There's no reply to that

Our transatlantic rover alerts us to a novel approach adopted by Pacific Palisades High in California to bring its charges into line.

Following concerns about absences and uncompleted homework, while being threatened with lawsuits from parents whose children did not attain certain grades, staff voted unanimously to record the following message on the school's answering machine.

"In order to enable us to connect you to the right staff member please select from the following:

* To lie about why your child is absent, press 1.

* To make excuses about why your child did not complete his homework, press 2.

* To complain about what we do in this school, press 3.

* To swear at a staff member, press 4.

* To ask why you did not get information that was sent home to you already, press 5.

* If you want us to raise your child, press 6.

* If you really would rather reach out, touch, slap or hit a member of staff, press 7.

* To request yet another change of teacher, press 8.

* To complain about school transport, press 9.

* To complain about school lunches, press 0.

* If you realise now that this is the real world and that your child must be accountable for hisher own behaviour, class work, homework, etc and that the teacher is not to blame for your child's lack of effort, hang up and have a nice day!"

We think that about covers it.

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