Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Paddling & Hazing

Glenbrook North, my alma mater, was the subject of the infamous Power Puff football game hazing incident last year. Now, Glenbrook South (the high school that my kids will attend) and part of the same district as North, had a hazing incident. In this case, members of the school's lacrosse team had a party at a private home in which the youngest members of the team were paddled as part of an initiation ritual. Alcohol was "served" at the party while the parents were not home.

Al Yellon talks about this incident on his page. And draws the absolutely wrong conclusion from the quote that amazes him.

"What you are establishing here is a dangerous precedent," said Art Wolf, a former school board member. "You have already intruded into people's homes and basements -- what's next, the bedroom?"

No, Art, that isn't the point. At the risk of sounding like a conservative old fart, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that clearly, adults in this community think it's OK for high school students to have a party where they drink alcohol. This is illegal. If parents won't teach morality, who will?


The issue is not that the kids shouldn't be punished. The issue is does the school board have the right to do so. Al correctly notes that serving alcohol to minors is illegal. Since when is enforcement of underage drinking laws on non-school property during non-school hours a case for a school board? This is a case for the cops. If the cops and the DA want to arrest, fine, jail, hang, whatever to the kids and parents, so be it. But schools are not the place for meting out punishments for off campus events, unless they are explicitly school related.

In recent years schools have been looked at more and more as defacto parents. That is something this country must get away from. If a kid is an idiot away from school and does something illegal, law enforcement should come from law enforcement, not from the school.

The conclusion? The school board elected not to expel the kids involved. Good choice. Right choice. Next? The coach should kick all the instigators off the team for conduct unbecoming a teammate.

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