Like many people, I’ve seen my share of stories about kids getting in trouble and squandering opportunities because of youthful stupidity.
Thus, I was somewhat inclined to not make a big deal of the 18 members of the Greenbrier High School boys varsity soccer team being kicked off the team and suspended from school for drinking and smoking “spice” on a school trip.
After all, they certainly aren’t the first kids to do stupid things. Heck, just a year ago we were playing this song with members of the Lakeside baseball team.
Thus, I was OK with just letting the whole thing go through the usual channels. They violated the student code of conduct, and there’s plenty of evidence for booting them off the team and out of school. Their best bet now is to keep their heads down, do their work and graduate so they can walk with their classmates.
Then I saw the T-shirt.
It seems one of the friends of the 18 – or perhaps one of the 18 himself, we’re not really sure – posted the design of a T-shirt that said “Free the Greenbrier Soccer Team,” with the names of 17 of the 18 kids on the back.
Apparently that particular design was soon deep-sixed, wisely. But it’s hard to fathom the celebratory arrogance under which it was created in the first place.
That’s really the thing about this incident that sets it apart, and makes it a worrisome example of the kind of kids we’re raising.
They’re living such entitled lifestyles, it seems, that if they break the rules or violate the law, the problem isn’t that they broke the rules or violated the law – it’s that someone caught them doing it. In their eyes, the bad guy is the “snitch” or the “rat” (or, as one posted on Twitter, the “jew-bag,” whatever that’s supposed to be) or the school staff who held them accountable.
Some adults’ comments make it pretty clear where the attitude came from, with many of them whining that the children were somehow “tricked” into confessing.
Is there a parent out there who has never, ever used their wiles to wrangle an admission of guilt out of an obviously misbehaving kid? If so, you’re either a sucker or a saint – and I strongly doubt it’s the latter.
The administrators just did what they’re supposed to do. They aren’t cops and aren’t filing criminal charges, so no, they don’t have to call mom and dad (or their lawyer) first.
Actually, they didn’t need to grill them much at all, thanks to the lunkheads bragging on social media. It’s hard to accuse someone of tricking you into a confession when you’ve already been using your smart phone to confess to the entire world.
To heck with waterboarding; maybe we should just give terror suspects an iPhone and a Twitter account. They’ll tell us everything.
Not even all that qualifies for any tougher punishment for these boys. The punishment they get is exactly the same thing any other student athlete in similar circumstances gets: a push off the team and out of school.
And if any of the moms and dads feel inclined to side with them and attempt to point the blame elsewhere? Good luck when junior gets caught breaking not just school rules, but the law.
I’m sure the cops won’t be any more sympathetic. And they love it when accused criminals confess on their own.
Heck, they’ll even give them a T-shirt. It’s OK if it’s orange, with CCDC stenciled on the back, right?
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/