I was listening to KCBS at work the other day when they reported that a group of Brentwood's Heritage High students were being punished for vandalizing their campus for a Senior prank. The punishment included suspension, not walking for graduation, and not being allowed to take their final exams.
What struck me about the report was word that at least one parent was planning on taking the school to court for "excessive punishment" and that others were outraged with the district's response to the situation. According to the Contra Costa Times, parents said that the "punishment is far too harsh and that [the school] is not considering that some families already have relatives traveling to the area for graduation".
That's funny, because clearly these kids didn't care enough about their "relatives traveling to the area" to not splatter paint and tether animals to school property and avoid potential repercussions for vandalism.
I just don't understand the parents. The kids did something stupid, which is par for the course for most teens as making mistakes is part of growing up, but mistakes need to have consequences attached to them. Particularly when the mistake in question is vandalizing a public school.
The principal of the school says that "the gravity and extent of [the incident] goes beyond just some little pranks and leaving a footprint. It was excessive." Which is what the parents should be telling their kids. Instead, there's a battalion of enablers vehemently bombarding the school with outrage that their kids might not graduate. Exactly whose problem is that, other than the people who decided to vandalize the school?
If the punishment was excessive in any way, I would say that the kids should be able to take their finals. Flagrant vandalism not withstanding, being unable to graduate is something that will haunt these kids into adulthood. Regardless, given how self-righteous and grandstanding these students' parents are acting, perhaps it'll be worth it to teach them some humility in the long run.