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victimizer or victim?

Glenbrook North moves to expel students in hazing:

And so the debate begins. Does the school have the jurisdiction over these girls needed to expel them for activities that take place off campus?

Over at Bill Quick's, commenter JB (who is familiar with school law) says:

There are conditions in some states' school laws that extend the in loco parentis authority (as well as the responsibility) of local school districts to cover situations involving behavior by student groups, whether on school grounds and/or during school hours or not. It can be (and has been, in some cases) argued that, if school authorities can reasonably be expected to know of activities by students which are primarily engaged in as a result of the students' role(s) or involvement with the school, the school authorities can exert control over the students' behavior - whether before or after the fact of said behavior.

Unfortunately, the parents of these girls can't be suspended or expelled from parenting. While the girls are old enough to be held responsible for their own actions, the parents must also be held accountable for providing their children with the means to inflict harm on others.

By that, I don't mean the beer they drank or the feces they threw at the underclassmen; I mean the mentality.

When you equip your child with the power to inflict cruelty upon others, you do a disservice not only to the kids your child will shame with that cruelty, but to your child herself. She will not gain your respect or admiration by you allowing her to exhibit these horrendous behaviors - but she will gain a sense of arrogance that will permeate her personality for the rest of her life.

Should the school be held responsible? Partly, only because they certainly had to be aware of the event and made no attempt to put a stop to it.

But the real blame lies with the parents who set a very bad precedent by giving their kids permission to act like savages.

Now those very parents will be the ones hiring lawyers and suing the school district, claiming their children are victims. There is no hope for those girls when their parents not only condone, but encourage their behavior and then set further bad examples by not owning up to the wrongdoing and fighting punishment instead, and that's where my anger stems from in stories like this one; we are clearly living in a society where people refuse to own up to their own errors, their own mistake, their own actions.

Instead we have lawsuit upon lawsuit, people blaming restaurants for making fattening food, suing to have cookies taken off the market, going to court because they were too stupid to realize they have to take the Pop-Tart out of the paper package before putting it in the toaster.

What have we become? Is there no one who will stand up and say I was wrong, forgive me instead of running to file motion papers that will ultitmately place the blame on someone else?


i agree with your comments ten thousand percent, michele.

now let me play devil's advocate for one tiny moment: those of us that do own up to our mistakes are often met with further abuse and refusal of forgiveness. most of my experience with that is in driving; if i accidentally cut someone off or narrowly avoid a collision because i wasn't looking, i instantly apologize. most of those people flip me the bird anyway and glare at me before speeding away angrily.

of course that is still no excuse to avoid taking the high road and doing the right thing. which is why i have resisted the urge to key the car of the person who parks like a jackass taking up two spots in front of my house every day for the last five years.

We've become a nation of victims. No one is willing to take responsibility for anything that they think they can blame on someone or something else, and all the better if they can sue and become a millionaire out of their stupidity on top of it. It wouldn't shock me in the least if the parents of the perpetrators tried to sue on the grounds that their little precious's reputations were being sullied by all of this bad press.

By the same token, I don't think the parents of the harmed children should be able to sue either, with the exception of reimbursement for any medical bills due to physical injuries. Their kids will get over it, and there is no reason that they should become rich because of the actions of these idiots.

However, these rotten kids AND their parents should all receive some type of penalty for what they did. Savage is almost too good of a word for them, because savages generally are that way because they don't know any other way to be. These kids were probably taught some type of moral rectitude in their lives, but they chose to go against it. I'm not so sure about the school's guilt, because I am sure they had no idea an initiation ritual was going to go that far over the line, and it did not take place on school grounds. I can't remember now whether or not any faculty was present. If they were, I'd say that that particular person or persons would also have to take a share of the blame.

My fave quote was the moron girl who claimed that it wasn't such a big deal that someone had her head cracked open because "it wasn't like someone got killed or anything." Did she SEE the pictures of the stitches in that girl's head??

Kids that are capable of making comments like that scare the hell out of me. They are tomorrow's felons in training.

I agree with MOST of your comments.... The parents aren't necessarily responsible for "providing the mentality," though. I'm fairly certain all of these girls weren't savages or brutes. Some were caught up in the moment and made a mistake. A serious mistake that they should be punished for, but a mistake nonetheless.

A parent cannot be responsible for EVERY action of a child. In effect, that's the same thing you're talking about, blaming others for what you're responsible for. I DO agree that parents have an obligation to teach a child right from wrong and consequences of actions. But then we, as parents, have to set them free to make their own choices and face their own consequences.

The parents that are suing over "reputation loss," etc. ARE guilty of exactly what you're talking about. The parent's that aren't suing, ARE punishing their children and ARE making the children take responsibility (not all of the parents are saying "not my kid") are doing the right thing and are not necessarily responsible for the actions of their children.

I guess what I'm trying to say (in my own long-winded way) is that you're overgeneralizing based on the actions of a few (bad) parents....

I am in the Chicago area and you can not imagine how crazed this story is.

today we had the image of the father of one of the Sr. gilrs who may be expelled claiming that he believed that his daughter did not participate in the really violent stuff.

The amazing part is that this girl is 18 and has her father defending her. he needs to let her out in the world to stand up for her actions on her own.

Michele - you are totally right about this issue. Thankd for covering it.

Wouldn't it be great if we could sue these people to get back our tax dollars that they are wasting by having these idiotic suits? Or if we could sue them for the intellectual damage their stupidity inflicts upon the world and/or crimes against humanity for their failure to produce compassionate and upstanding progeny? Or sue them for custody, with charges of unfit parenting--not that I'd want a house full of those little monsters, but I think I could do no worse a job than they have done!

It's a vivious cycle, yes, but maybe it would get the point across.

the good news is, a lot of judges recently (you'd know how many more than i would) have been laughing these cases out of court. if i were a judge, i'd fine them for wasting my time, on top of the legal fees.

Big Surprise! At the overlawyered.com site I found a link to a story I saw in the paper yesterday. This is the story of the NJ high school student sueing because the school tried to give out TWO valedictorian awards.

Most of the case - to me - is irrelevant and stupid, but the completely outrageous part is that they sued for $2.7 Million. Can someone please explain to me how being CO-valedictorian is worth $2.7 Million compared to being the sole valedictorian ? What a crock!

This is soooooooo wrong. If that ever happened in Syracuse I think they would have killed them.
Just suspending them or expelling them wont help the situation cuz next near they will come
back and do it again. They should be thrown in Jail and the key should be thrown away. Those
Seniors new they were urting those juniors and they knew what they were doing was wrong. They
should be punished SEVEARLY.