Here’s a stupid idea that just keeps popping back up, this time at Brodhead High School in Brodhead, Wisconsin:
A small Wisconsin community is dealing with controversy over a lesson to teach students about the dangers of distracted driving.
During Monday morning announcements, the school told students four of their classmates had been killed in a crash involving texting and driving.
However, the students were not dead and an announcement about 10 minutes later explained the lesson.
I’m pretty sure students didn’t need an explanation to understand the actual lesson of this exercise: Your school administrators are stupid assholes whom you should never trust again.
Yeah, the students get it:
“It wasn’t really effective. They were trying to teach using scare tactics which doesn’t teach, it just makes you not trust the teachers and any of the announcements you’re going to get,” Sam Bolen, another student, said.
I mean, just imagine what would happen if, a year from now, one of the students really was killed in a car accident. The school administrators would make the announcement, and half the student body would think it was another lie. For those close to the deceased, it would create false hopes that would eventually be crushed. And at a time when they should be dealing with their grief, they’d all be arguing over whether it was real. It would be pretty ugly.
“A lot of our friends and fellow students actually started crying because they actually thought these people were dead, and so I think a lot of them actually called their parents in school too,” Madison Trombley, a student at Brodhead High School, said.
It should be obvious that this is a terrible idea, shouldn’t it? You’ve got to know it’s going to cause a lot of emotional distress. And emotional well being is important at Brodhead High School, as we can learn by examining their student handbook, in the section on “Bullying and Harassing Behavior,” which runs to two full pages:
The School District of Brodhead is committed to providing a safe, secure, and respectful learning environment for all of its students. We encourage positive interpersonal relations between all members of the school community.
Such as lying to them that their friends are dead?
Bullying has harmful social, physical, psychological, and academic impacts on the victim, the bully, and the bystanders, and creates a disruption to the learning environment.
You know what else does all that? Lying to students that their friends are dead
Bullying is intentional, unprovoked, deliberate, and hostile behavior without legitimate purpose that is intended to inflict physical, emotional, or mental distress or suffering on another individual or group of individuals.
Mental distress…like making them think their friends are dead?
Bullying takes many forms, but may be represented by (but not limited to) the following examples:
– indirect actions like spreading rumors, intimidation through gestures, glaring or threatening facial expressions, extortion, or coercion.
You know, for a bunch of people that care so much about every aspect of student emotional health when it comes to bullying, they sure are a bunch of clueless fuckwits when it comes to the harm inflicted by their own ill-conceived attempts to Teach Students An Important Lesson.
I blogged about something similar that happened in 2008 in California, and I think that some of the suggestions I had for concerned parents might turn out to be applicable now:
Or maybe the parents of one of the students could keep him home the next day, and when the school calls, they could say that he hung himself in the garage last night, and that they don’t understand why because his therapy was going so well, so could anybody at the school think of something that might have upset him? The next day, he could return to school and explain that it was just a way to teach them an important lesson about honesty.
Or maybe a bunch of the families could get together to send the school a lot of official-looking paperwork claiming they were suing for $10 million dollars for intentional inflection of emotional distress. Then the next day they could explain it was all a hoax to teach them an important lesson about thinking before they do things like this.
Then the day after that, they could sue the school for $10 million dollars for intentional inflection of emotional distress. That would teach them a lesson.
I guess I’m less optimistic now, because I doubt they’d learn a thing.
Hat tip: Robby Soave at Reason.