that the fashion for immediately taking highly vocal public umbrage on behalf of their offspring is on the increase.
Y’see, when I were a lass (I’ve translated into Northern English patois there) any disagreement my parents had with my schooling or even feeding at school was conducted in quiet and, in my dad’s case, deadly courtesy.
Worse, the mere notion of my parents being “taken to one side” for a verbal with a teacher about my behaviour was the sort of thing that kept me awake at night. Which is weird, because I was, in fact, a model of good behaviour.
The Angry Button
Well, I had the reputation of the Blue Tit Patrol at the Brownies to consider.
The one thing my parents would not have done was take off at teaching staff merely on my say so. I’m not saying they wouldn’t have believed me, but life looks very different to a nine-year-old and all facts have to be taken into account.
In the case of my kids, I would never have dreamt of a screaming match in the playground. My son wasn’t the easiest at school, but the one thing I learned pretty quickly was gather the facts and keep cool.
This fashion for public parental rage is a dangerous example to set. No wonder the kids themselves hit the Angry Button later in life and behave like frustrated toddlers when they don’t get the parking space they want, the takeaway they ordered or the service they think they deserve from the staff they just abused.
I wish Jayden and Stacy well, and have a sneaky suspicion that we might catch the Eyebrows on some future reality TV show, since Ms Jarvis clearly has a talent for publicity, but I have an even worse feeling about what the future has in store for young Jayden.
How to feed a nation: Pies, pud and custard
One more thing... can I commend the school for offering the shepherd’s pie in the first place?
It’s a fine, solid dish, even if it is really only mince and tatties dressed up and is constantly confused with cottage pie.
Oddly, neither of them contains shepherds or cottages.
Mention was also made of sponge and custard. Now, there was a pudding to feed a nation. A bowl of that and you were more than ready to face double maths.