Notice: Undefined variable: xwq2ay in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xq9mar in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xb4jym in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xm0hy3 in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: x6ow0w in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xee5jr in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xa3p7h in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xinn34 in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: xbdf3c in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: x8y1da in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xn37zs in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xquipf in /services3/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4
Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Not My Kid » Not My Kid

Not My Kid

mfranti - March 31, 2011

There’s a story in the SL Tribune about an Alta High School student who wore a white hood -with eye holes- that looked [coincidentally] like a KKK hood.

And mommy is making excuses for him:

The Alta High mother said her son found a shortened, white pillowcase with eye holes sitting on the bleachers and donned it when his friends encouraged a “whiteout.” He didn’t make the mask or bring it to school. When he ran onto the gym floor raising his arms in the air, she said, he was taunting seniors — not making a “Heil, Hitler” salute.

What? He found it? It was just sitting there and he thought he’d put it on? Look, I know high school kids don’t think like adults, but this is just too much for me to believe. First, he should have learned about discrimination from his parents a long time ago (though I’ll admit that not every parent thinks to teach their kid about such issues). Second, I’m pretty sure kids learn the  reasons behind the Civil Rights movement in 7th grade (or thereabouts). He must have been out sick that week.

How does making excuses for a child in this kind of situation help them become better adults?  In my [very humble] opinion, the child has learned to, 1. make excuses for his mistakes,  2. that he’s not really responsible for his actions, and 3. Mommy will kiss it and make it better.

I swear with my hand to God that if my child ever did something like this, I’d let him/her suffer the pain of humiliation for such acts. This is  inexcusable behavior.

I’ve never made excuses for my kid. When she was in grade school, she did something as part of a group of girls to a rival group of boys. Her teacher’s punishment was to have her sit in the office during lunch (or something similar). I asked that she spend lunch indoors for a whole week. There was also hell to pay at home.  She never  caused trouble again. (really, it was a stupid prank and we can laugh about it now, but I didn’t want her to get the idea that it’s OK to act like that again)

Now the boy’s mother hopes to be a “catalyst for conversations”  with other kids who just don’t know about the  long history with racism in this country. Apparently, she didn’t think to have those lessons with her child before he entered high school (see above).

She also says,  ” We’re hoping he has learned from this. The single most important thing is that he has learned a very, very important lesson, and those around him have learned it, too.” Yeah, this kind of negative attention is bad for a teenager’s popularity.

I understand the family’s reputation is at stake. But I honestly believe the right thing to do is instruct the child to sincerly apologize for his actions [edit: at the end of the article it says the boy apologized at an assembly. Good. But it doesn't change my opinion that his mother shouldn't make excuses for his behavior]. Even if this was a silly misunderstanding, the family’s reputation would fare better if they acted with a little more humility.

/rant

This opinion is mine and mine alone. :)

60 Comments »

  1. I can’t stand parents who rescue their children. Don’t they understand they’re only handicapping them? Don’t they understand that their job is to teach their children that all actions have consequences. Mommy can’t rescue him the rest of his life.

    Comment by Risa — March 31, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  2. I beg to differ. This is NOT your opinion and yours alone — I claim it, too. And I’m grateful that my parents acted like you did when I pulled something dumb in high school (not this dumb, mind you, but dumb).

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 31, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  3. This opinion is mine and mine alone

    That I can agree with.

    When I was a teenager, if I found a mask and my friends. I would have totally put it on and done the same thing. I would have never have associated it with racism, sexism, etc. etc. True Story: I once lit a lighter and waved it over my head in the middle of Mass. A teacher caught me. A different teacher busted me during the same Mass throwing Paper airplanes. When the two got together finally, man was I in deep crap. The end result though was that the Principle of the School and I sat down and had a chat where he basically told me he was afraid of my mother, and I was free to go.

    Because my mother was loyal to me, I was more willing to talk to her about the troubles I was facing, and I was more willing to listen to what she had to say. ie- I felt safe.

    I am not saying my Mom’s way of doing things is the only way, or even the best way, but then, I’d never post a post just flat out yelling at some poor mom in Utah either.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 31, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  4. I should add that my mother never even knew about the airplane/lighter incident. She would have been mortified and probably would have given me a good yelling at.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 31, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  5. It’s not fair game if it’s in the paper? Since when?

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  6. Matt W.: There’s a slight difference between goofing off during mass (who hasn’t?) and donning a racially insensitive costume and making a Heil, Hitler gesture. Every article about this incident has been riddled with pseudo-excuses and claims that Alta is not racist so we should just let it go. That’s easy to say if you’re white in Utah. And this white student’s inability to predict the negative reaction his non-white classmates would have is laughable. Almost as laughable as his mom’s BS explanation and the administration’s attempt to handle the situation. They all stink of a community that won’t own up to its own challenges and they are covering for a student in the meantime.

    Comment by Eris — March 31, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  7. You have two issues here and they can not be separated with out facts that you do not have.Issue one is parenting,good parents stand up for their kids when their kids are in the right and they teach their kids values.The kids story sounds dumb,but teens are most likely the dumbest animal on the face of the earth. If the kid is a racist then he learned it at home and we can expect mom to stand up for him.If the kid has done something dumb then mom stands up for him in public and punishes him in private.Our job is to raise great humans and to instill trust between us and them.I often failed at this task and one of my kids left home to live with a non member family,while their teen came to live with us.In both cases the kids felt the parent was not hearing them.Oh ,issue two is that you can expect teens to act like teens!!

    Comment by marv thompson — March 31, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  8. [T]he family’s reputation would fare better if they acted with a little more humility.

    Something I’m sure they will learn from this post.

    Comment by Kari — March 31, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  9. Marv, I see your point, but like I said in the OP, the kid should have sincerely apologized for it and moved on. His mom’s lame excuses for his actions only make things worse (imo)

    I don’t think I believe that good parents publicly defend/privately punish.

    ok, so teens are gonna act like teens. And boys will be boys. And we should just laugh it off.

    Does that seem like the right attitude (for society) to have? I don’t think so.

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  10. Kari, what’s your point?

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  11. Teenagers, by definition, lack the ability when in the moment to rationally consider consequences. Teenagers, in most every species, are beyond stupid.
    Hopefully, they won’t manage to kill themselves or someone else, or burn down the forest, before their brain finishes rewiring all those synaptic connections.

    Parents or schools believing stupidity is acceptable behavior is another matter.

    Comment by SNeilsen — March 31, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  12. Because I don’t care enough to argue, I guess my biggest quibble here is that I see that this boy donned a white pillow case and ran out and made a gesture, which I have not seen photographic evidence looked like “heil hitler”. My response is so what? I’m from Indiana. The real KKK is still out there. When I was in high school, they were burning crosses on a man’s yard who lived down the street from me. When the real thing is still out there, I’m not going to waste effort worrying about some dumb kid with a pillow case. Why would we immediately think a kid in a white hood is a racist? How on earth does a pillow case look like the coned head dress of the KKK. It sounds more to me like stupid Utah has no actual exposure to the real KKK and doesn’t know what the crap they are talking about.

    Running out on a basketball court with a pillow case on your head is about as insensitve as chastising a child (and his mother) for being a racist in a public newspaper.

    And the boy did sincerely apologize. Why do you say his apology wasn’t sincere?

    Comment by Matt W. — March 31, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  13. And furthermore, it used to be completely legal for a man to beat his wife within an inch of her life, so I don’t get the uproar these days about spousal abuse. It used to be so much worse, now we’re just overreacting about everything.

    And it used to be okay to peform ethnic cleansing as a nation. Go around rounding up different races and committing genocide. These days people get upset over a little murder. Its ridiculous. There are genocides occuring in the Sudan, why do we care if a man kills another man?

    Don’t get me started on rape. So a guy takes advantage forcefully of another girl. Big deal. There are human-trafficking sex-slave operations in Cambodia. I feel its a little hard to get worked up over a small thing like rape when these organizations exist. Give me a friggin’ break.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 31, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  14. In reality, I could see this happening in any high school anywhere in the USA – because yes, good training or not, teens are stupid.

    That is precisely why the kid should feel the brunt of the consequences to his actions. To help him learn to not be stupid.

    Parents making excuses for their children is never useful. Even if everything she said is true, the kid still comes off thinking ‘yeah, what I did wasn’t THAT bad.’ Instead of thinking ‘Whoa, if I do something stupid, its going to hurt. I won’t do stupid things.’

    Comment by B.Russ — March 31, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  15. My point is that your post is nothing other than self-righteous posturing. The article is interesting, and certainly raises issues about raising teenagers and teenage behavior. But rather than use the article as a jumping off point to discuss those issues, you’ve chosen the bully pulpit of “look how bad these parents are doing compared to how I raised my daughter.”

    Comment by Kari — March 31, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  16. My biggest beef here, is who are we to judge if these are excuses. What, in fact, if the woman is telling the exact truth.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 31, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  17. Oh, and Mfranti, thanks for posting this. I really am glad you are passionate about this, and are bringing it up, even if I totally disagree.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 31, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  18. There is something else worth considering here.

    It has been a while since I lived in Sandy, but I’m guessing that the student body of Alta High is probably 75% LDS. To put it bluntly, LDS people simply have no margin for error when it comes to racial insensitivity. For this reason, the community is correct in publicly condemning this behavior, regardless of whether the mother’s actions constitute good parenting or not.

    Comment by Mark Brown — March 31, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  19. I agree with Mark Brown in comment #18.

    Comment by Dan — March 31, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  20. I graduated from this high school. And I’m pretty sure the demographics haven’t changed all that much. I think there were two black males in the entire school. To me this is an indication of the lack of education in the Intermountain West in regard to Black civil rights in general. Utah was the last state to recognize MLK Day by name, in 2000 renaming its Human Rights Day state holiday. Oh, and remember this jewel? http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700010172/Utah-Legislature-Utah-to-get-gun-holiday-on-MLK-day.html

    When the elected officials of a state lead by this kind of example, what does it say about official institutions stance on race relations?

    I am not surprised that the kids that grew up in the same Sandy neighborhoods are still ignorant, insensitive and doing dumb stunts like this. Folks there liked to tell me they weren’t racist. I would remind people that there are different kinds of racism.

    Where I went to college, in the South, there is the kind of racism where folks will call a black man the N-word to his face.

    In Utah, folks don’t associate or know people of color in any kind of abundance, and therefore have crazy ideas and are allowed to have them, and hold them securely because they are surrounded with an abundance of other white folks who have the same weird assumptions about black people.

    Comment by DKCoopS — March 31, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  21. “Alta High is probably 75% LDS. To put it bluntly, LDS people simply have no margin for error when it comes to racial insensitivity. For this reason, the community is correct in publicly condemning this behavior, regardless of whether the mother’s actions constitute good parenting or not.”

    I deliberately stayed away from demographics and religious likelihood in the area, but it was on my mind.

    Kari, bully pulpit? OK.

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  22. Here’s the blog post of the kid that filed the complaint.

    skim the comments…

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  23. The original kid may or may not have been doing something racist. It was certainly insensitive and I agree he should have felt the consequences for the insensitive behavior. I think the week of suspension was probably a fair consequence, though I’d be all for assigning a paper to be completed in that time that detailed the history and effects of white/KKK intimidation against blacks.

    The other kids who’ve commented on Larz Cosby’s blog leave no room to question their attitudes–there are a bunch of blatantly racist statements. It’s appalling.

    Comment by kristine N — March 31, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  24. 22 – Those comments made me feel like quoting a line from an Adam Sandler movie. “We are all now dumber, for hearing what you just said.” Man, a ton of kids are growing up dumb.

    Comment by Jacob M — March 31, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  25. Mfranti, read your link. I was wrong. If a youth wore a white pillow case knowingly to represent the KKK because the seniors chose to wear black clothing, that was definitely in poor taste. I am sorry.

    Comment by Matt W — March 31, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  26. It is my belief, that despite being however you are as a parents, adolescents will without thought engage in behavior that their friends and the surrounding culture encourage.

    And that humiliation, despite how pleasurable to inflict, will not bring about desirable behavior and may bring further detrimental behavior.

    My best guess is that children will become better adults by gaining interpersonal communication skills and learning not to just destigmatize the other, but by gaining appreciation.

    Comment by SNeilsen — March 31, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  27. 22 – Wow . . . . just wow.

    I’m reminded of how much I hate high schoolers.

    Comment by B.Russ — March 31, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  28. Let’s recap: as I understand it, the kid put on a poorly-made color-themed mask and ran into the middle of a field to taunt his rivals during a school competition.

    What exactly did he do wrong?

    I’m all for personal responsibility, but is it truly reasonable to expect a teenage kid for whom the KKK was literally half a country and two lifetimes ago to make a connection between a found costume and possible racist overtones? I’m not sure he even did anything wrong.

    Comment by Heidi — March 31, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  29. Teaching I am better then he is an art,and Mormons are just as good at it as any other group of people. You are walking down a street and you see a bunch of Mexican kids with red red hats and lowered pants and you take your kids by the hand and walk away from these kids. You just taught a lesson and if you do not sit down and explain to your kids why you have fears then the lesson will be set in granite.The ones we seem to talk down the most are mainline Christians,in my 68 years I have seen members in every ward that I have been in ,say something mean about other Christians.We justify this because Mormons have been treated poorly for 180 years.You eat an elephant one spoon full at a time and and you erase hate from you family and your ward one child or person at a time.

    Comment by marv thompson — March 31, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  30. Suzanne, I agree with many of your comments.

    How do kids get those interpersonal communication skills? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say from the parents.

    Heidi, I suspect that if this kid didn’t do *anything* wrong, he wouldn’t have been punished by the school.

    I guess this is all a matter of degree. If he had bullied someone, and his mom defended his behavior, we wouldn’t mind calling her a boner.

    As far as I know if I do something stupid/wrong/against the law, even if I’m unaware of my transgression, I’m still subject to ridicule/correction/punishment.

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  31. 1. Teens do and say dumb things. (if you need any evidence, read the comments on the Alta kid’s blog above, thanks, mfranti): http://larzcosby.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/alta_high_school_kkk/

    2. Parents don’t help by excusing the behavior (IMO)

    3. Utah still has a racism – and denial problem (if you need any evidence, read the links in no. 1 above – or some of the comments here)

    Comment by Grant — March 31, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  32. Heidi, there is no way in our modern culture that a high school student doesn’t know what message a white hoodie conveys.

    I’m forgetting if it was the Simpsons or South Park which has one of the characters dress as a “ghost” for Halloween, only every single other character thinks he is part of the KKK. I’m inclined to think South Park, as it is much more edgy than Simpsons ever was.

    Comment by Jacob M — March 31, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  33. #22 reminds me one of the many reasons why I hated high school.

    Comment by jjohnsen — March 31, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  34. Jeremy, I think the only people that like HS are the popular kids.

    I was the fat girl that had really horrible clothes. I HATED HS and it hated me.

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  35. mfranti you are right on here. That blog is a horrifying example of what can happen in Utah and we should all be ashamed that there are people with those attitudes.

    Clearly, there is a huge disconnect here between what the mom thinks her kid did, and what the blogger is reporting that he did. The two are ligh-years apart.

    Heidi, if you don’t think the kid did anything wrong, you haven’t read the blog, or you are just as ignorant as he clearly is.

    This kind of behavior is bullying. It’s not a physical punch in the face but it’s almost as bad and the effects can be worse.

    Comment by MCQ — March 31, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  36. I loved high school but I later came to recognize that I grew up in a very protected environment. There was only one black kid in our entire school. He played on our ward basketball team and we called him “Big Al” because he was about 6’5″, 280lbs. He helped us win the stake championship, but none of us even knew him or hung out with him at all.

    Kids are ignorant because they don’t know any better, but we don’t do them any favors by excusing their ignorance. This could have been a great teaching moment for the mother of this kid, but she’s obviously not using it that way, and other kids are taking their cues from her. Very sad.

    Comment by MCQ — March 31, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  37. It’s a complicated issue.

    Multiple surveys show that today’s kids are less racist than any other group in history. Racism really has declined significantly in the past few decades. A little over 40 years ago, some states still had laws on the books that made interracial marriage a crime, punishable by prison sentence. Nowadays, that is just inconceivable to many kids.

    At the same time, a weird backlash of public pseudo-racism has arisen. Of course, there are real racists who still exist. But there is also a torrent of pseudo-racism from teenager brats who want attention. It’s the equivalent of the kids who used to yell cuss words loudly, just to show how edgy they were. One effect of the strong anti-racist norm in today’s society is that racist remarks can seem edgy or daring, especially to young kids.

    In calling it pseudo-racism, I don’t mean to excuse this or to say that it’s hamrless. It is absolutely still a problem. It connects to a variety of problematic factors. It demonstrates white privilege; it reinforces unconscious racism; and it is certainly perceived by many non-whites as an attack. It’s meant to be perceived that way. But I am saying that it’s not the same as Nathan Bedford Forrest, true-believer racism.

    Based on the story and those blog comments (yuck), it seems much more likely that this was a snot-nosed kid trying to get attention, rather than someone intending to promote a KKK-based racial agenda in society.

    Comment by Kaimi — March 31, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  38. If we stick to answering the question of whether it is a good idea for parents to make excuses for their kids, I have to say ‘no way’. Just a really big pet peeve of mine. You can be on your child’s side, and still not make excuses for them. Letting children learn by natural consequences me

    Comment by IdahoG-ma — March 31, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  39. oops. Posted before I was done.

    means not making any excuses or interfering beyond a child’s safety.

    The racism is another pet peeve of mine, but it is unlikely I can be nice about it so I’ll just leave it be.

    Comment by IdahoG-ma — March 31, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  40. Thank you Kaimi (#37) for ratcheting down my alarm and disgust from reading 1/8 of the comments on Larz Crosby’s blog. (Who could possibly read them all?) Instead of seeing them as raging violent skinhead thugs piling on to enforce their version of “race relations” I can see them as snot-nosed brats who no longer have adult supervision as their control, but haven’t yet figured out how to behave. I’m glad someone–the school, public opinion at large, anyone, as many of us as possible–is there to bring the hammer down on this behavior, so that as few of those little thugs as possible grow up to become the real deal. Too bad the original perp’s mom isn’t among the hammer-wielding group.

    P.S. I like your style here, mfranti.

    Comment by Mommie Dearest — March 31, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  41. “it seems much more likely that this was a snot-nosed kid trying to get attention, rather than someone intending to promote a KKK-based racial agenda in society.”

    I agree 100%

    I never for a second thought the kid was a racist. Just a selfish dick that wanted attention.

    MD, thanks! I didn’t realize my style was different. :)

    Comment by mfranti — March 31, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  42. Exactly, Mel. Which is what makes responding to this particularly tricky.

    I’m all for combating real racism. But this isn’t a real KKK meeting. It’s stupid kids putting on the trappings. It’s pretend racism, for the shock value. And so you can’t give it the same response you’d give a real KKK meeting, cause that’s exactly what the kid wants — attention. (It’s akin to DKL making comments that call people “chick” or “homo.” He’s just bored and trying to stir the pot and get a reaction.)

    And how do you respond to that? The more you respond, the more you give the kid exactly what he wants.

    Comment by Kaimi — March 31, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

  43. “Just a selfish dick that wanted attention.” Also known as a teenager.

    The trouble with throwing hammers against the snot-nosed is the hammer will get all slimy and mucousy.
    Power struggles reinforce bad behavior.
    However I do find cattle prods produce excellent voluntary compliance.
    When it comes to teenagers. I think the best that can be done is teach correct principles, try to get them not to harm themselves or others, and hope to hell their brain kicks in before too much damage is done.

    Comment by SNeilsen — March 31, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  44. Certainly there’s racism around; it just doesn’t sound like this particular kid had that intention. It may be naive of me, but I believe that the younger kids are, the less aware they are of possible racist connotations. I think that’s a good thing, as it seems to demonstrate progress.

    For example, last Halloween as I was dressing my five year-old, I suddenly wondered where all the sheet-with-holes ghost costumes had gone. I attributed it to the commercialization of Halloween which made parents think that they had to buy factory-made costumes and resolved that next year, we’d do the ghost-sheet classic.

    Had this event not occurred, I probably would have done it because the KKK allusion would not even have crossed my mind.

    Comment by Heidi — March 31, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  45. I’d like to add that I just read Crosby’s blog post. Until now, I’ve based my comments on the news articles. If Crosby is relating the events accurately (which means that the news outlets are not), then yes, it sounds like it was intended to at least imitate racism. I feel troubled because the accounts are widely disparate, and I’m not sure whether to believe the news accounts, which are supposed to be unbiased but were not there, or whether to believe Crosby, who was there, but obviously (as any human would) has his own personal interpretation of the events.

    Comment by Heidi — March 31, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  46. Kaimi–I agree that overall, kids are less and less racist BUT I am not sure that is equally applicable to kids who continue to live in homogeneous areas. Sure, your kids or mine who go to truly integrated schools and community functions and churches are less likely to perceive race as our grandparents did. But for kids who live in, for example, Sandy, and still live in a basically white environment, I am not sure they have made the same gains.

    All–what I can’t understand is why a student had to complain about this. Were no teachers or administrators around? Couldn’t they identify offensive behavior and act on it without forcing some kid to identify himself as the one who was going to be the wet blanket?

    Also, while I agree this is stunt racism rather than actual racial hatred, I am not sure that makes the event demonstrably better. It is still very very troubling.

    Since I teach middle school, I refrain from commenting on intervening and enabling parents–it is, IMO, the number one headache in schools. I wish I could talk Gutenburg into making a documentary about it rather than “bad” teachers.

    Comment by ESO — April 1, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  47. Mfranti — spot on. Mom ought to butt out and let the offending kid take his consequences. It could be the greatest gift she ever gave him. Even if he did not intend to offend, he did. And he needs to learn that lesson.

    BTW, the comments on the linked blog in #22 could have been written at any HS, not just one in Utah. And those kids didn’t learn those online commenting skills from their parents.

    Comment by Paul — April 1, 2011 @ 9:15 am

  48. I also can agree after many years of teaching, that rampant enabling and excuse-making from parents is a headache. Why do parents continue to believe their kid (who may have every reason to lie), over the adults who teach them (they have no agenda).

    Anyway, this was a troubling article and situation, but I have to say I’m more troubled by the comments left on Larz’s blog, especially knowing that this was a high school in Utah where many kids are LDS. The disgusting racist and homophobic remarks were sickening and frankly shocking to me.

    I may be out of touch — I haven’t lived in the USA for 20 years, but come on! When did it get this bad? I honestly can tell you that in the other countries I’ve been in, it just isn’t this level of filthiness. It breaks my heart and it makes me not want to come back. We have plans for my sixth grade daughter to move back to the States when she turns 15 to go to high school there, but now I’m scared. If you can’t trust kids from Utah to be good, who can you trust?

    Comment by meems — April 1, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  49. Utah’s no different from anywhere else, really. There are good and bad kids. I like to think there are more good kids to balance out the bad, but I don’t really know. I love the kids in my ward and that are my kids’ friends, so I know there are some great kids around here, but I think you can find bad anywhere.

    Comment by MCQ — April 1, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  50. There are many, many high schools in Utah. Just like there are many, many high schools in other states.
    My friend has a daughter going to a Utah high school with a graduation rate of only 50%.
    I have been in a Utah middle school where I was the ONLY blonde in the room.
    So, it is silly to assume that all schools are the same. Sure, you might find some common themes….(I’m sure you can find kids who comment online with horrible language in every high school in the country).
    If you send your daughter to high school, make sure that she has someone she can really talk to about the culture shock and the stupid teenage stuff she sees. With a big move, she will need to be able to process things and keep things in perspective.

    Comment by jks — April 1, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

  51. Thanks. Good advice!

    Comment by meems — April 2, 2011 @ 5:50 am

  52. I am not worried about my grand kids or Glenn Becks kids,they are being home schooled .At age 7 my grand daughter knew all the states and half the capitols ,and she knew 2/3 of the presidents.Todays public schools teach at a snails pace and they teach to test,rather then explore children’s interest and capabilities.

    Comment by marv thompson — April 2, 2011 @ 7:07 am

  53. This only goes to show what an antique I am. If this had happened in a Salt Lake school in the 70′s, it never would had made the papers. The worst thing that would have happened was the coach in charge of the assembly would’ve given the kid a “fresh one” on the side of the head, called him an idiot and sent him away. Way I see it, the kid wasn’t an incubating David Duke, he was just a moron. The mother was also a moron for making such bonehead excuses. She should have either kept her mouth shut or said something like, “I apologize for my son’s offensive behavior. That isn’t how we raised him. Believe me, he’s going to have a long discussion with his father tonight.”

    When I was a teen, my dad had a friend that was an ex-SS officer who snuck into the US after the war, and quietly melted into the tapestry. One Halloween he lent me some of his medals– an Iron Cross, an eagle-over-swastika insignia and a marksmanship medal– which I pinned on Dad’s army shirt and wore while trick-or-treating. Yeah, I got a lot of cross-eyed looks. A couple of the men, though, actually gushed over how cool they were. The point is, yes, it was an extremely stupid thing to do (for which my insensitive father was also complicit). But I wasn’t raised in a Jew-hating, Hun-loving home. I just thought the Nazi uniforms were kinda cool.

    I live in Southern California now, and the reasons kids call each other “racist” at my daughter’s school are laughable. Here’s an actual example:

    Kid: Have you seen Brittani?
    Daughter: Which one? The white one or the black one?
    Kid: Ooooh! You’re so RACIST!!

    I know, mfranti, that the point of your entry was the mother’s own pathetic response to her son’s behavior, and I agree. The story just also struck me about how we make such huge “60 Minutes”-worthy moments of incidents that are nothing more than stupid being stupid.

    Comment by David T. — April 3, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  54. It’s marvelous to see judgmental the bloggernacle can be about a situation about which very little is known. Remember that, MFranti, the next time you find out someone is belittling the mistakes that you make as a parent. And when you complain about how they don’t know your situation and your child, you can take pleasure in the fact that outsiders always know best…

    Comment by psychochemiker — May 5, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  55. It’s marvelous to see that that psychochemiker can bitch and whine about pretty every post on the bloggernacle.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 5, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  56. Chris,

    actually it’s not that marvelous. It’s actually fairly predictable, isn’t it?

    Comment by Dan — May 5, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  57. Remember that, MFranti, the next time you find out someone is belittling the mistakes that you make as a parent. And when you complain about how they don’t know your situation and your child, you can take pleasure in the fact that outsiders always know best…

    Got your knickers on a little to tight, eh?

    psycho,

    1. It’s in the newspaper so it’s fair game.
    2. Some things are just dumb and this was dumb. For the parent and the student.

    …And at least I have the cojones (Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!!!) to use my real name.

    That is all.

    Comment by mfranti — May 5, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  58. mfranti is a fairly unique name.

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 5, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  59. john, everyone knows me.

    Comment by melanie franti — May 5, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  60. Perhaps, but no one doesn’t.

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 5, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI