Monday, June 16, 2008

When You Lie, You're Grounded. When I Lie, It's Education

Now, we'll admit to having endured our fair share of educational innovations while denizens of the educorporate training facility in our neighborhood. Some of them actually worked, like the history teacher we had who used to throw erasers at students he deemed inattentive. Well, that is until Joe Pavlik threw the eraser back. Then his book. Then a chair. Joe had issues.

The point is, as helpless victims of the corrupt and power hungry teachers' unions we've all endured academic experimentation, some of which was merely embarrassing, some of which was flat out, howl at the moon, run naked on the beach with leaves and twigs in your hair crazy. This is from the latter category.

Many juniors and seniors were driven to tears – a few to near hysterics – May 26 when a uniformed police officer arrived in several classrooms to notify them that a fellow student had been killed in a drunken-driving accident. It was an elaborate hoax.

Sure. Show up and tell a bunch of hormonally imbalanced teenagers at one of the most emotional times of their little teenager years (school getting out for the summer, prom, graduation) that one of their best friends has just been killed. Then tell them you were lying. What can go wrong?

The officer read a brief eulogy, placed a rose on the deceased student's seat, then left the class members to process their thoughts and emotions for the next hour.

Oh even better. After you tell them this devastating lie, walk out and leave them alone. Who came up with this idea? Dick Cheney?

Though the deception left some teens temporarily confused and angry, if it makes even one student think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, it is worth the price, said California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Newbury.

Yes, and what are they going to "think" about Officer Newbury? The fact that adults lie to them? The fact that adults can't be trusted not to trick them? If they can't believe you about their friends dying, why should they believe you about drinking?

OK, here's a little bit of advice for you Officer Newbury. A relationship that needs to be built on mutual respect and trust cannot rest on a foundation of lies. That's...that's...well, that's a description of the republican party.

“When someone says to me, 'Oh, my God, you're traumatizing my children,' I'm telling them, 'No, what I'm doing is waking them up,' ” said Newbury. "They need to know that as they enter adulthood, there's no one they can trust. No one they can believe, least of all the police. I call it the X-Files philosophy."

“If you don't do your job as a parent ... the only thing I can do is either arrest them and take them to jail or scrape them off the ground and tell you, 'I'm so sorry.' ”

Hey Officer Newbury. We've got an idea. Next year why don't you just pick some parents you think aren't doing their jobs and go to their house and tell them their son or daughter is dead. You know, just to 'wake them up.' We're sure they'll be grateful and probably recommend you to your bosses for some sort of say Walmart security.

“I want them to be an emotional wreck. I don't want them to have to live through this for real,” Newbury said.

Erm...Officer Newbury? If they believe your lie, they are living through it for real. Just a thought.

A few teachers chose not to take part in the production. They were from a small group in the school who called themselves the responsible professionals. One teacher told reporters, "We don't think you have to lie to kids to get them to do the right thing."

"Oh that's just naive," Newbury said. "What's next, trusting them?"

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