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Culture shock

June 2, 2016

A young Polish woman, recently moved to Texas, describes her culture shock:

As a high schooler in Europe, I was already treated like an adult. I could leave the school anytime I wanted to, I could skip classes if I felt like I know the material (not recommended, but as long as I made it to 70% of them and passed all my exams) I suffered no consequences), I could wear whatever I wanted, I could smoke cigarettes in front of the school (I don’t smoke, but I could if I wanted to), and even at 15 or 16 I was the one to be contacted, not my parents, if anything needed my attention. My parents paid the tuition and made sure my grades are good when I decided to show them – that was the extent of their communication with my high school. Moving to the US felt like moving back in time to primary school – or even worse because even in primary school I was able to go out and get ice cream from a nearby grocery store during longer breaks! As a high schooler in America, I had to learn about dress code, detentions, hall passes, and the fact that the teachers have absolute control over my mind and body. Even if I wanted to go to the restroom, I had to have a hall pass to prove it. One day, my friend and I decided to have lunch on the grass lawn behind the school – he was a guy, so after we got caught, we were immediately questioned whether we had sex, did drugs, maybe both, and ended up getting after school detention. For eating a sandwich. I had more freedom as 7 year old in Europe than a high school senior in Texas.

The thing that strikes me is that the freedom she describes for young people was pretty much what I experienced as a teenager in Texas, four decades past. The extreme level of control that shocks her is one that developed here during that time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    June 2, 2016 9:52 am

    I endured 17 years at Austin ISD with my kids. When they started high school, my goal was to be completely hands off, let them figure things out. Instead I was forced to fight a system of control and intrusion not just into their lives, but our whole family lives. My youngest is done today and I say “good riddance” and “remember to vote”. When the district does as it pleases and then get the bonds it asks for, there is ZERO incentive for them to change, learn, listen to communities. We get the school we vote for, I guess.

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