Over a year ago five local kids participated in a prank that contained red-flag elements of overt racism (a watermelon was thrown at the home where a black classmate lived and a racial epithet was used). A year later, there has been a successful lawsuit brought by the parents of one of the students (“Student Doe”) to remove any mention of the incident from the high school record and so promote a blemish-free candidate for college admissions.
While the suspension and the “blot” on Student Doe’s records were not enacted to the letter of the LBUSD mission statement, is it not stunning to think that parents have taken the district to court and incurred $75,000 in legal fees over this incident? Fees they now expect to be reimbursed?
To what absurd lengths will parents go to insure that their children have spotless resumes for college admissions? And what does this teach the children? That with deep enough pockets and deadly efficient legal defense mountains can be moved and no trace of any mistakes be in evidence? In this entire fandango the responsibility for the initial “mischief” is minimized, if not outright dismissed. Where are personal responsibility and the mature acceptance of consequences for one’s actions?
This is disheartening to witness in our community. It contains the same elements of high-stakes stress and competition that just two weeks ago led a local Corona del Mar 16-year-old to take his own life. The message is toxic: do whatever it takes to win, achieve that stellar GPA, start a charitable club (with parents’ help), get into that top school … The truth is distorted in service of this feverish ambition and the kids know it’s a sham. Is this what we want?
Kate Rogers, Laguna Beach