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So Much For That Whole "Permanent Record" Thing...

A couple of stories caught my eye recently, revolving around the desire of some folks to avoid bearing the consequences for their actions -- and the efforts by others to hold them accountable.

First up, colleges across the country are looking to access applicants' records, to see just what sort of legal and disciplinary problems they've presented in the past. And this move is being resisted by high schools, who fear that honesty "could stigmatize applicants as troublemakers and keep them from being accepted."

One Boston school official's quote is most telling: ""Our first allegiance is to the students," said Jim Montague, director of guidance counseling at Boston Latin School." Note that Mr. Montague's allegiance is not to truth, but to the students -- and he is willing to lie by omission to protect them.

Amazingly, the student given the last word is one who seems to have her head firmly attached to her shoulders:

Others thought counselors should answer the questions partly to protect others in college.

"It helps my chances because I haven't been in trouble," said Julie Moran, 17. "I don't want to be in a college with people who've brought knives and guns to school."

Hear, hear. Instead of focusing on those who need "a second chance" or a chance to redeem themselves, why not show a bit of favoritism for those who haven't screwed up in the first place? Those who actually know what they want and have behaved themselves accordingly? In other words, the "good" kids who have been told that if they act properly and work hard and obey the rules, they will be rewarded?

Nah, screw them. They'll be fine anyway. They always are.

At least that seems to be the prevailing attitude these days.

And then we got some good news out of Canada. Their Supreme Court has heard the appeals of American deserters from the military, and decided that yes, there is indeed a difference between "persecution" and "prosecution." Therefore, they do NOT qualify for political asylum, and can be kicked out of the country.

Note that the US military is not actively seeking their return -- and that, it seems to me, to be precisely the right approach.

As I understand it, the official policy of the US military towards deserters works out to something like this:

"These worthless sacks of shit gave their solemn word to us, and then broke it. Screw 'em. They are not worthy to serve in the US armed forces. They've already stolen enough of our resources so far, we're not going to waste any more chasing them down.

But that doesn't mean they're scot free, though. We'll put out the word that we'd like them back, and if they get themselves caught, we'll take 'em back for a few moments of their time. Or maybe a few years. And we'll make damned sure that the stigma of their cowardice follows them the rest of their lives, either as wanted fugitives or holders of a dishonorable discharge."

Now those would-be martyrs are having to face the crushing blow to their egos: they simply aren't anywhere near as important as they thought they were. Canada refuses to recognize them as heroic resisters or victims of injustice. Their "backers" tend to lose interest in them once they use up their value as symbols. And the military won't feed into their persecution complex by moving heaven and earth to get them back in their hands. They find themselves revealed as they truly are: pathetic, craven losers that nobody really wants and nobody really cares about.

Well, at least they have one hope. If they decide to try to get into college, they might not get ratted out by their old high schools.


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Comments (16)

What about the kids who hav... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

What about the kids who have bad records through no fault of their own -- because the drooling packs of orcs around them delighted in tormenting them until they lost control and fought back? The victim gets punished twice over, the real guilty parties get away scot-free. And isn't that a wonderful way to teach kids good behavior? No penalty at all for the abusers, while the victim gets to choose between shutting up and taking the abuse, or fighting back and ruining the entire rest of his life.

I'm amazed at high school L... (Below threshold)
kiwikit:

I'm amazed at high school LACK of care for students. I heard just last night about a girl whose assigned room mate told her she was going to 'cut her up and leave the parts on the street!' Now there's obviously a problem here and I think expecting young people to have to protect themselves against all mentally ill, violent persons is beyond what should be expected. It's the college's responsibilty to provide a safe environment, and this can be done only with full information. Isn't Virgina Tech a result of their not knowing enough or action upon information on individuals in the student body?

The only problem I see is t... (Below threshold)
Pat Cerrito:

The only problem I see is that with the zero tolerance as it is currently practiced, many good kids are labeled as troublemakers. Bringing a butter knife to school is still listed as bringing a knife. Suspended because of drawing a picture of a gun is still a suspension. In other words, can you trust the high school counselors to be correct?

I am a little torn. Yes, is... (Below threshold)

I am a little torn. Yes, is seems shady that people who behave badly are allowed to escape the consequences of their actions.

The flip side is the ludicrous zero tolerance policies that make simple mistakes suspension and expulsion level 'crimes'. I'd prefer those people to not get victimized twice: be the idiot school board bureaucracy and the idiot PC college admission folks.

Yes, kids who have some sor... (Below threshold)

Yes, kids who have some sort of school record due to no real fault of their own are spared, but those who are real trouble-makers are also let off the hook.

It's the one-size-fits-all approach that harms so many of these kids starting with things like zero-tolerance policies and ending with a refusal to pass on important information.

Like the kid who is bullied by another and finally hits back. Both kids get suspended and both of them will have a record stating they were suspended for fighting.

I think the problem here is that no one is allowed to make a judgement call based on the nature of the "crime".

What about the kid... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
What about the kids who have bad records through no fault of their own -- because the drooling packs of orcs around them delighted in tormenting them until they lost control and fought back? The victim gets punished twice over, the real guilty parties get away scot-free. And isn't that a wonderful way to teach kids good behavior? No penalty at all for the abusers, while the victim gets to choose between shutting up and taking the abuse, or fighting back and ruining the entire rest of his life.
The problem with this is you're using two wrongs to try to make a right.

Firstly, there should be some allowance for defending oneself. Secondly, a single fistfight should be part of a student's record.

What's happening in both those cases is that schools are doing what is called 'work to rule' among union employees. They screw up the system by following the rules indiscriminately. Basically they punish the good kids because 1) moral equivalence doesn't allow them to acknowledge good kids and bad kids and 2) they don't want to punish anyone at all.

So they are blackmailing people like yourself into agreeing to softening the consequences for those who truly deserve it.

1. In the case of public sc... (Below threshold)
Rance:

1. In the case of public schools, the school may be restricted by law as to what information they can release, and to whom they can release it.

2. Should the colleges be putting a lot of stock in information collected by anonymous government drones?

Good points Rance. Since t... (Below threshold)

Good points Rance. Since they are diacouraged from making judgement calls, any information recorded really can't be trusted.

But there are some kids out there who are just plain out of control and they're left to slip through the cracks until their behavior escalates. Sometimes to terrible ends.

JTI had just finis... (Below threshold)
Civil behavior:

JT

I had just finished reading about the new book soon to be published by Scott McClellan wherein he admits to having passed along false information for Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.

In this blog entry you state "Mr. Montague's allegiance is not to truth, but to the students -- and he is willing to lie by omission to protect them."

Let's substitute McClellan for Montague and the five aforementioned senior officials and the preznut for the students. Let's substitute we the people for Julie Moran, the good kid.

Then you state....."Instead of focusing on those who need "a second chance" or a chance to redeem themselves, why not show a bit of favoritism for those who haven't screwed up in the first place? Those who actually know what they want and have behaved themselves accordingly? In other words, the "good" kids who have been told that if they act properly and work hard and obey the rules, they will be rewarded?

Nah, screw them. They'll be fine anyway. They always are.

At least that seems to be the prevailing attitude these days."

Now just because he happened to be the water carrier in your view did he lie by omission or comission? And while your at it do "we the people" get to hold those accountable (i.e, Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself.) for the consequences of their actions? If so, when? If not, why not? He says he lied to exonerate two senior aides Rove and Libby. Who's held to account? I suppose the good kids should continue playing by the rules while they get stomped.

Just wondering. Besides I think it makes for a much more relevant blog about the state of the nation contrasting lying and accountability to speak to the liberal argument of who pays when the liars are not held to account. Although it could be the high schools are just playing the same duck and cover game they've been watching the big boys play. The old what's good for the goose story.

Actually for once I think I agree with Oyster when he says "some kids (substitute government officials including preznuts) out there who are just plain out of control and they're left to slip through the cracks until their behavior escalates. Sometimes to terrible ends.

squirm, wiggle, wiggle, squirm......isn't it hot in here??

civil [mis]behaviour:... (Below threshold)
marc:

civil [mis]behaviour:

Let's substitute McClellan for Montague and the five aforementioned senior officials and the preznut for the students. Let's substitute we the people for Julie Moran, the good kid.

Here's a better switch, substitute CB for these nutcakes, there seems to be a similar mindset.

Civil Behavior, since you c... (Below threshold)
Kat:

Civil Behavior, since you claim insider knowledge of this confession by Scott McClellan, I have to consider how credible you are. You're not.
How about we wait to see what is actually written before I believe you, eh?
Worm, squirm, sweat all you want, your BDS will not get any better.

Good try marc but there o... (Below threshold)
Civil behavior:

Good try marc but there obviously are no words you can come up with to dispel the analogy.

And Kat, it's all over the net. It was the PUBLISHER who released the exerpt that I quoted. Of course if you read you would already know that.

Good Job CD, another thread... (Below threshold)
epador:

Good Job CD, another thread successfully hijacked.

No, Cb, let's not do any su... (Below threshold)

No, Cb, let's not do any substituting.

Here are a few facts that might have escaped your attention:

1) Richard Armitage has admitted that he was the one who divulged Plame's name and job.

2) Richard Novak has confirmed that Armitage was his source.

3) Fitzgerald knew from the outset that Armitage was the source of the leak, and chose NOT to prosecute him over that.

4) Despite your heavy-handed attempts to change the subject, it STILL has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic at hand -- as usual.

If you're that desperate to start conversations around what YOU want to talk about, feel free to start your own blog. It might have also escaped your attention, but this blog isn't yours to dictate topics.

J.

JT I find it very ... (Below threshold)
Civil behavior:

JT

I find it very interesting that on all blogs the writers get so uptight about coomments that draw analogies or bring another subject that ties to the original entry as though a discussion never veers from a tight narrow interpretation.

How often is it that in everyday conversation a dialogue is constricted to the original remark without other commentary coming into play?

Must be I talk to liberals all the time because I'm used to people being able to have a breadth of knowledge about subjects of interest.


Besides my statement drawing the analogy had to do with how the preznut and the other four set up McClellan to lie for them in order to cover for Libby and Rove telling half of Washington about Plame. It has a direct relationship to how you regarded the high school principal covering for the students as an obviously poor way to not have the offenders held accountable.

I know it's difficult for conservatives to wrap their head around the similarities especially when it involves admitting their preznut is a liar and has been deceiving the public for years and has yet to be held to account but that's what I get for trying to engage a conservative in honest dialogue.

P.S. Rove and Libby didn't set McClellan up for their own amusement. They had more of a reason to use him and we all know what that was.

Funny, Cb, how what you say... (Below threshold)

Funny, Cb, how what you say is utterly in contradiction with the clearly-established facts I cited. Almost as funny as your refusing to acknowledge them and blithely repeating your talking points.

J.




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