Look Inward to Thine Own

by jhwygirl

The Marion School, a grade school up near Kalispell Montana, with a student body of 89 kids no older than, say, 12, has some problems.

And so parents packed some School Board meeting room mad that the principal had taken the doors off the bathroom stalls (apparently both the boys and girls) because of excessive and persistent graffiti…

…and the need, according to Principal Justin Barnes, “…to follow through.”

Now, my purpose isn’t to argue with that logic. I’m certainly no expert on kids, nor an educator. What I ponder is the purpose of punishing the whole group of kids – in a school with 89 kids, all less than 12 years old.

I also wonder what the graffiti said. It appears from the story that the topic didn’t even come up. Clearly, it isn’t purple ponies and rainbow unicorns. Anyone think that isn’t important to this situation?

So we got some teachers that can’t collectively outsmart the kids in a less humiliating fashion….and a group of parents that would prefer to yell at the teachers about privacy issues.

Neither appear to notice that they got a budding group of intimidation artists that have more control over the school than their very own parents and teachers do of them. Nor do these people feel a need to identify these kids and get them the help they need.

Now, those comments might get me some flames…feel free. Despite my anti-social tendencies, I like kids and old people and they seem to like me. I don’t think the parents concerns about privacy are invalid…and I certainly recognize that vandalism is a problem (costly, at minimum.) When I read this story, I immediately felt sorry for those kids – even those budding criminals there – because no one, it appears, was looking at the cause. They were only looking a stopping some vandalism which was inconveniencing them.

Ignoring this stuff and just seeking punishment – especially napalm-style like they did and as young as those kids are – will only create much larger adult-size problems for the rest of society in the future. That I’m pretty sure of.

A hat tip to Andrea Lutz, reporter extraordinaire for Missoula’s KPAX CBS news station.

  1. Pancho

    This sort of irrational response to unwanted behavior quite frequently gets expressed in legislation.

    Needle exchanges have been proven to reduce the incidence of blood-borne diseases in populations using IV drugs. They also allow an opportunity for substance abuse treatment workers to outreach the addict population.

    Former conservative Koch-funded congressman, Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), from the Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of Columbia repeatedly managed to stop Washington D.C. from using its own money to fund needle exchange programs. Tiahrt, whose 2003 Budget bill amendment stopped local police from tracing weapons used by criminals back to the dealers who originally sold them, was of course, a great proponent of “local control.”

    Just as are those Montana legislators who feel that municipalities should not be able to pass anti-discrimination ordinances that extend some protections to gay residents that affect other disadvantaged, disabled or otherwise discriminated against groups.

  2. Doug

    Marion is where Randy Weaver settled for a while, after Ruby Ridge.

    Just sayin’.

  3. This is just another case of an overwrought educator in an isolated area getting suckered into a test of wills with a handful of petty miscreants. I’m reminded of Herman Wouk’s obsessive skipper in the Caine Mutiny, Captain Queeg.

    What’s next? Missing strawberry ice cream in the lunchroom?

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