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*Sigh*

Apparently some boys in Australia behaved badly. They did behave badly, and to my mind are a perfect example of a level of hooliganism, bullying, and punishable action that is seen more and more often in schools and is working it's way up to the entering classes of college students. Frankly, I begin more and more to think we need Security in all the buildings here on campus, all the time, walking "beats." And not just the classroom buildings. Not something I thought I'd ever say about a college that wasn't located in a major city.

That said, this particular kind of thing (that the boys did) isn't all that rare. More importantly, it isn't new.

When I was in elementary school (back when rocks may not have been soft, but were still warm to the touch) Fridays were still fasting days. This was also back in the days when schools prepared 1 main dish with veg and 1 soup and sandwich (choices: X or cheese). On Fridays all of the options were "Catholic friendly," because we weren't allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Simple fix--everyone could eat the things the Catholics could, so make it the default on Fridays. So, mac and cheese, or tomato soup and PBJ or tuna fish sandwich. Or the hated tuna-noodle-casserole (yuck!). Sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich.

So, one of the Protestant or Jewish boys came to Friday lunch one day with a roast beef sandwich. The Catholic boys were...not amused. Much of what transpired in Oz is very familiar to my memory of that day, though rather than the bathroom smack down I think it was snowball (read ice ball pummeling) on the playground. There was huge anti-Catholic bias in our small town even before this incident (to the point of having to watch videos and calling the community together for a "meeting"), yet this incident never made the national press. Nor even the local press. Not considered "news."

That week it was a roast beef sandwich that triggered the fight. The next week the fight was about something else, and the "victim" from the first altercation was actually part of the "agressors" that week and some other kid had offended the hive mind over something. Maybe he was wearing black sneakers instead of white, or something else equally morally significant.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that if the incident the news article was about had involved anything other than a group of Muslim boys, we never would have heard about it. It seems to me that the world is turning into that thing so many of us decry, a small-minded, gossipy, small town--one more like Peyton Place than Mayberry. Rather than the global village taking on the best of what a small community has--sense of support, responsiveness to local needs, sense of community--the global village has instead taken on the worst of a small community: the screaming over "your dog was on my lawn," the gossip that morphs in the telling into something unrecognizable, xenophobia, and parochialism.

Of course, my view is a little skewed--I never was a "townie."

But I suppose in a world where someone can bail on a 4 year job commitment in order to do a book tour, I should just pull my head back in and grade some papers.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
emt_hawk
Nov. 13th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Violence is usually the answer, because people think it solves things. Being angry and excited is fun, so it's usually the answer of first resort.

This sort of thing no longer surprises me. After having to send some kid with CP to the doctor's from Pennsic [an SCA event, where the SCA stands for "Society of Complete Acceptance] because he's got injured ribs because somebody beat him up and stole his drum, it's hard for me to get worked up about something that I can't do anything about. And this was outside Vlad's encampment, someplace that has a lot of traffic. Not only did this happen, but nobody did a damn thing about it. I realize it's not Kitty Genovese, but still.

Watching carefully for this behavior, on the other hand is something that I can do.

As a rule people are assholes. There are some folks who have proven themselves otherwise, but the rule still stands.

--Hawk
sillyviking
Nov. 13th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
"Tuna Noodle Casserole"="The Big Yuck."

Really wanna make 'em annoied--order a pizza, with mushrooms and olives...You've A. come up with a better alternative, B. it's, well, kosher. This was done by a couple of my friends in High School. The reaction was interesting.

Teacher: "You can't order a pizza!"

Friend: "Why not? There's no rule against it."

Teacher: "Um...don't talk back to me!"

Friend: "What?! You're just gonna make a rule up here and now?"

Teacher: "That's it! You're comin' with me!"

They took the pizza along with them, of course, and offered a piece to the Vice-Principal, who, of course, accepted.
wldrose
Nov. 13th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
When i was very young i heard this and it mattered I dont let things go by with people hurting each other

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.Elie Wiesel
retiredmaj
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Ah, but see, if we say/do anything why then we're racist. (That's a bullshit argument, but it's trotted out within .2 seconds.)
retiredmaj
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
P.S. the previous was not an entreaty to not get involved. By all means, jump in and stop things.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 15th, 2009 09:08 am (UTC)
School Violence
I live with this struggle every day and live in "the next town over " from afluent Littleton, CO. Our school has accepted Rachel's Challenge, but it is only the first step. I firmly believe Parents need to have a bigger hand and responsibility. Because what is taught during the day can not stick if it is not a part of life. Some days are really scary, I can only imagine being a kid in this environment. Mine have had their own share and it makes me angry because the aggressor gets suspended and well usually they don't want to be there anyway,..really a punishment....? I am passionate about it so I will end but this is a daily struggle for many, the brave,.....school employees...... :) We have armed police in our school but they can't touch the kids.....
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )