BREAKING NEWS FRIDAY NIGHT - Seven Sayreville HS football players arrested in connection with hazing assaults. (This underscores my point: Why couldn't actual accountability, targeted at those suspected of being primarily and perhaps criminally responsible, have been chosen instead of the broad brush of punishing the majority of innocent kids?)
Before you continue, understand that in no way am I condoning or minimizing the hazards of bullying (or anything worse and far beyond "bullying," which is what Wednesday's reports are starting to suggest, and which further reports out Friday really emphasize the potential criminal nature of some forcible assaults which go beyond "bullying" or even "hazing"). Read this column carefully. My criticisms of the school administrators should never be taken as an endorsement of the behavior they claim to be attacking. I do question the stated motives that are being voiced and wonder whether the haste in cancelling the football season might have been done to hasten an end to any investigation.
In short, I am asking: What are you doing with that shovel? Are you digging for the truth? Or trying to bury something?
But has anyone thought about the initial -- real -- victims?
Has anyone thought about this: The kids, those who were bullied (and hopefully not worse), may be blamed or scapegoated for the season's cancellation. The blame-the-victim syndrome occurs in many contexts in life; why not here?
The unmistakable result is that holding someone accountable, even if it is the innocent, is a necessary price to pay. The reality is that adults either too incompetent or too lazy -- yet having no problem cashing their public-employee checks paid by taxpayers of the same town of Sayreville, NJ -- to use elbow grease to try to do the dirty work of figuring out who is really guilty, cannot be bothered to get it right.
The result is to take the easy way out. Instead of working hard, it's easier to just cancel the season.
It's as if someone were in a hurry to do that, to cancel the season, in order to "call off the dogs," to get the investigation stopped by being able to claim that a remedial action was taken, that the guilty have been punished, so there's "nothing to see here, just move along."
Yes, I am wondering whether something is being hidden here, and cancelling the season might be a way to cover it up.