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luv2teach2017's Message:

Illegal to require students to stand? Hard to believe that's true. Seriously??????? Then what about all the other institutions we give? Walk in line, get permission to leave class, do classwork as assigned, etc. Are those illegal too?

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
whd507 05-31-2019 08:16 AM

yeah, Kelly services is pretty awful at standing with their employees. I was let go for holding the hand of a student in the lunch line, but I was instructed to do so by the sub plans and the admin as the kid was a runner. another Kelly sub saw this and they let me go.

they lost the contract with that district the next year so I was back with the new company anyway...

Tiamat 12-16-2018 12:44 PM

“There are always two or three who don’t stand up because it’s not required. So at the end of the pledge I said, ‘Thanks to all of you that participated in that. I’m sure that all of those families who lost loved ones so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today would appreciate the effort,’” Furkin said.
So his thanks came with a side serving of judgment and snark? This is a lot more than the original post indicated.

Probably not reason for dismissal, but not the best way to interact with a class of teenagers, either.
Anonymous405 12-12-2018 09:33 AM

I think it’s become obvious that this sub has had issues before at that school. I feel that we need to pick our battles when it comes to dealing with the students. Standing or not standing is not a battle I would choose. By law, you cannot force a student to stand for the pledge. This court decision was based on religious reasons if I remember correctly.

I myself stand for the Pledge but omit the “under god” part because I believe in separation of church and state.

My HS age daughter is one of those students who chooses not to stand for the Pledge. She does so for political reasons. She is deeply unhappy about our current state of affairs and stays seated as a form of silent protest. She loves her country but is worried and saddened about its future. She chooses not to kneel because she says that would make it even more obvious and a child who did that was bullied. I support her choice. She is respectful, cooperative and well behaved in school. She is highly regarded as intelligent, trustworthy, and dependable by her teachers. She is politically active and has worked on behalf of political campaigns that she supports. This is just one more way that she demonstrates.

ElemEd 12-01-2018 01:55 PM that the original poster was reporting news he/she had read, not a personal incident. I did read the original post, but then read all of the replies, and by that time, I'd lost track of that one factor.

Nonetheless, I do stand by what I wrote. If in fact this did happen, I think it is very wrong, and not a reason to dismiss a person from employment.

mkesub 12-01-2018 12:39 PM

ElemEd -

First of all, this incident did not happen to anyone on this board. The original poster read about on Yahoo.

Secondly - Of course this particular sub was using "proximity praise". It is a well-known and highly effective teaching tool. But I would argue that therefore what he was saying was indeed directed at the students who were sitting. His purpose was to give them a message, similar to how you would be giving Joey a message in your scenario. But I would argue that Joey goofing around with his crayons and students sitting during the Pledge are drastically different behaviors. It may make many of us uncomfortable, but students do have the right to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance. If you praise the students who stand you are telling the ones who are sitting that they are wrong. Maybe the sitting students have religious reasons or they're trying to protest things about our government. Or maybe they are just being lazy or trying to push limits. But I will say, as someone who was once a rebellious teenager, it is much more effective to let it be their decision. I consider myself to be a very patriotic person, and one main reason for that is that we do have the right to protest. Not all countries do.

I don't know. We also do not know exactly how it all went down. We don't know the tone of voice or what other things this sub had said or done earlier.

ElemEd 12-01-2018 10:56 AM

What you said was encouraging good citizenship among the students.
It was directed to the majority of the class, and not to those who declined to participate.

When I was teaching (I am a retired teacher who subs), we called this "proximity praise", and it was highly encouraged. The procedure was if you saw a student misbehaving in some way, instead of calling him/her out for it, you praised someone nearby who was doing the opposite.

For example, Joey is rolling his crayons around, and generally goofing off, so you say, "I am proud of Jimmy and Annie for getting right to work." The thought was that Joey would get the hint, and get going himself, without being singled out for negative attention.

If I was treated as you have been, I would definitely go to the school board with a description of the event, my intent, and the (I think unreasonable) response from the principal.

Good luck to you in your continuing career with subbing. I hope that you are treated more fairly in other schools.

MaineSub 12-01-2018 02:41 AM

Some interesting headlines over the past few days:

  • A sub fired for taping a second grader to a chair...
  • A sub being investigated for telling first graders Santa isn't real...

These headlines may say as much about the media as they do about subs. One story "takes off" (like the one that started this thread) and other reporters decide that's what people will want to read about and click on.

There was at least one more that I can't remember... what I found particularly interesting was that every story was about a sub.

That said, there is plenty of room to "raise the bar" for subs. (I didn't say try to figure out who to blame.)
AZsub 11-27-2018 04:57 AM

Again, good discussions. Thanks

dietcoke99 11-24-2018 10:52 AM

One time I said something about "stupid behavior" and they (h.s.) started saying "SHE CALLED US STUPID!!" I just ignored it, but I don't use the word "stupid," anymore, I use something else, instead, like "ridiculous," or whatever I can think of at the time.

I've learned that if you just ignore behavior, it usually just goes away because it's not entertaining, anymore - it is boring. If I would have started saying "no, I said STUPID BEHAVIOR," or whatever, it just keeps it going, and may even escalate.

I didn't even THINK of reporting it myself, but maybe I should have, just in case.

There is an old saying, "me thinks thou protests too much," and that's what I try to do.)

This only works if it is just one (or a few) s's, I think, but if it 3/4 of the class, I am lost, but I have ideas from this group, now, for next time.

When I see cops getting SO ANGRY at people videotaping the police stations, I think the same thing. It is not a coincidence that they are videotaping police stations. They are TRYING to get a rise out of them, and they get it - the cops start asking for their ID, telling them they have to leave, threaten them with arrest, etc. If the cops would just ignore them, they would eventually get bored and leave. They need to listen to h.s. teachers b/c we deal with this kind of thing almost every day.

About the flag guy incident, I don't know if I believe that he was there for "10 years." He exaggerated other things, "All I did was thank them for saying the pledge," and conveniently left out the two that didn't stand. I don't remember the district saying that he was there for 10 years, only him.

Fractured 11-23-2018 05:01 PM

Sounds like he did three dumb things over a long period of time. I wouldn't say thank you as it makes it seem like you are favoring some kids over others. I wouldn't be afraid to say bless you either. At some point, you have to just go with your gut though or you won't be able to control a class if you are in a constant state of self patrol.

I had a Hs class swearing at me once and I called one of the kids a smart ass and they all got upset and one kid said they were going to report me for verbal abuse. I said go ahead. I told the sect what happened at the end of the day( this is one of the worst schools in the district) and that I was self reporting the incident. She laughed and said I know how they treat subs, I have your back. I think you just need to know what kind of school you are in and what they'll tolerate.

AZsub 11-23-2018 02:34 PM

Thank you to all that responded. Very good conversation.

Most of the time, I am the only one reciting the pledge. I am a high school sub, so there are the students that just sit. Personally I hate it, but I do not say anything.

I think my main point is, that subs and teachers are walking on egg shells these days. Ten years is a long relationship for a school and sub. He should have had a conversation between the sub coordinator and himself. If someone had said, don"t say that. he would have done what admin said. Now he is out income. He also should not be giving out his facebook address.

Will I get in trouble for saying "bless you," to a student that sneezes? Now I am paranoid. It's a very strange world these days.

luv2teach2017 11-19-2018 07:37 AM

These kinds of issues can be a result of school politics too. A sub can inadvertently stumble into a virtual hornet's nest of petty power plays and territorialism that involves other players, such as parents.

I once got blocked from a (rather affluent) elementary school immediately following an incident where I stopped a parent who rudely tried to push past me and barge into the classroom. Turns out she had intended to hand out materials that hadn't been approved via the regular teacher or office. I simply asked her to wait and distribute them after school. Later in the day, her husband came into class with her, made an angry remark to me, and then they headed straight to the office. There was no conversation. The principal never spoke with me about it. But the next thing I knew, I was no longer getting access to jobs at that school. I later found out (from another teacher in that district) that this school had a reputation for being rife with helicopter parents who frequently overstepped and interfered in school affairs. She said "It's no wonder we have a hard time keeping good subs in this district!"

I agree with the point about Kelly Temp Services. It doesn't help that the sub was employed via a "temp" agency. The bottom line for those agencies is $, so they have no problem throwing the sub under the bus over even the smallest issue. Temp employees are treated as expendables.

dietcoke99 11-19-2018 06:08 AM

Giving him the strong benefit of the doubt I think that Lakeside makes sense. That's why it's nice to have the opinions of different people on this list.

By the way, a student told me a couple of days ago that someone (I can't remember if a teacher or sub, but I think it was a sub) took her phone - she asked the sub if he could charge the phone while he had it! I told her that "only a student would even think of that."

Lakeside 11-19-2018 04:27 AM

Honestly, I don't think the latest incident should have gotten this guy fired - maybe suspended for a few of days? More usefully, sensitivity training.

We have to assume kids are choosing not to participate for religious reasons, but my own high-schooler has told me that most of the kids who refuse just do it "because they can".

Kids feel powerless in other areas of their lives, so they exercise their power over adults where/when they know they can get away with it. I except this sub has had a lot of that lately, and simply thanked the kids who followed instructions. I don't think religious reasons crossed his mind at all (hence the sensitivity training).

And I definitely agree with Sublime about the overuse of the word "bullying". - We, as a society, are raising kids with no resilience. (But that's probably a whole thread on it's own!)

Maybe they have a surplus of subs there, but three relatively minor incidents over 10 years would not be enough for the administrators here to let one go. We're too shorthanded! The photo thing would just have been a talking to and deleting of the photo, the Twitter thing would have been more serious, but again, mostly re-training to keep it from happening again. (I'm assuming here that "inappropriate" content meant adult language, not something involving the law.)

I'm not for brushing the guy's mistakes off as "nothing" wrong - but I think there is a middle ground here between that and firing him.

SubMan 11-18-2018 08:46 PM

The sub was employed by Kelly Services, that says a lot to me. I used to sub through Kelly Services and had trouble with them. They are more concerned with protecting their source of income than finding out the truth.

As a substitute you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

dietcoke99 11-18-2018 05:46 PM

Maybe I’ll be on the chopping block soon, b/c I tell EVERYONE to stand for the pledge as a matter of RESPECT. Doesn’t matter if you’re not from this country, or if your religious beliefs require you not to say the pledge, whatever. You don’t have to say it, but you will stand, just as I would show respect for your country/beliefs were I visiting or living there.
I'm wondering what you would do if a student refused to stand? You've never had that happen? What if it DID happen?

I pride myself in being able to "see around the corners" in things like this. I always wonder things like, "what if they don't?" Send them to the office? Call the parents? Yell at them? I can't imagine what consequence a sub would give for this?
luv2teach2017 11-18-2018 05:03 PM

Illegal to require students to stand? Hard to believe that's true. Seriously??????? Then what about all the other institutions we give? Walk in line, get permission to leave class, do classwork as assigned, etc. Are those illegal too?

TheGr8Catsby 11-18-2018 03:59 PM

Maybe I’ll be on the chopping block soon, b/c I tell EVERYONE to stand for the pledge as a matter of RESPECT. Doesn’t matter if you’re not from this country, or if your religious beliefs require you not to say the pledge, whatever. You don’t have to say it, but you will stand, just as I would show respect for your country/beliefs were I visiting or living there.
This is very much illegal and an infringement of students' constitutional rights, as interpreted by SCOTUS case W. Virginia v. Barnette.
dietcoke99 11-18-2018 03:47 PM

What if the sub chooses not to stand?

dietcoke99 11-18-2018 03:23 PM

I am "on the fence" with this one, especially after a student, the other day, said that she was going to "get me in trouble." The students have too much power, as somebody said.

But how many times should a sub need to be warned before the district takes action?

I went through the article and pulled out the main ideas about this sub, according to the article, because I don't know if it is being read.

It stated that he...

(and these are straight from the sub, according to the article)

“All I did was thank that class for saying the Pledge of Allegiance and now I’m told not to come back in the building anymore,” he told the board. [That isn't quite complete according to what I pulled out below].

O.K. We can forgive him, here, maybe he didn't see the two that stayed seated, etc.

Furkin said that he never shot video of any students, instead claiming that another teacher had asked him to take a photo of the students so the teacher could identify which students weren’t participating in an assignment. Furkin admitted taking the photo was a “big mistake” that got him banned from Parkway Central High School several years ago.

What he says happened here sounds fishy to me [my statement]. According to the district, he was warned after this incident. [1st warning for poor judgment].

Furkin also said he shared his personal Twitter account with his students after they asked about books he had written. On his Twitter page students found “inappropriate images,” which Furkin said were there because he had been hacked.

Giving students this personal information, I THINK (I could be wrong, I don't know, but I wouldn't have done it, especially when I had already been warned about something previously).

According to the district, he was warned after this incident. [2nd warning for poor judgment].

After he had received the 2 warnings, the flag incident then happened.

These don't seem like "little indiscretions" that all subs do from time to time and would be found if we took the inventory of everybody.

I am seeing a pattern of pretty bad judgement IMHO. Isolated incidents I can understand, but he had been warned two times previously for having poor judgement. You would think that he would be on his best behavior, and I'm sorry, but I see the flag incident as a dis for the 2 that didn't stand.

I'm wondering if those on this thread really think that these things, assuming they are true (and the article is very compelling), are "ok" and "normal" and "no big deal?"

I am truly interested in what side the subs on here fall, after presumably having all of the data.

Based on what I know, it seems that maybe we should give a little more weight to the district, but maybe I'm being too judgmental, here.

subasaurus 11-18-2018 12:49 PM

I understand not making inappropriate comments as a role model for youth. That could be a fireable offense, especially if it happens regularly.

But schools have gone crazy with what teachers can and cannot say.

That sub did nothing wrong at all.

Whatever happened to respecting adults in the room? Why are teachers being so demonized now?

Students can get away with being disrespectful if they know they can get teachers fired for anything.

Respect in ALL forms needs a comeback.

We need to remember to teach kids how to display positive and respectful behaviors to their teachers and school it appears. On the opposite side of it, we need to be sure we're modeling respectful behaviors ourselves. Like not yelling all day and expecting our students to be "good" just because we're screaming at the top of our lungs.

Hey, schools: Stop firing subs for doing nothing wrong!

Ridiculous what's considered fireable offenses these days.

dietcoke99 11-18-2018 11:48 AM

Sorry. I don't think that URL worked. I'll try again.

If that doesn't work, here is the title of the article. Maybe you can google the title to bring it up. The author is "Rachel Rice."

"Parkway says substitute had 'a pattern of inappropriate conduct' before Pledge incident"

dietcoke99 11-18-2018 11:44 AM

After sifting through what felt like 25,000 websites about how this sub "just thanked the students for standing for the pledge," and was fired - I finally found one that gives the incident from the district's point of view. There is much more to the story - at least that is what is claimed, here.

By the way, I suspected that I had been banned from a school in one district because I was no longer getting job offers from them; I had no idea why. They didn't give me any explanation (nor did I ask for one), which makes me want to give this school SOME credit in that they called the sub in and told him what was going on and he was allowed to defend himself. I felt like I got the "dime a dozen" mentality. Of course, I didn't go to the media, but neither had he at the time.

One last thing - There is a MAJOR difference between making statements/requests/whatever to adults vs. students (children). There is no relation IMHO.

Here is the URL for the site that gives the point of view of the district, at least that is what it says it does.

MaineSub 11-18-2018 05:02 AM

Thanks to whd507 for posting the actual story... I researched this story a bit and found

According to the statement, the district would not recommend a substitute teacher be restricted based on an isolated incident.
expanded on, as well as some additional details about the incident itself.

Taken by itself, I would concur, this incident does appear to have a "ridiculous" aspect. But I suspect (and to some extent found) there is more to the story than the headline or a few sentences summarizing what happened tells.

What the story does prove is that we (subs and teachers) are working in an emotionally charged environment where it is quite easy to end up on the defensive thanks to hyper-sensitivity and political correctness. I don't like it but I accept the reality.

Because of that, I find it's best to be relatively opinion-less at school... it's not always easy because I do have strongly held beliefs and opinions. But I'm not there to promote my beliefs and opinions. There are too many cases where a student or parent has accused a teacher of using the classroom to teach their opinions--in some cases opinions that we might think are commonly shared. But we are currently all about diversity as a society. Nothing wrong with valuing diversity--but we haven't quite figured out how and where tolerance fits in. I think most would agree, "commonly shared" just isn't the norm anymore.

Second, and closely related, our relationships with students becomes an increasingly important part of the puzzle. Students have a great deal of power in today's system--some know it and, frankly, abuse it.

It can be difficult to find the line between paranoia and common sense. I'm frankly surprised that this sub found it "necessary" to call attention to those who stood. (He did, by the way, say more than "thank you" according to one report.)

I'm still trying to break myself of the habit of saying "bless you" when one of the kids sneezes. I have managed to eliminate "God" from the response.
Sublime 11-17-2018 07:46 PM

This is very upsetting. Admin should have supported the sub. Another thing I like to point out is the use of the word "bullying." Kids use it all the time. "He/she's bullying me!" In the schools bullying means being treated a certain way "over a period of time" but students use it for anything. I'm not being nitpicky here. The word turns me off because it's now a catchphrase for anyone bothering anyone else. I am not insensitive to the bullying issue, either. (An 8th grader told me recently, as a joke, that I was bullying him and I told him it wasn't possible because I just met him.)

It's like "hydrate." A 7 year old will ask me if he/she can get a drink of water because they have to stay hydrated. Really? Some of us survived childhood without water bottles or getting a drink every 10 minutes.

dietcoke99 11-17-2018 06:23 PM

This is why I work in a minimum of 2 districts at all times. I am not so desperate that way. Of course, I only work at high schools so I end up in few schools, but still, I like to be in 2 districts.

I was in 2 districts very recently when it seems that I was having a big problem 1/2 the time I was at one of them (they also have 3 new principals this year, which should tell you something), so I resigned from that district, applied in a different one, and as of a few days ago I am in AESOP with 2 districts again.

Also, anybody who has subbed (or anything else) for 10 years has had to have had an "incident" with somebody along the way, including t's, admin's, whatever, it's just easy to get rid of a sub (they probably don't even get to defend themselves). Anybody who has their inventory taken will have something come up.

whd507 11-17-2018 06:04 PM

A Missouri substitute teacher is seeking answers after claiming he was banned because he thanked students for saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Jim Furkin has worked as a sub for about a decade in St. Louis County’s Parkway School District, mostly at Parkway South High School, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday.

Furkin told the school board Thursday he was subbing in a freshman English class in October. As is custom, students said the pledge after morning announcements. Most, but not all, stood.

“There are always two or three who don’t stand up because it’s not required. So at the end of the pledge I said, ‘Thanks to all of you that participated in that. I’m sure that all of those families who lost loved ones so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today would appreciate the effort,’” Furkin said.

One student asked to go to the counselor’s office, Furkin said. Later, a school administrator questioned Furkin about what happened and told him a student had been “hurt” by what was said after the pledge.

“I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean it that way, that wasn’t my intent at all,’” Furkin said. “He said, ‘We’ll get back to you,’ and then the next day after that, I’m no longer welcome in the building.”

District spokeswoman Cathy Kelly wouldn’t comment on Furkin’s specific case but released a statement Friday from the district. It said students choose whether to participate in the pledge or not, “and our role as educators is not to make a judgment about that choice.”

According to the statement, the district would not recommend a substitute teacher be restricted based on an isolated incident.

“Several factors, including prior concerns at other schools, would be taken into consideration before making a recommendation,” the statement read.

Kelly Educational Staffing, the agency that employs Furkin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Furkin said the staffing agency told him he wasn’t being allowed back because he had “bullied” a student.

luv2teach2017 11-17-2018 04:13 PM

I also have been an ESL teacher for many years and taught adult refugees and immigrants, including civics to those seeking citizenship.

Even if they are not citizens, immigrants and refugees who now live here are still Americans and need to show respect for what is now their country too. As an ESL teacher, this is an important part of our job...teaching students about American culture and traditions and encouraging them to honor and respect those. After all, cultural awareness and sensitivity go both ways.

In elementary schools where I sub, the pledge is broadcast over the loudspeaker and the children are told to stand with hand over heart, face the classroom flag, and say the pledge. It's not an option. One student in the class leads the pledge. I monitor to ensure the kids are following instructions, as is my job as teacher.

I personally like the idea of teaching children to show respect for their country. Fortunately, the schools in my district do too.

dietcoke99 11-17-2018 03:59 PM

When the pledge comes over our speakers, I look for the flag (because I usually don't know where it is), I put my hand over my heart, I say the pledge, I usually am busy looking at the lesson plan or whatever (afterwards, of course), and I don't even KNOW who stands or not, I've honestly never even thought of it. I just assumed everybody did and wouldn't know if anybody didn't, because I wasn't looking to know differently.

Even if somebody didn't, I wouldn't go into that as a sub. I figure they have something going on and all of the regular people, I'm sure, know about it - not my battle.

Before I get reamed, here, I wear a flag necklace to work regularly, I have flag shirts, stickers, buttons, I say "thank you for your service," when I see veterans, etc., so don't say how horrible I am that I wouldn't fight this battle - I just don't think it is a fight I want to take as a sub.

It's probably not the fault of the students, anyway, it is the result of something the parents are doing. They don't need me to point it out more than it already is. We truly don't know what is going on, here. They may be being bullied about this, already, why make it worse without knowing anything? These are kids, for God's sake.

When I was in high school there was a girl that, I think, was a Jehovah's witness, would stand for the pledge, but not say it. We noticed it, thought she was odd, I'm sure she wouldn't have been one of our friends, and these days would probably be bullied, but that's how my sample size of "one" came down.

Tapdancesub 11-17-2018 12:40 PM

I ask them to please stand, whomever stands, stands. Whomever doesn’t sits. Done and done. I once got called in because a teacher left me a Birthday Homework Pass to give to a student. She refused it and said her faith did not allow her to accept birthday gifts. I said no problem and clipped it to the plan. The little snowflake went home and told her parents I bullied her into accepting it. I got called into the office, my response was how was that possible when the student didn’t accept the pass? Whatever.

broomrider 11-17-2018 12:07 PM

if I can get any of the several children who I feel bully me during subbing fired, or at least removed from class for more than 5 minutes.

mooba1 11-17-2018 11:01 AM

Isn’t this completely ridiculous? A 10 year sub fired for thanking students who rose for the pledge, b/c the 2 other snowflakes felt he was bullying them. My god, what have we come to in this country?

Maybe I’ll be on the chopping block soon, b/c I tell EVERYONE to stand for the pledge as a matter of RESPECT. Doesn’t matter if you’re not from this country, or if your religious beliefs require you not to say the pledge, whatever. You don’t have to say it, but you will stand, just as I would show respect for your country/beliefs were I visiting or living there.

I flew all over a kid last week who was born and raised here, for reciting the pledge in a sarcastic manner. Of course, he’s completely disrespectful in every other instance as well, so there you go.

MissESL 11-17-2018 10:35 AM

I have a lot of refugees and immigrants as an EL teacher. It feels wrong to ask them to do the pledge, because this is not “their” country necessarily. We do a moment of silence ahead of time so everyone is already standing, but I feel obligated to include pledge etiquette reminders anyway. My spiel is:
“If you choose to stand during the pledge, please stay standing the whole time.”
They don’t have to stand, they don’t have to say it, but they will be silent while I (and/or others) do our of respect. I feel that this is okay, because I’m not forcing my beliefs on them, but I am concurrently teaching them how to be respectful of beliefs with which you may not agree.

I’m sorry the sub was not welcome after this incident. Sometimes, I think we worry about it offending anybody to the point where we minimize what is truly important.

kahluablast 11-17-2018 10:10 AM

I don't think it is limited to subs, either. This example is, but it could just as easy be a classroom teacher.

Unfortunately, in today's world, we are only safe if we don't interact with anyone else.

AZsub 11-17-2018 09:40 AM

Just read an article on yahoo news about a sub with almost daily jobs at one school. He had been at the school 10 years.

The incident had to do with the pledge at school. You know we all do this: "please rise." 22 out of 24 students got up. After they sat down, he thanked all who got up to say the pledge. He was pulled into the office at the end of the day and told he would not be welcome there anymore. He was told that what he said made the two that did not rise feel bullied.

I usually say the pledge out loud by myself these days. It bothers me, but I do not say anything to the students. By the way, his school goes by "the patriots"

As subs these days, I feel we are constantly in danger of innocently saying the wrong thing out loud. Apparently, even if we sub often at a school they dismiss us at will. Just be careful what you do and say.

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