teenage consequences

By now if you live in the greater Philadelphia region you have heard about the latest thing out of Conestoga High School. Two very white girls vaping, out of it, saying the N-word. Repeatedly.

This is unacceptable.  There is no other way to couch it.

It’s racist. It’s ignorant.

And then there is the whole vaping thing with what looks like that Juuling contraption I read about in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The article written by Mari Schaefer says (and I quote):

Social media is a window into the growing use of Juuls. In June, there were 10,000 Juul-related posts on Twitter. By December that number had climbed to 150,000, Dobbins said.

Locally, a video of two Conestoga High School students that has made the rounds on social media, more for the use of racial slurs, also shows one of the girls using a Juul.

In an email, officials at the Tredyffrin/Eastown School District in Chester County stated that using a Juul “would be considered a code of conduct violation, which would be enforced.”

Calls to local school districts, including Philadelphia, about Juuling on campus went largely unanswered — though two Montgomery County districts acknowledged the use of the product in their schools.

On Tuesday, wellness counselors in the Lower Merion School District sent a letter to middle and high school parents about the Juuling trend, suggesting parents talk “openly and honestly” with children about not only Juuling but also drugs and alcohol.

 

Ok now two excerpts from articles on the whole N-word situation:

Video of teens using racial slur sparks outrage at Conestoga
By Linda Stein, lstein@21st-centurymedia.com, @lsteinreporter on Twitter
POSTED: 03/10/18, 4:45 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO

DEVON >> A video featuring some Conestoga High School students casually using the N-word is now the focus of a school board investigation.

The video, which was not made during school, is going viral – and not in a good way.

The video shows two white, teenage girls who are apparently vaping, using the N-word and laughing. The video has been widely shared on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The two girls have not been identified.

 

Community Matters: The “N”-Word has No Place in T/E Schools — Or in Any Schools!
March 9, 2018

I received several copies of the recent live social media post by two Conestoga High School girls with racial slurs. The ‘white’ girls use the “N”-word multiple times in the racially offensive video which has since gone viral.

For African-American students living in some parts of the country, the use of the N-word by their white peers may be routine. But I admit that in 2018, living in the T/E School District, I found the racial vitriol  of the video shocking and extremely disturbing. Am I naive to think that this video by a couple of Conestoga High School students is an isolated situation or … is it symptomatic of a bigger problem in the school district?

Following the video going viral, the T/E School District families received a letter from Superintendent Gusick which contained the following message, “T/E School District strongly condemns this and all forms of racist language. Although this video was not made during school, it has hurt and offended many in our school community. This is unacceptable behavior, and it will not be tolerated. The school will investigate fully and apply consequences as appropriate. T/E School District will continue to stand for respect and inclusion, with schools where all are welcomed to learn and grow.”

 

Now one of the girls was identified.  And her father posted a public apology. One has to feel his pain as a parent.

The actions of two teenage girls are going to have very extended consequences.  As I peered into the social media of it all, I was struck by something profound that a friend said to me:

I’m not saying in any way that what these girls did was OK – but the level of hate towards them is close to a lynching mob.

I have to agree.  Hate begets hate but somewhere we all as a society need to pause and think, don’t we?

Someone else said:

A number of problems have surfaced in this district but schools generally reflect the norms of their community rather than form them in a vacuum.

Also somewhat true.

I feel I have to ask why is it that only the girl who was the field hockey phenom on a fast track to UNC as an early field hockey commit was named by name?  Two girls are in that video.

And let’s step back and look at the other lesson here: two teenagers have learned that actions indeed have consequences and words do wound.

Teenagers never want to listen when you caution them about social media.  Even after the nationwide news in June 2017 when Harvard University revoked acceptances on students over…wait for it…offensive social media posts.

Words wound. Actions have consequences.  Teenagers are of the invincible age.  They imagine they are like teflon and nothing bad can happen.

Uhhh d’oh. Just because you think it’s cool to be an ass on social media, it doesn’t mean it won’t follow you.

Kids today live in a different kind of scrutiny filled world.  Instant communication is great, but now look at two teenage girls who have in essence, tanked their cozy little worlds for transmitting ignorance.

Someone else said to me today:

These girls were probably at home when they posted this video, not at school. So I don’t quite understand how it is the fault of the school district and not the parents. …There are so many good things that happen at Conestoga and so many amazing kids that go there. Just hate to see them all affected by the foolish actions of 2 students…please do not throw all the kids into one bucket. Take it from me, there are a lot of good things happening at Conestoga, You just don’t hear about them!

 

So we are back to the power of the Internet. Which, incidentally, is why we all hear about the negative things so often at Conestoga. And we have heard about a lot of negative incidents coming out of this school and the corresponding school district over the past couple of years, haven’t we? And while not indicative of every student, every teacher, every coach, and all parents it certainly does make one pause and wonder about an unpleasant culture that pops up every now and again, doesn’t it?

Expressions of hate aren’t cute little things to be tossed around while giggling with your friends.  Words wound and these are words that are just a big bag of wrong.

People speak of social media boot camps.  I think they should develop them for middle school and high schools everywhere. Make parents, educators, and students attend.

And as for the parents who will say things like they didn’t know.  Ok look, I am the step-parent of a teenager.  They are the secret society.  They communicate by text and various social media platforms and via their gaming systems .  But we are the adults.  And while we should resist the urge to be prison wardens, we need to be present.

Parents need to be clear that actions have consequences. Parents need to set boundaries. Have difficult or awkward discussions at times.

Teenagers need to realize that social media can and will follow them.  Even adults are turned down for jobs and even relationships because of what people see on social media.

Trust me, I know. I am a blogger.

I have the video the girls posted.  I was going to include it on this post, but decided NOT to include it.

I want to have a different conversation, and that is the conversation of how we can all work together as an extended community wherever we live to strive towards ending this crap.  

We as the adults in the equation need to set a better example for the future generations. We live in a crazy volatile world, as well as a crazy politically volatile country.

We need to teach our children well.

We need to appreciate differences in other.

And from the Lord’s Prayer:

And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
 

I don’t know what else to say except, this whole situation saddens me. I feel like this country is spiraling out of control and it is reflected on every level of society and age group.

I am going to sign off now.  I have struggled with this post for hours.  I felt I had to write, but even now I wonder if in this situation are any words the right words?

Pax.

No automatic alt text available.

 

 

2 thoughts on “teenage consequences

  1. You know what is even more sad? Maybe they were just stoned stupid and rapping. Did you ever listen to rap? Some is incredibly creative, some of it is just crude. I didn’t see the video, regardless, I am so glad I didn’t grow up with social media, “he said she said” was brutal enough.

    Great thoughts, a really tough subject.

    >

  2. As a white person born in 1947, my mom always told me to be respectful of ALL. I hate the N word and any other negative comment directed at all races. I despise that many people could perceive me as a racist because I am white. None of us can help where we came from. We are all God’s children created to spread love in the world…part of His Devine plan. When we disrespect races, we disrespect the creator . Humans make me sad…they disrespect, kill, rob, violate. We are wiping out entire forests, the oceans, and animal species, but that’s fine. What can one little insult do, or a thrown plastic bottle on the roadside or in the ocean? Don’t even get me started on land developers. What ever happened to love, forgiveness, and accountability? And now people want to inhabit Mars? So maybe living on earth is just a dress rehearsal. Let’s see if we can mess up another planet!

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