I don't remember if I've written what I’m about to write before, but if I have it's worth repeating: Area high school sudents should attend Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings. Think of it as an extension civics and sociology class rolled into one.
Yes, the meetings can be soul crushing and so tortuously boring they’d be banned from Guantanamo. But they also provide glimpses into a world that most adults deny exists or purposely sanitize.
We admonish teens when they behave foolishly. We implore them to respect one another and act like adults. Unfortunately we sometimes forget that often, adults don’t practice what they preach.
If students paid attention to what’s going on at the district they’d catch a glimpse of what the grown-ups would probably prefer they not see.
Take Monday evening, for example.
After the district’s board meeting, trustee John McCann was interviewed on TV.
McCann, who along with two other board members, is targeted by unhappy parents and staffers for recall. Lately he’s about as popular as Dick Cheney at a cuddle puddle.
According to a report filed by a security guard that night, some parents heckled McCann. He approached the gathering of people wanting to shake hands.
One parent and frequent critic, Stewart Payne, wanted no part of the exchange. The security guard’s report stated:
“McCann with his right hand extended was greeted by Payne Who (sic) said ‘Get out of my face or I’ll knock you out’.”
Payne told a reporter he doesn’t remember making that comment. McCann told the U-T he felt threatened enough to file a police report. In an article by Susan Luzzaro, a security guard said that while he stepped between McCann and Payne, he didn’t call police because “at no time did I feel it necessary.”
If this sort of behavior were to have happened on a middle or high school campus, the adults would probably tell the students involved to grow up. And stay away from each other if they can’t get along.
But in this case, it seems, the adults were acting like kids. And that’s what makes it so deliciously entertaining.
Because we have adults acting silly.
And what better real world education for kids than to see firsthand that people like their parents, teachers, counselors and role models are less than perfect? That they can be just as guilty of dumb behavior as the average teenager.
So, dear student, the next time an adult tells you to grow up maybe you can strike a deal with them. Tell them you will if they will.