By Sylvia Hampton
November 7, 2009 (San Diego)--Every parent and school official in the nation, upon reading about the gang-rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her homecoming dance by boys and men from age 15 to 21, was shocked and outraged. Who was responsible? Where did she get the liquor? Why was she allowed to leave the campus in a drunken state? Where were her friends? Who do we blame? How can we prevent these things from happening? And those boys and men. Where do these creatures come from?
Schools are dealing with kids drinking, dirty dancing and girls dressing like street-walkers. They also cope with parents’ complaints and elected officials who judge them without ever talking to teachers and principals about the pressures of their jobs, much less the egregious budget cuts forced upon them. Schools, in desperation, are making students and parents sign pledges that the kids will dress and act appropriately at school dances.
The Rancho Bernardo High contract says the girls cannot wear anything that will "expose cleavage, have slits extending above mid-thigh or are otherwise immodest." And no “Jeans, shorts, tennis shoes, bare-midriffs, see- through dresses, or sexually suggestive apparel” at a dance. No alcohol allowed ever. And students “must be at the dance by 10:00 p.m. or they will not be admitted. Students may not exit and reenter the dance. Sexually explicit dancing (i.e. freaking, grinding, or dirty dancing) and dancing that may result in disruption or injury (i.e. slamming, moshing, etc.) are prohibited.” Yes, the school is worried about the safety of the kids who actually like to have rules and regulations to keep them safe. And the schools primary mission is to educate the students to one day become critical thinkers, productive citizens and excellent parents.
I asked my husband about this since he was a high school principal for 16 years and he said, “They get bombarded with too much sex in the media,” followed by, “School uniforms would make it much easier for the school officials.” He’s long retired, but worked through the wild times of the ‘70’s which was no picnic.
I recall a FRONTLINE program called “Merchants of Cool” that was aired on Public Broadcasting in 2001. It exposed how corporations target teenagers as their number one consumer group and lead them to purchase everything from movie tickets, soft drinks, music downloads to low slung jeans, using mainly sex. You can now watch it on your computer (it is a very popular video) and it will help explain what schools, teens and parents are facing today. Check it out at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/view/
In fact, the kids should watch it with their parents and discuss it with them. I think I will send it to my granddaughters right now.
But nothing explains gang-rape. Not even war.