A few weeks ago, there was a party in Portsmouth that resulted in the arrest of a that allegedly provided alcohol for said party.
The reason? involving local high school students.
Over the next couple of days, the fact that students were suspended from extra curricular activities was published online and in the local newspaper.
We don't live in a population of 1.5 million. We live in a 59-sq.-ft. radius encompassing a little over 17,000 people. We all know who the kids are.
When we, as members of the community, allow for the fact that students were suspended to be published outside of the school, we do a disservice to these teens.
At a time when we are bemoaning that our children are overexposed via the Internet, reality shows and Smart Phones, we ourselves are thrusting them into an adult situation.
What they did was wrong, the drinking age was established for a reason, and I am firmly against underage drinking because I am a parent.
We are all well aware that accusations that make front page news have a follow up on the lower corner on the back page weeks later and no one remembers that. Thrusting these children into the limelight does them a disservice.
Now, not only are they battling a reputation within the walls of the school community, which is overwhelming in itself, but battling the butcher and baker that has the first half of the story and none of the follow up.
It wasn't just that party. If you read any daily paper, you see the underage activity in all our local communities: Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth and Tiverton. Underage kids that have done numerous things, theft, fighting, underage drinking.
And yes, it's scary.
And yes, it's wrong.
And it is every parent's hope that our children aren't involved in any of it. That may be a bit unrealistic. And, if they are involved, isn't it our responsibility to help these children learn? As a school district, a local community and as parents.
Or, do we just throw it online and in the local paper and give up? To me, it seems to me that what is handled in school should be addressed to those effected and a “No comment” given to local new agencies.
This isn't an issue of not informing the public. It's about protecting the children and their ability to rebound from bad choices. They are not adults and should clearly not be treated as such.
I am not saying there shouldn't be repercussions or consequences. Clearly, there should be and clearly there are. In our house, a missed game hurts more than five days suspension.
I wonder how many other kids have been suspended in the last few weeks and why? After all, if we are going to begin addressing the in-school discipline in the local online sites or local paper, shouldn't we address them all and not just the few?
I know I will get numerous comments about how the local community should be informed of all activity at the locals schools. If that's the position, then fine, let's be informed of ALL ACTIVITY.
And some will rage, “She/He did it! Too bad she/he will just have to deal with it. We shouldn't treat these kids so softly."
But we buy “Participant” trophies for activities to help with self-esteem.
Again, in NO WAY do I condone any of these activities by ANYONE regardless of age. I am strongly opposed to any school department or local media outlet publishing any disciplinary action taken against any UNDERAGE child.
The size of our community does not allow for any type of confidentiality and lays the groundwork for a 30-year-old adult to be remembered for by the action of a child.