Mr G has been settling in to his new high school relatively smoothly, it appears. ... sorta.
I admit to some trepidation going in.
See, he's always been in either private Montessori (largely funded by my sister, thankfully), or a Charter (top in the state consistently). Academics have been very strong in both, but even more, the social structure and requirements have been strong on respect and decorum. Bullies were rare and rapidly brought into line.
From one angle, that's great. He got to focus his attention on academics, activities, and his peers without worry or wariness.
From another angle... well, it leaves him without skills to spot a power game, a bully, someone looking for followers, etc. No filter. No radar. G suddenly stands for gullible.
Freshmen are usually pretty gullible, anyway. Eager to find a group to settle in with, they start out with anyone who will talk to them. And over time that may shift, or solidify.
My own high school experience was split - we moved, and I went to one school for a semester, then we moved again and I ended up at a different school mid-way through my freshman year.
The first high school was Main Line upper-middle pretty darn crusty. Very much a different world than I came from. Where I was from, the school was made up of college-staff kids, farmer/ranch kids, and laborer kids, in addition to the middle-class general work pool kids. So we had a strong Hispanic and mixed Native American (several nations) presence, a bunch of intellectuals with attitudes but not a ton of money, and a ton of rough-and-tumble practical kids (the farm kids tended to be both strong and grounded, at least the ones I knew). I mainly hung with the Chicano kids (their term, not mine) and Native American kids, because they were no-nonsense, open, accepting, and a lot of fun - without having to have stuff to have fun. They weren't snotty about the other groups except for the student government kids (too uptight for their taste). But otherwise, eh, whatever. In that group, I didn't have to impress anyone, or keep up. Yeah... Main Line was a looooong way from Kansas (or Colorado, in my case).
To start with, while everyone going to my old school was washed, the new school students were all... clean. Clean and pressed and fresh looking and neatly trimmed. It was slightly disturbing. But okay, I settled into that. And then Halloween came around, and the seniors all came in costume. One group came in coordinated 30's gangster costumes. Complete with the fleet of appropriate cars. One group arrived in a limo. They had suits, and full flapper gear with headpieces and jewelry and cigarette holders. Uh.
Seriously not Kansas.
Meanwhile, I hunkered. I was a year younger than everyone else, socially awkward, and I can't even recall what I wore to school, as clothing was a non-item in my mind at that time (I started actually choosing clothing about a year later). I wore my coat all day long, I was wary, I didn't trust anyone. I found one friend in the first semester, who was open, and kind, and asked me about the self-protection attitude with a gentleness that deserved a better response than I had, basically defensive denials. But she stuck around anyway. She was just a decent person.
And then we moved. The new place was... well, maybe closer to my expectations, in some ways. A wide mix of economic and social strata, as well as ethnicities. More violence than where I came from (a lot more, there was blood on the floor my first day of school from someone being knifed, and NOBODY BLINKED... gah!). A friend was shot with a sawed off shotgun in a stairwell after school. He dodged fast enough that he only had a bunch of scars and a moderate hospital stay (caught scatter, not the full blast). Fights were common, and wariness was a good idea.
I got lucky, and the first day of class I had to share someone's text book in French class. She took pity on the new kid (because she's also like that), and we ended up becoming best friends, along with the friends she already had who welcomed me into their group. My wariness wasn't a problem here - everyone was wary. I relaxed a bit, and grew up a lot, and learned a few things (but couldn't count it a great education - some stellar classes, a lot of okay-ish, and more than a few taught by terribly burned out teachers, alcoholics*, and checked-out-waiting-to-retire types).
And now here's Mr G.
First 'friend' he's picked up tells outrageous lies and Mr G believes him. Like he fell three stories while climbing with home-made Assasin's Creed claw hands - one of the mechanisms broke - and has a replacement shin made out of titanium. Only you can't really see the scars. Uh. Really! Yeah, they replaced bone in a pediatric patient with a metal bar, the kid does not limp (despite growth being likely and metal not being grow-y), and there are no scars. Hmm.
Mr Gullible likes him because he's also into swords. And wears camo to school. And has a chain on his belt. Coooooool.
And that + fabricating coolness makes me soooo not comfortable.
New territory for me. I need him to have a better filter, and he doesn't. He wasn't born with one, and he hasn't really developed one since.
I can't over-boundary it or he'll rebel, right?
I can't set him up to be at direct odds with the kid who lies with such ease.
He has no finesse - he's as likely to take anything I tell him and just throw it in the other kid's face. Even when I say 'here's background information, and now you need to talk to your grandmother about how to handle this' he lectures her on the background information instead of talking to her about how to handle it. GAH!
Yay for having an 'easy' teen.
*One of my first real moments of doing someone a service through honesty was telling the alcoholic teacher calmly that I was dropping his Calc class because while he was standing in the hallway drinking, or sleeping at his desk, the kids were rampantly cheating by passing their homework and test papers around, and my sucky grade was because I refused to cheat so got scored on a curve against the cheaters. I could never hope to get a good grade and keep my integrity intact at the same time. He turned white, couldn't even stammer out a denial, and turned and stared at his classroom door with a profound look of 'oh crap'...
The next year he took a leave of absence, and when my little brother got him I think the year after that, he was a dynamic, engaged - and sober - teacher. I never saw him again, but I remembered the feeling of satisfaction that my honesty might have contributed to bringing a good teacher back to being a good teacher (I had no idea the other havoc alcoholism created in lives, but just that much was pretty darn cool). I was probably not the only force in that direction, but from his reaction, I think I was the first one who told him his students were cheating while he drank, and that we knew he was in the hall drinking. I had to take remedial math in college because I was so traumatized by his class. I wish I'd told him after the first class.