Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More on The Student Field Trip Gone Wrong

The school motto for Scales Elementary? It's Always About The Children!

This story of school faculty faking a gun attack on 6th grade students is being widely reported and late yesterday the school announced the suspension without pay of two faculty members, who are suspended for a few weeks until the end of this school year.

From accounts I've been reading, the "prank" is a regular feature of these student trips. It's worth noting these days that any "prank" committed by students is likely to lead to disciplinary actions, so the faculty cited at Scales should not be surprising.

And while the event is being called a 'fake gun attack' or a 'common hazing' on students, it reminds me of the frat I joined in college. I was reluctant to join any frat, but what sold me was the fact that Lambda Chi Alpha outlawed hazing at their chapters in the mid-1970s. Hazing is meant to do just one thing - humiliate new members. And there was no way I was going to volunteer to be treated like crap in order to join any organization. It's mindless and pointless and wildly dangerous - and the average behavior at any frat can turn crazy-dangerous anyway, so why create a chance for even more danger?

Perhaps parents nationwide should just be grateful that 'gun attack drills' aren't a common part of the school year, though I won't be surprised when that does become common. Parents perhaps would be better served if school faculties were given some sort of disaster prep training - but given that most schools already have security teams working, then it's those security forces which need proper training.

I find it rather astonishing that someone from Scales attending the week-long trip did not stand up and say to the planners of the fake attack that is was a bone-dumb and dangerous idea. Doesn't the state mandate anti-bullying codes and procedures? Did the faculty at Scales feel they were above reproach?

I'd bet most students past the 3rd or 4th grade would tell you they endure copious amounts of discomfort and challenges from their peers and their daily experiences in the system. Much of those types of events certainly inform students that you have to be tough on the outside, be able to walk away from some hateful times and learn to cope with stupid and mindless rituals.

Aunt B pegged it very well with her response to Kleinheider's claim that this event was good, manly behavior by the now-suspended school faculty:

It’s not good clean manly fun to take a bunch of eleven year old kids into the forest and pretend like, no matter how briefly, you’re going to kill them".


  1. Yet another good take on it all, Joe.

    One of the things that is really getting to me about this whole thing is the teachers' response that it was a "drill". Rachel @ Women's Health News initially pegged this right at Volunteer Voters and I totally agree - in all my years of being a student who was involved in many fire drills and tornado drills, and then in 25+ years of healthcare where I was involved in both those and disaster drills as well - never once were we not told, and usually days beforehand, that it was a drill, and normally what was expected.

    Taking that one step further, I read a response to this whole mess earlier today written by a military veteran (I'm sorry, I don't recall where) where he referred to the many attack-type drills he was involved in while in the military. He stated - once again just like before - they were never, ever told it was "not a drill".

    Well, of course they weren't. To not specify ahead of time that an "attack" was a "drill" could well have resulted in lives lost!

    So yeah, I'm pretty much thinking that if it's good enough for the military to do so, it should be good enough for a group of sixth graders. I just can't help but shake my head over it.

  2. Anonymous4:25 PM

    won't someone think of the children?