Red Alert

So my mother’s been sending me e-mails all about how I should be especially, especially careful about handling my hate mail this week. Yes, I have actually received hate mail – for being Jewish, not for “pissing-off people,” silly. My mother’s concerned because the country is now on Orange Alert, which the friendly website (NOT, as I recently discovered) defines as “HIGH RISK OF TERRORIST ATTACKS.” She’s worried that before we know it, we’ll be in a state of Red Alert, and we’ll have to buy more rolls of Acme Magical A-Bomb-Resistant Duct Tape (TM). As any good Phillipian-reading Andover student knows, a red alert is a bad alert. A concerned faculty member may “red flag” a student, without the latter’s knowledge, by sending out some sort of notice to the latter’s teachers and house counselors stating that the student is believed to be in some sort of trouble. (*Disclaimer: To be honest, I don’t really understand the intricacies of the system. Teachers I’ve asked about it have always been hush-hush. All I know is that it’s a Graham House custom, so it has to be evil.) In any case, Alex Jamali ’03 wrote a very eloquent Phillipian op-ed piece last year criticizing the faults of the red-flagging system. She pointed out that a “red flag” can unfairly discredit an unaware student’s mental/psychological status and that the system never calls for a direct confrontation with the student about whatever the red-flagger’s concerns were. Jamali argued that because students can be red-flagged for such a broad range of “arbitrary reason[s], it is possible to red-flag someone inappropriately.” Alex, you can rest easy. I recently found a top-secret memo that breaks down the Red Alert System into Red Alert categories. I always knew deep down The Man was concerned with student interests. Selected alerts and some suggested treatments: Red Ink Alert: Student has not paid history department “Copying Fees.” Red Cross Alert: Student goes to Isham only when infirmary is reputed to be entirely full. Treatment: Administer Sudafed. Red Shirt Alert: Senior athlete delusionally believes that he will be favored over a PG recruit because he has been playing on JV for three years. Red Eye Alert: Student simultaneously violating bandwidth usage regulations, locking door at night, and arriving to class exhausted. Treatment: Ban access to Redline Alert: Student hands in infinite rewrites, but changes only the date on each draft. Red Hot Mama Alert: Student is too sexy for her shirt, so sexy it hurts. Student is also too sexy for her car, too sexy by far. Big Red Alert: Student suspected of bicycling to small towns in New Hampshire. Treatment: Lavish with fish-heads. (Hey, it made sense to the Exies…) Redcoat Alert: Student too conservative. Treatment: Add PC video and stir. In-The-Red Alert: Student challenges Trustees’ decision to suspend Music Department’s off-campus programs for the next three years. Treatment: Desert student in Florida for at least one week. Red-Light District Alert: Student has been having too many parietals, and as school knows, private boy-girl interactions can be only sexual. Treatment: Vis-à-vis Crisis Management Protocols (“…the Academy encourages the faculty and staff to report information concerning even apparently consensual sexual activity involving a student or students younger than 18 to the Dean of Students,” p. 29), report to Dean of Students Official Promiscuity List. Red Herring Alert: Student BS’s entirely too much, making up 92.5% of all statistics he spews on the spot. Painting The Town Red Alert: Student enjoys weekends too much. Response: Schedule athletics during the weekends. Red Planet Alert: Student believed to know too much trivia about Marvin the Martian. Red Tape Alert: Student criticizes school’s bureaucracy. Treatment: Arrange for meeting with Board of Trustees and Acting Head of School to discuss methods for appending to meeting schedule a meeting to discuss methods for appending to meeting schedule a meeting with Board of Trustees and Acting Head of School to discuss methods for promoting greater efficiency within the administration. Red Army Alert: Student attempts to have some input in an administrative decision. Treatment: Get P.O.’d.