Thanks for your thoughts. I think I'm increasingly bothered by two bits of that article -- (1) the boy refusing to go to the dance isn't apparently bearing any repercussions, and (2) it will be forever googleable whenever you search the girl's name. I have less problem with her agreeing she's unpopular and unattractive than folks unquestioning acceptance of that statement. And since when does wearing make up = attractive? Grrr.
DD is a similar kid, often needing to be told that how others are treating her isn't a game. We work on personal appearance daily: go to school wearing clothes that fit, lack stains or tears, and do your hair in such a way it stays neat all day. It pains me greatly that to get her to actually comply, I've had to say "people judge you on your appearance." It's not the message I want her to internalize, but then again, she needs to present something that looks neat at a minimum. When the "people judge you" message fell on deaf ears, I had to say that her teachers and friends did so as well. While it hurt her greatly, it was also clear she wasn't getting appropriate teaching from her classroom teacher last year because her teacher was judging her on her appearance.
Thankfully, we have a teacher 10000x better this year. DD brought the latest issue of Sci Am to school to proudly show her teacher what she's been reading. Last year, that would have been "bragging."
I have an easier time as an adult with the kind of behavior you've seen with the school levy issue. (but holy cow that's appalling) My standard line is "I left 7th grade a long time ago." Generally by the time the person I've said it to figures it out, I'm long gone.
I also missed the lemons/lemonade confusion. Honestly, though, wouldn't it be quite the trick if you could make lemons from lemonade?