Right when I start to feel optimism about the good we can do with our students, some adult comes along and hurts the kids and our work in public education again. I teach gifted English at Bastrop High School in Morehouse Parish in Northeast Louisiana. Well, it seems our football team has to forfeit its State Championship because of ineligible players. Evidently there was an accusation against our school about some of our players (hurricane victims) . I want to say more, but I must have patience and wait for the results of our appeal. As of yet, we don’t know who our accusers are, or even for sure what the charges were specifically. LHSAA (There’s an interesting Acronym. A friend told me it stood for . . .No, I said I would wait before commenting.)
And I will wait. I’m too angry to write objectively on this. All I know for sure is, in the football year after Katrina, our community helped some boys who happened to be good football players, but according to LHSAA, we did it wrong. (I wonder how many hurricane victim kids LHSAA directly helped. No, don’t get me started.) So what do the pompous idiots do? After a savage witch hunt, they punish everyone they can–including the kids. It’s sad, but I’m sure the LHSAA officials feel self-righteous and proud of their achievements.
The students were hurricane victims remember. Yes, our school and community helped them–along with many others who did not play football. Once again I am dissillusioned with the bureacrats who run our state and especially those who have anything to do with public education.
I know the sports success of BHS has created enemies–after all, how can a rural, rather underfunded, black-majority high school defeat all the other teams they faced? (Bastrop was winning before the new players arrived. Also, many other schools received football playing students from the Katrina Diaspora.) It is easy to pass judgment on a school with football rules a year after the hurricane, when everyone has forgotten how bad the situation was, how that storm changed everything for us in Louisiana in those first few months afterwards. All kinds of exceptions to state laws and rules were made. When people need to be helped, only the most anal legalist will obsess about trivial interpretation of legalities. I guess we could have left the kids in the shelter.
One lesson: Never underestimate how mean, petty, and jealous people can be. Here’s another lesson for LHSAA and for the jealous people or school lodging complaints against BHS: People will never forget or forgive you for hurting kids. Even if kids did make a mistake, it’s you, the adult, that should know better. A real man doesn’t have to prove his power by beating up on kids. If adults committed a wrong, punish the adults. If it is misinterpretation of a “rule” or even a mistake, correct the individuals involved, but be civil and treat people with respect instead of acting like they’re your inferiors. If this is “sour grapes” or a vendetta, then someone needs to grow up and stop acting like a whining kid who can’t be on first string.
I can imagine the LHSAA leaders talking about how important this current witch hunt is. They would probably say, “It’s all about the kids.”