So today I was walking around my classroom during third period (my first period of the day) when I noticed that my students looked like a bunch of dirty ragamuffins.
There were black smudges on their faces, necks, arms, hands, and just about any bit of exposed skin. Weird. Most of these kids are in my homeroom and I didn't recall them looking like this earlier in the day. It wasn't until I walked around the room while the kids were working on their activity, that I found my answer. Jock Boy, a jolly good-natured kid ever there ever was one, had an entire arm covered with writing, smudges, and who knows what.
"So what's with the tats?" I asked him, pointing to his arms.
"Oh that? That's just Sharpie," he said. "Cool, huh?"
"Uh, not exactly," I said. "You know it's not allowed in the Student Code of Conduct, right?"
He looked crestfallen. "It's not?"
"It's not," I said. "So, let's get cleaned up tonight and not do it again, okay?" He agreed with a smile and went on with his work. And as I continued to walk around I realized that what at first looked like dirt was actually Sharpie smudges. I didn't pursue it beyond the quick conversation with Jock Boy (which all the kids eavesdropped on) but continued with my class.
And then my fourth period walked in looking just as bad. And then my fifth period, same story. So at lunch, the time when all of the teachers on The Team get together, eat lunch, and check in with what was up with the kids, I found out that all of us were seeing these Sharpie smudges on our students. As Mrs. Reading said, "It's a bit hard to focus on a kid's question when there's a big black line going across their face."
After lunch Mrs. Social Studies and I pulled aside one of our kids that we could more or less trust and get the truth out of and asked her about the Sharpie smudges.
Apparently the kids, on the way back from the gym and their other electives, were having "Sharpie wars," in the hallway. Basically they were taking Sharpies and drawing lines on each other as the mass of seventh grade humanity made it back to the core part of The School (where there is more supervision and they can't do anything that stupid without getting caught.)
Oh. Good. Gracious.
I'm used to Seventh Grade Stupid Stuff, but jeepers, it's only February! This kind of stupid stuff really shouldn't show up until after spring break! If this is a sign of the spring to come, it's going to be a long, long time until school is out.