Saturday, November 12, 2005


A Lesson in Accountability

It's best evaded

Some Virginia schools have banned post game hand shakes at most sporting events:
School officials in rural Virginia are trying to prevent fights under the Friday night lights by banning the traditional post-football game handshake.

'There have been some instances in the past where the handshaking has gotten a little bit out of control, with kids spitting on each other [and] kicking each other,' said Larry Shumaker, principal of Northumberland High School in Heathsville. 'We're just trying to prevent situations from occurring before they occur.'

The traditional demonstration of sportsmanship has the two squads forming single-file lines after games and extending hands to opponents for a shake or a slap with the occasional 'good game' tossed in.

But principals of five Northern Neck District high schools -- Essex, Lancaster, Northumberland, Rappahannock, and Washington and Lee -- voted unanimously to ban the practice after district games in an effort to prevent problems they say are waiting to happen between the region's bitter rivals.

If kids cannot conduct themselves responsibly, they shouldn't be allowed to participate in sports at all. And if that means there aren't enough students to field a team, so be it.

It is ridiculous that school administrators fear this ritual of sportsmanship. They have only themselves to blame, as this is yet another example of how they evade responsibility for what happens in schools. Students aren't expected to conduct themselves in a civil manner; bad behavior isn't punished or even seriously discouraged -- rather, the situations in which such behavior is likely to manifest itself are simply avoided. What kind of lesson is that? Sadly, its probably a useful one.

No wonder civility in our society is on the decline.

Bill C:

It is the job of adults to teach civility to children. What lesson does this teach? I couldn't help but think of the end of Lord of the Flies, imagine when the boys are met on the beach by the men who would rescue them. It is unwritten but you know that their presence means the restoration of civilization. What would happen if these men just said, "Carry on." Somewhere so many of us forgot the lessons of past. Children are tabula rasa, I fear because we have failed to write.


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