SOTA VANDALS SHOULD MISS GRADUATION
They can get their diplomas in the mail.
The SOTA 28, the punks who trashed their school, they don’t deserve to walk across the stage. They’re not students anymore, they’re criminals.
They made their bed, not let them lie in it.
I’m talking about a horrendous act of vandalism and ingratitude which was discovered yesterday morning when staff arrived at the School of the Arts in Rochester, New York.
Spray painted across the front of the building were ugly, profane graffiti, celebrating the Class of 2012 in particular and savagery in general. On the windows, on the doors, on the stone face of the school.
Toilet paper was strewn across neighboring trees and the street in front of the school was marked with large graffiti names of students, as well as various crudities and indecipherable scribbles.
The school had been trashed.
By its own students. By some 28 of its graduating seniors. They crapped in the bed that birthed them.
The cops had to call for extra handcuffs.
First they led out the girls, then a couple of small groups of boys. A ragged collection of the worst of the best, stepping, each in turn, into the back of the paddy wagon.
It is a disgusting display of the immature, uncultured, spoiled riff raff that sadly passes for America’s future.
And the school doesn’t deserve it.
Neither the school nor the school district.
Ironically and gallingly, the School of the Arts had been in the news just the day before, as the lone Rochester bright spot in a state report on high-school graduation rates. In a district where barely 45 percent of students will get a diploma, SOTA has a graduation rate double that.
For this district, it is the elite school.
The best students go there, the best programs are offered there, some of the best teachers are assigned there.
It is the best school Rochester has to offer. It is a gift the district and the taxpayers who support it give to a select group of students.
And 28 of them returned that favor by trashing the place. By spitting in the face of the school, the district and the community.
And all three deserve better.
Across the city, where other schools often face more limited circumstances, and where graduation rates can fall to the mid-30s, students respected their schools and acted like ladies and gentlemen.
In other city schools, where Graduation Day is most often a milestone of failure, nobody trashed the building.
It was the most-privileged city students who did that.
And they should pay.
They will have to answer charges of criminal mischief and making graffiti, but they should also be hit hard by the school.
They should lose the right to walk.
If they don’t respect the school, if they seek to embarrass their fellow graduates and the school that has generously served them, they should be banned from the graduation ceremony.
Perhaps this last contact with the school district will do what the previous 13 years have failed to do – teach them about responsibility and accountability. They seem to have learned how to be students, but not how to be people. At least not ladies and gentlemen.
And they should pay.
The toilet paper is juvenile and excusable, the names on the road, while wrong, have been countenanced by administrators and police for years. But the active defacing of the school, with hideous, artless scratchings not even worthy of a railroad overpass, is inexcusable. This is not the time for mercy, it is the time for justice. The time to teach these students a lesson.
To make them think about gratitude and respect. To somehow get it into their heads that the education they’ve been given is a privilege, not an entitlement, that the world is not going to kiss their hind ends and that, in fact, they are still young punks who haven’t done a thing yet to earn their place in the world.
Maybe their parents will learn something as well. Instead of barking for the TV cameras about how they weren’t getting answers, they should think about how their children could have engaged in such embarrassing behavior.
This is an infuriating demonstration of depravity by young people who confirm the worst stereotype of the rising generation.
And they shouldn’t get to walk.
Because they don’t represent the spirit and pride of the School of the Arts, they disrespect the efforts of administrators and staff, they squander the taxes of the community, they disgrace themselves, and they steal from their well-behaved fellow students the spotlight of community support.
They acted like savages.
They failed high school’s final test.
And they can get their diplomas in the mail.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012