Like most people, I was angered by the video footage of the “powder puff” football game at Glenbrook North High School in Illinois and the violent, degrading actions some girls inflicted on others as part of a hazing event. The aftermath proved to be as revolting as the garbage initially thrown on the junior girls.
On Monday, school officials offered a deal to the 31 students who had been expelled. Under the deal, the students would be allowed to graduate instead of being flunked outright. The students would still be expelled, but their grades would not be affected. They would also be required to undergo counseling and perform community service, but the only other conditions are that the students cannot contest the expulsions or sign book or movie deals.
This sounds pretty good. Being allowed to graduate on schedule when they would have otherwise failed is pretty generous. The offer was announced at the hearing of Marnie Holz, a girl who is suing to overturn her expulsion. Holz’s lawyer, Larry Kaplan, said his client would not sign the deal “as a matter of principle.”
How big of a brat can you be, Marnie? Where were your principles when you were smearing paint on junior girls while they were sitting there with their heads down? According to an Associated Press article, Kaplan further explained, “We believe the school exceeded its clear authority. We believe Marnie was punished for conduct which the school has accepted and tolerated for 23 years.” Because tolerance of this behavior clearly makes it right.
Kaplan says that the expulsion would cause “irreparable harm.” What about the harm suffered by the victims? Didn’t one girl suffer a broken ankle? Not to mention that humiliation in front of a large group can also cause irreparable harm.
The school has a responsibility to protect its students. In this case, the school was presented with a tape of students abusing other students and had a clear responsibility to punish those responsible. This falls well within the school’s authority.
Steven Decker, an attorney for two other suspended girls, says his clients will probably turn the deal down. According to him, the school is “just trying to save face.”
Maybe his clients should try that. Take the deal, try to put this behind them and finally get their names out of the news.
Holz and the other students who are suing to get reinstated are making themselves look bad. They were caught on tape mistreating fellow students and are crying foul because they are being punished for it. I’m amazed (but probably shouldn’t be) their parents are letting them challenge their punishment. I’m confident my parents would have balked at suing to get me reinstated if I was in a situation like this. Especially if what I did was broadcast around the country.
Overall, it is really disappointing how the community has handled the situation. The parents are obstructing the investigation by refusing to say who bought the alcohol that was served to the under age revelers. Meanwhile, the entire city is suffering from the negative coverage. You’d think the people there would care.
If any of these people were really mature, they would simply accept their punishment and acknowledge that they did wrong. They wouldn’t complain that the behavior was accepted for years and they wouldn’t be hiring lawyers to challenge the school’s ability to punish.
The deal is good, bordering on being too generous. The real victims were the junior girls who were pelted with feces and paint, not the girls that did it to them.
Chris Rickets is a senior majoring in English. firstname.lastname@example.org