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Monday, December 31, 2012

Closing the Year on Crime & Punishment

Killing Killers wishes everyone the very best of fortunes for 2013 and is closing out the calendar of 2012 on a light note today, since this year's news has been so heavy.
It might appear, from the photo above, that these two bashful teenagers were in the midst of a tryst of sorts and got busted by their peers.
But take a closer look and you'll see it just isn't so. The boys are merely getting their comeuppance for doing what some boys seem to do so well: brawling in the schoolyard.
Most school administrators take the view that fighting is a very serious crime no matter how old or young the perpetrators. Consequently, it's the kind of conduct that usually amounts to suspension as the swiftest and most appropriate form of punishment.
Of course, as in the real criminal justice system, determining just how long somebody should get banned from attending their classes usually depends on whether it's his first offense or if it's part of a troubling pattern.
Two days, a week, a month, forever...despite what most students loudly say about this in the presence of their friends, it's actually not their number one objective. Suspension from school for any length of time, or worse even permanently, is not ideal in the long run.
In fact, apart from being a lonely experience much akin to being publicly shunned, most kids can easily comprehend it's a real academic hassle as well. Especially those who have plans to graduate and get somewhere in life.
That's what the principal of Westwood High School in Mesa Arizona was figuring when he stumbled upon Charles and Julio above engaged in all out fisticuffs on school grounds. He broke their fight up and gave each young man the option to be suspended for the squabble or, alternately, to simply hold hands for an hour and be done with it.
A picture's worth a thousand words---you can see what these two intelligent youngsters prudently decided between them.
Leading up to this particular day in Westwood history, principal Timothy Richards had been highly praised for his somewhat maverick approach to student tardiness, delinquency, and other educational problems running rampant at Westwood before he was hired.
Indeed, during his brief tenure there, Richards' innovative policies were credited for thwarting the scholastic failure of some 300 students at the high school. Although not by forcing them all to hold hands, naturally.
For this particularly inventive method, however, the man has drawn some fire and ire. Not from Julio and not from Charles, mind you, but from critics on both sides of the isle.
But, regardless of this controversy over whether the punishment fits the crime or is way over the top and socially "traumatizing", the youths made the final choice, and this time they used their heads and chose very well.
What's more, at least one of them claims to have learned a valuable lesson from this experience, and that would be an obvious one: "Don't fight in school," Charles told an inquisitive CBS reporter earlier this month.
His arch nemesis, Julio, appears to have crumpled a bit under days of ridicule and unwanted Facebook photo-sharing. But, last heard, he's back in classes again too, and not fighting.

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