We Should Fill Out a Form.

The world is still upset by the results of last week’s election. Earlier this week, there were protests against our new President Elect. At least one of these protests happened at a local high school, where so many kids walked out of school to protest that the police had to close down the streets nearby.

While I am interested in the protests because it means that we, as a country, are able to stand up for what we believe, I remember only too well my own high school protest “walk-out” – which, looking back, seems rather pointless. I like the whole “safety pin” approach.

I am one for peace.

Unfortunately, today was a bad day in our area. Some “peaceful” Trump protesters – high school kids – didn’t understand the concept. Today they saw a 15-year-old boy wearing a Trump hat, so they jumped him and beat the heck out of him. They were lucky: the Trump supporter is going to be okay.

As I see it, this is humanity at its absolute lowest, and it makes me want to endlessly wretch. The kid wasn’t even old enough to vote! And to do this in the name of … Love?

Then I got an email from Dylan’s principal – from a high school where there had not been any protests. Or so I thought:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

As your principal, I am committed to providing each of our students with a safe and welcoming learning environment. 

As of this afternoon, there have not been any organized protests involving our students on or off campus during school hours.  It has been a regular school day.  I am aware that a very small number of students left campus today but they did not protest at or near our school.  Some returned before the end of the day to return to class.  We are following up with the students and parents appropriately.  I am working closely with central office, other high school principals and the police to monitor and continue to ensure a safe educational environment for all Rockville High School students.     

To help us ensure that our school remains safe and welcoming for all, we are asking for help from students.  If your child sees or hears about vandalism, offensive messages, or other forms of harassment, they should immediately report the incident to my office. 

Additionally, if your child believes they are a victim of bullying, harassment, or intimidation of any kind, they should report the incident or incidents to a trusted staff member and to you as the parent/guardian, and a staff member can help them complete and submit the Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation Reporting Form.  [We] will not tolerate hate-based speech or behavior in our school communities.

I noticed that this email, rather than providing reassurance, actually gave me cause for concern. It wasn’t the kids walking out of school, or the possibility of vandalism that worried me. It was that the entire support system – which “will not tolerate hate” – gives us only one option to deal with offending behaviors.

We should fill out a form.

If we have any real issues – if something happens that is life-threatening – we are supposed to fill out the Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form.

Then what happens? I mean, really? How on earth is this going to help?

I realize they are trying hard. And to be honest, I can’t think of anything better to solve the problems of bullying, harassment or intimidation.

But I find it sad that still, in this day and age, we are still only able to report the incident, and hope something changes.

God, I hope something changes.


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