Friday, June 12, 2009

When good kids do stupid things, or why high school brings out the idiocy in our kids

If you haven't yet read The Californian's exclusive story today on the Stockdale High bullying case, make sure you do so before the day is over. (link to the story here) It's a incredible piece of reporting that should be read by every parent in Bakersfield. First, it's the type of reporting only a newspaper does any more: detailed, time consuming and thoughtful, and it's precisely this kind of stuff that we need more of, not less. But that's besides the point. I happen to know a lot of the players in this sad episode, in which a freshman on the forensics team was tied up in Saran wrap by upper classmen. The picture of the youngster, run on the front page, is heart breaking. Some of the kids involved were friends of my daughter, who graduated from Stockdale last year and is off in college. These are good kids, high achievers, funny, witty, most of them bound for greatness. Many of them are now off to prestigious universities and eventually this case will fade, but not after it cost them dearly, both monetarily and emotionally. But it's a lesson that even good kids make absolutely stupid decisions, and in today's highly charged environment, what starts as a stunt, a joke or an off-hand remark can land you expelled from school, or worse. High school is a perilous time in which our kids - near grown ups but still capable of making incredibly stupid decisions - need to know the consequences.

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