It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to solve all your life’s problems and rescue you from work or school doldrums.
As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
Okay, here we go:
“Our 9 year-old daughter is in hybrid learning now and while 50% of it is a waste of time and a pain in the ass, a real bright spot has been that she really loves her teacher. She has been very engaged in school as a result, until this past Friday when she came home quite upset.
When her teacher asked the kids about their upcoming weekend plans, she shared with the class that she had two soccer games, and a sleepover planned with her friend. According to her, he commented that she shouldn’t be playing with other children because it could spread COVID.
She explained that she’s been around the same small group of friends for months. His response to that is what shook her. He told her her: ‘Well it sounds like your parents are ignoring medicine and science by allowing that to happen.’ I could go on and on about how pissed my wife and I are about that comment, but putting our egos aside, our daughter now thinks her teacher is a total turd.
He not only hurt her feelings and embarrassed her in front of the class, but he’s lost a lot of credibility with her. I told her I was going to speak with him to convey the impact this had on her, and she begged me not to out of fear of retribution for being a tattletale.
By the way, they went 2-0. She pitched a shutout at goal in both games, had a couple assists in the field too while on defense. They had the sleepover with movies, junk food, etc. like kids should, and our immediate family has all likely had COVID (I donate blood regularly and I just got a positive test result for antibodies from who I donate through). Needless to say, we are living our lives and aren’t ashamed of it.
So what is the appropriate reaction here to the uninformed teacher? Talk to him anyway? Talk to the principal? Nothing? Drop him like my kid did to #12 on the opposing soccer team when she stepped to her? Advice appreciated.”
I would reach out and talk to him directly.
His logic is totally broken here. It’s okay for your daughter to be physically present in school with hundreds of kids, but it’s not okay to play sports or have a sleepover with another kid her age? It’s totally nonsensical.
My kids are in school, they’re playing sports, and they are having sleepovers with other kids in the neighborhood and in their school. That’s because I’ve been looking at the data, and there’s virtually zero risk to children from this virus.
The sad thing is, we’ve known this for over six months, and people still don’t get it.
We should never have shut down schools in the first place, but shutting down schools is one of many reasons why I think this is our worst public policy failure since the Vietnam War. And, by the way, do you know what people said back when the Vietnam War was going on? LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS!
I’m genuinely furious with the media for doing such a bad job of sharing basic facts on covid, particularly as it relates to schools reopening. Even this morning, the New York Times has a front page story about a college kid at Appalachian State who got the virus and died. A front page story!
The New York Times hasn’t covered the 70,000 kids from fifty different universities who got the virus. These 70,000 infections resulted in zero deaths and only three hospitalizations. Which is the more important story for the media to cover: the story about how the coronavirus poses almost no threat to college kids, or the one extreme outlier that does not represent what happens to most people who test positive for the virus?
This is the problem with anecdotal evidence. If you look hard enough, you can find a story anywhere that validates the viewpoint that covid is deadly and that no one should be in school. People like your daughter’s teacher read these emotion-laden stories, buy into the covid hype, and lecture little kids whose parents are letting them live normal lives.
Look, I try to give a great deal of leeway to teachers. In my entire life as a parent, I’ve never complained about any of my kids teachers or set up a meeting to discuss issues. We’ve been fortunate and had great teachers so far.
But if my kid came home with a story like this, I’d go speak to the teacher with data in hand. I’d ask him to refrain from lecturing nine-year-olds about their weekend plans, especially when it involves criticizing their parents. If he isn’t responsive in that discussion, I’d take it to the principal.
Also, if this teacher’s so afraid of the coronavirus, why did he ask the kids about their weekend plans? By his logic, no one should leave their houses and interact with anyone else over the weekend because it’s not safe to do so.
It sort of feels like he wanted to find a kid who had weekend plans just so he could lecture her in front of the entire class. This is a total coronabro move and also a really shitty thing for a grown man to do to a little kid.
“If you just started dating and a girl asks are you open to having more kids. How do you answer? I am in my mid 30s, divorced and already have two kids. While I am not opposed to the idea of more kids, I had a vasectomy 9 years ago so that’s a small problem. When asked the question, I told her, ‘Yes, I’m interested,’ but nothing about a vasectomy. Now I really like her and see a future with her but don’t know whether to tell her the truth or just keep on with the lie and never tell her even if we were to try for kids in the future. Love the work you do.”
Well, this is an easy call: you have to tell her about the vasectomy. You can’t allow her to try and get pregnant for months or years when you’ve already had the vasectomy. That’s absolutely sociopathic.
If you keep this up, she’s going to insist on seeing fertility doctors at some point. When they test your sperm and the doctor sees you’ve had a vasectomy, you’re going to look psychotic.
Honestly, the fact that you’ve even considered not telling her makes me want to tell her to run in the other direction and find someone else.
But let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and presume you aren’t an awful human being. You just panicked when confronted with this situation.
Here’s how you tell her the truth without seeming like a lying jerk. Just memorize this: “When I got divorced, I didn’t think I ever wanted children again. But when I met you and we started dating, I changed my mind. When you asked me if I was open to the idea of having more kids, I told you I was because we had only been dating a short while. I didn’t want to tell you at that point that I’d had a vasectomy. I had a vasectomy nine years ago because I absolutely, positively knew I didn’t want more children with my ex-wife and didn’t want to chance it. Now that we are dating seriously and we may get married, I’m willing to reverse the vasectomy because I want to have kids with you.”
The complicating factor here is that vasectomy reversals don’t always work.
But you don’t need to get into that right now.
You just need to be honest about your vasectomy and your willingness to have it reversed for her.
“We bought a small dog a few years back. From the minute we brought her home, the neighbor’s dog, who is allowed to roam without a leash, has come into our yard and bitten our dog multiple times. When we confront the neighbors, they say, ‘What do you want us to do about it?’
We have tried the HOA route, and that helps for a few weeks, but the dog is allowed to roam in the yard and while on walks without a leash. It’s even bitten multiple other dogs and children in the neighborhood, but no one wants to make waves and say anything. We tried the dog warden, and it’s hard to enforce leash laws unless we get something on video showing an incident. We don’t know what else to do. What would you do?”
This isn’t really a dog problem. It’s a dog owner problem.
The dog owner refuses to take care of the obligations of owning a dog and, even when confronted with these issues, refuses to remedy them.
I’d try to get the dog on tape biting your dog and then turn it over to the dog warden. If what you say is true, that the dog has even bitten children, then the owners could face serious civil liability if any of these children have been injured. The pet owners have neglected their responsibilities, which could cost them some serious money since there appears to be a pattern of intransigence.
So I think creating a paper trail of their negligence is the best thing you can do. That way, you have a history of the dog’s behavior and the owner’s refusal to do anything about it. You want to be able to demonstrate that this isn’t an isolated incident and that something has to be done with the dog.
The larger issue here, though, is that your neighbors will probably get another dog if this one is taken away. If they do, then they will likely do just as a poor of a job training and controlling the new dog as they did with their old one.
This is why, as I get older, the idea of owning a house with many acres of land and no real neighbors appeals to me more and more. We’re fortunate because we’ve never had any issues with neighbors, but the last thing I want to do is have to worry about someone living next door to me.
My next home is going to be a compound.
I’m going to have a bunch of houses on a bunch of acres, with no one able to say or do anything to me at all.
I always had this plan in mind, but this whole covid mess has made me want to do it even more. I’ve never been more glad to live in Williamson County, just south of Davidson County, where Nashville is located. I’d be losing my mind if I still lived in Nashville, given the absurd decisions recently made by its city leaders.
I know there are many of you out there right now with similar thoughts. Heck, I know many of you are leaving states because you are fed up with the overbearing leadership. Based on what I’ve seen in the Nashville area, it feels like many people from the East Coast and the West Coast are moving to the South because covid finally ended their willingness to put up with nanny-state governments.
If I lived in California or New York right now, I’d be losing my mind with the politicians there.
California just put out an official state guideline suggesting that people eating in restaurants put masks on BETWEEN BITES OF FOOD.
They required Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to wear masks when they called the Eagles-49ers game on Sunday night.
I’m sorry, this is just complete insanity for anyone with a functional brain.
“As a middle school principal, we have a lot to celebrate about being back to school-FACE to FACE. With that said, we are now finding out we have 0 control locally and see NO end to wearing masks and sending home HEALTHY kids due to quarantine sentences that leave them home for a minimum of 14 days and sometimes up to a month. What can be done to get the overreaching government to pull back when it comes to government education?”
I’ve talked to many teachers about these new quarantine rules and almost all of them agree the rules are absurd.
If you aren’t aware, if a kid tests positive at a school then basically the entire classroom is pulled out of circulation and all the kids have to go home for two weeks and do remote learning while quarantining. That’s even if the kid who tests positive shows zero symptoms or issues with covid and even if no one else in the class shows any symptoms at all.
As a result of one positive test, the entire classroom has to be cleared out and many parents suddenly find out that they are going to have kids back at the house. That’s often a terrible inconvenience for the parents, who either have to take off work, find childcare, or leave their children at home unsupervised, which is probably far more dangerous than having them in school exposed to covid in the first place.
That’s why I actually think we have to stop this national obsession with testing, children in particular. If your kid is otherwise healthy and showing no symptoms, why do you need a covid test? And, honestly, even if your kid is showing symptoms of an illness, what good does testing for a virus do? I understand if a kid is sick enough to require hospitalization, but most kids who have the flu don’t go to the doctor. I’ve never had a flu test in my life and I’ve had the flu quite a few times.
Why didn’t I have a flu test?
Because if I test positive for the flu, guess what they tell me? Go home and get well.
It’s the same with covid! (Except covid is far less deadly for young people than the seasonal flu).
Schools need to all be open and parents need to all be back at work. We’ve reached the point where shutdowns are killing far more people than covid is.
It’s absolute insanity.
My hope is that after the election, things will change. Because right now I feel like covid is 100% political. Joe Biden is running an entire campaign predicated on the idea that everyone is going to die of covid and most of the media is in cahoots with him.
I understand if you don’t like Trump for other reasons — and there are plenty — but the idea that the presidential election is going to be decided by covid fear porn is absolutely disgusting to me. And unfortunately I think that’s going to end up being the case.
“My question to you is about coronavirus. I know you are a big fan of sending kids back to school, rightfully so. But how do you feel about the younger kids (K-6) having to go to school but still wearing their masks? I live in CT and kids are still required to wear a mask while in school.
They do get mask breaks, they do try to do things outside so they don’t have to wear them, and they also don’t have to wear them while eating or drinking. The whole thing about the kids wearing the masks makes zero sense to me and I feel really bad for the kids because it is extremely difficult to have a 5 year old wearing a mask for the portion of the day. What are your thoughts?”
I don’t think young kids need to be wearing masks at school, but my own kids don’t seem to have a problem with it.
I thought they would, but they don’t complain about it at all. Not the kindergartener, not the fourth grader, not the seventh grader.
I think this is partly because my wife and I haven’t made a big deal out of wearing the masks to school because we were — and are — just so excited the kids are back in school at all. Kids often time take the opinions of their parents into the larger world. So I’ve tried to avoid ridiculing masks or playing up how inconvenient they are.
If a business requires a mask to enter, I put one on. It’s not much of an inconvenience to me, honestly. Most businesses already require you to wear shirts and shoes and I wear those too.
So if the requirement for kids to be back in school is that they have to wear masks, that’s a trade I’m willing to make, happily.
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