HUMOR: Students punished for lost pens and pencils

Amanda Young

By Amanda Young, ’11, Co-Editor-in-Chief

During first semester, English teacher and Junior and Senior Dean Mr. Fred Carey found “over 300” unattended pencils and pens throughout the Upper School. So, Mr. Carey is now awarding two detentions per lost writing instrument.

“It’s becoming a serious issue. Unattended pencils and pens are hazards to our students,” Mr. Carey said. “Bic mechanical pencils are especially valuable and dangerous objects. Over ten students have gone to the nurse’s office for just stepping on the infamously sharp point of a Bic pen.”

“It is necessary for the safety of our students to take action. The potential health effects are numerous, ranging from lead sickness to dot syndrome to camping out in the ‘Scooby Doo’ parking lot,” Upper School Head Mrs. Stephanie Luebbers said.

Punishing students for losing their pens or pencils has been difficult. Unlike binders and books, writing utensils rarely have name identification. So, Mr. Carey has resorted to “randomly” disciplining students found near the crime scene. “The logic is that if it wasn’t their pencil, one of the other 300 probably was,” Mr. Carey said. “The only issue is that sometimes no students are present. I once found an obnoxious Papermate mechanical pencil under my desk. Since no one other than me was there, I punished a student snoozing in the senior pit.”

Mr. Carey said he has found pens and pencils everywhere from the men’s bathroom to the trash can in his office. But, he said he doesn’t seek them out. “I only discipline if an instance comes to my attention. If I see you doing the CCDS pen flip, I will come over and wait until you drop the pen. Then I will write you up for three detentions: two for unattended property and one for the blown pen-flip.”

Stomping on a pen has been upsetting for many students. Upper School Psychologist Ms. Stephanie Elie said ‘pen trauma’ increased dramatically last semester. “I’ve had to stop seeing students recovering from their mustache growing inadequacies in ‘Movember’ to see soley pen distressed students.”

The anguish over stepping on a pen is so widespread that the Dining Terrace has created a ‘pen free’ table. “Unfortunately, one student etched with pen on the table. Luckily, though, that was the only incident and we were able to close down the cafeteria for a day and stabilize the table,” said Dining Staff head Mrs. Donna Fisher.

The ‘pen free’ table has set a precedent for Upper School tables and desks. The CCDS administration is in the works of replacing many of the contaminated work surfaces; currently suffering students must sit in the corners of rooms so as to maintain a five-foot distance from the nearest pen or pen mark.

“Not leaving pens lying around is the best way to prevent ‘pen trauma’, one of the many negative repercussions of unattended pens and pencils,” Mr. Carey said. “For the time being, we must end the madness by punishing students with detentions.”

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