Hey, kids! Need a couple extra bucks? Sure, we all do! All you gotta do is snitch on your classmates, and you could make $10…$25…$50…up to a hundred buck-a-roos! Sound too good to be true?
Well, at Model High School (I’m not making this name up) in Rome, Ga., it’s more than a dream; it’s a reality. Using money raised from sugary soda and candy sales, the school plans to reward students for information about anything from thefts to drug use to gun possession-and it doesn’t even have to happen on campus! Hell, if Jose Canseco could still go back to high school (damn those GEDs), he wouldn’t have even had to write Juiced!
Unfortunately, it appears this school’s administration has jumped the gun in this post-Columbine generation. Metal detectors? Sure. Drug dogs? Go ahead. Advocacy groups like D-FY-IT and SADD? Bring ’em on! But snitching?
Sure, this sounds backward coming from an RA who must impose the age-old rule of complicity-the idea that you’re as guilty for knowing that something wrong is going on as you are for actually doing the bad deed. But there is a decided difference between being present for someone’s mischievous action and actively sniffing it out. Perhaps these very same students could get a magnifying glass and examine the personal lives of the administration. Oh, wait, that would be wrong.
The idea of “invasion of privacy” has been going down the tubes thanks to a world where trust is an afterthought. A couple terrorist attacks and, boom!, our government drops a bomb called The Patriot Act that dwarfs any real weapon of mass destruction. Now, in the wake of yet another school shooting, we take a few steps backward, attempting to get to the “root” of the problem, while actually avoiding some of the real factors that influence these random acts of violent behavior: poor parenting, access to weapons and poor alcohol education (who in their youth ever learned about alcohol being a good thing in mediation?) And to top it all off, while advocating tattle-tales to prevent student alienation, we’re alienating other students!
I have no problem with proactive forms of discipline, but this is taking it too far.
I’ll give 50 bucks to whoever finds out where this whole idea originated.
Ben Minkus can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.