21st Century Kid

Academic Trouble Killed The Teen Driving Star

“Tell me about this earthquake!” I interrupt Mickey. I had been tormenting my parents all week about the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011 because I always gets millions texts after any tectonic action in California. They both made it all sound very, very dramatic so I had to hear Mickey’s take on things.

“I didnt even feel it,” she starts, “Mom told me about it when she picked me up that day. I was like, ‘What?!?!’”

“You didn’t feel it? That’s not exciting! Did anyone in school feel it?”

“Nope, no one did.”

“Lame. Dumb. So much for cashing in on that for an article,” I tell her, “Were you on the ground floor of a building? It’s easier to feel them on upper floors (ironically).”

“I was actually on the stage at my school. It was kind of disappointing, to be honest,” she says.

“I think Mom and Dad and the media made the whole thing up,” I tell her. “What else is going on in kid world?”

“Um… driving school.”

“You are in driving school?? You mean Dad isn’t teaching you how to drive with the usual rigamarole of berating while you attempt to drive?”

“Well, due to ‘Joshua’s Law,’ I have to take a DMV certified class to get my license. I’m doing mine online so I can take classes regardless of my schedule.”

“What’s Joshua’s Law? Isn’t that the thing where kids get lost in Wal-Mart or whatever – is that extended to cars?? And a driving class online?? What??”

She Internet giggles, “No, it’s to help cut down on teen accidents. Because of the law, we have to take the class, have forty hours of driving, six driving hours at night and take an ADAP class.”

“Word,” I reply. “How do they know you drove six hours at night??”

“Mom or Dad has to sign like a log book thing saying I did it.”

“Sounds like room for cheating,” I say, “Has Dad been teaching you? Is he like the same old stress case of a driver’s instructor?”

“No, I’ve only driven with Dad three times. The week after I got my permit I drove with him, which was the worst. driving. experience. ever. When he taught me how to drive stick shift, it was really easy for me. So, there was very little stressed out yelling. But Sunday, I drove with him and there was no yelling. I’d say I’m a pretty good driver.”

“That’s awesome!” I say, not disclosing that I got a stressed yell or two – but not that many! I continue, “So, you going on your birthday next month to get your license??”

“Nope,” she emoticon sad faces, “I got my permit a few days after my birthday so I have to until after. And I kind of got in trouble so I don’t know when I’m getting my license now…”

“What did you get in trouble for?”

“It’s embarrassing.”

“Well, we don’t have to talk about it.” I tell her and then go on to assume that she was caught stealing scrunchies or kissing boys in a bathroom or sniffing markers in a classroom.

“I ‘got caught’ plagiarizing,” she says.

“Oh dearie,” I say, as I was completely NOT expecting that. I wonder if it was about that Ender’s Game essay. I proofed it and it sounded good to me…

I ask her, “Well, what happened? Give me the Who/When/Where/How it happened.”

“Well, I didn’t really realize I was plagiarizing it. I was reading SparkNotes during the summer for my Ender’s Game essay [KYLE NOTE: I knew it!], which is fine for us to use – I even had Mom check it to make sure it was! I saw something on the site that I liked so I went back to my paper and, basically expanded on that idea… and I didn’t cite it. I actually forgot I even went to SparkNotes! But it was still plagiarism and I was given a zero on the assignment, a demerit on my record and they called Mom and Dad. I found out a few days ago. They even called me to the Vice Principal’s office. I was actually so shocked and scarred that I cried.”

She Internet laughs, although underneath obvious guilt, shame and stress.

“Eff that. That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” I tell her. “That answers my question from last week about how teachers figure out if you are using the Internet: they know monitor where you guys ‘look for help’. That sucks. Eff them. EFF THEM ALL.”

“You can’t be the only one,” I reassure.

“No, there were about five people in my grade and a little under twenty juniors.”

I Internet laugh, “Wow. Well, I guess teachers are smarter… but that seems like so much work to catch people! Whatever. It won’t happen again.”

“Seriously. I won’t even Google anything for a paper ever again.”

“Truth,” I tell her, “And your papers will be better for that.”

“That’s what my teacher said,” she adds, “I talked to the other people who got caught and they were just like ‘Oh, I was just lazy’ and I couldn’t believe it. My teacher said she believes I am a very good writer and that by the end of the year I’ll be wonderful, as long as I don’t let this hold me back. She was super nice about and made it almost seem like she felt bad about it. But on the other hand, she didn’t feel that bad because I still got a zero.”

“Yeah,” I say, “but on the other other hand, you still ‘plagiarized’. They just made victims out of you guys.”

“That’s true. Well, I know I will never do anything like that again because that was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“What else is going on?” I ask.

“Well, I’m a little bummed about the whole Will and Jada break-up,” she says, Internet haha-ing.

“They didn’t break up!” I tell her, “And why are people so bummed?? They are both robots – who cares?!”

“Because they were such a power couple!” Mickey yells at me. A little time passes, “…well, I just like their kids.”

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