‘DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE RAMPANT AT TACONIC HIGH SCHOOL,’ SAYS VARSITY MOM … plus … ADDED SECURITY, FLOOD OF COUNSELORS SEND WRONG MESSAGE TO NATION’S SCHOOL KIDS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, DEC. 18, 2012) — Only four more days until the Mayan calendar runs out, so why bother with Christmas shopping?
We cannot, though, put off sharing this take of what’s going on at Taconic High School from a mom who calls herself The Varsity. She says she was inspired by outrageous claims made by a couple of correspondents to this website, justifying the behavior of the Taconic High School football coaching staff and several of the Taconic senior footballers in an incident that has become Tailgate-gate.
Varsity Mom was particularly upset at a comment made by Mr. Football Player in response to THE PLANET’s coverage of Tailgate-gate, particularly this portion of a comment left on Dec. 14:
“Also, it is a known fact that teens drink. It happens. It is part of high school, and for your information, Mr. Valenti, drugs are not a problem at our [Taconic] school. Not only is this city full of cops that are notably brilliant at their jobs. They have also stepped up the past month and been [sic] making this city a lot different. Taconic is not full of druggies. If anything we are making strives [sic] toward greatness. We have programs like SADD and great teachers to help keep it clean.” — Mr. Football Player
Before Varsity Mom has her say, THE PLANET offers a few observations on this portion of Mr. Football Player’s testimony.
1. He admits drinking is a problem at Taconic.
2. He admits students were drinking.
3. He admits the coaches didn’t know about it, and yet these same adults are in charge of the kids’ behavior.
4. We fail to see the relevance of the ridiculous, meaningless statement: “The city is full of cops.”
5. THE PLANET has no idea what Mr. Football means by his reference to the police “stepping up” in the last month to “[make] this city a lot different.” Different? How? In what way, specifically? And what does that have to do with Tailgate-gate? Did Mr. Football mean for it to be a McGuffin, that is, a non sequitur meant to divert our attention from the issue at hand, which is the behavior of the Taconic footballers and their coaches?
6. “Taconic is not full of druggies,” Mr. Football says. THE PLANET asks why he would see the need to make that statement. No one ever said the school was full of druggies. Certainly, THE PLANET would not make such a claim.
7. We would ask Mr. Football, again, to detail with specifics his blanket statement of “we” striding “toward greatness.” How so, specifically? How do you define “greatness?” Do you do it by the football record? By MCAS test scores? What?
We will also share with our readers that late last week, we contacted Taconic Principal John Vosburgh about Tailgate-gate. We shared with him information that THE PLANET’s investigation has turned up. We have presented this information to Vosburgh, saying that we believe, based on our due diligence, that the information is accurate and reflects the truth of what happened., asking Vosburgh for his comments.
We now, publicly, request Vosburgh to contact us. In addition:
— We are requesting Vosburgh’s comments, on the record, about what happened during Tailgate-gate. In other words, in the name of We The People, THE PLANET requests from the Taconic High School administration its official version of what took place. Enough time has passed. What, if anything, happened?
— We are requesting the administration to take the information we have presented to it — which, as we have stated, represent the facts of the case as best as we could determine them in our investigation — and let us know: Is the information accurate? If so, tell us. If not, tell us (a) which statements are not accurate and (b) what the truth is.
IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM THE TACONIC ADMINISTRATION BY THE END OF THE WEEK, WE SHALL TAKE THAT AS A CONFIRMATION OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED AND WILL BE SHARING THAT INFORMATION WITH THE PUBLIC. MOREOVER, WE SHALL TAKE THE ADMINISTRATION’S SILENCE AS CONFIRMATION OF WHAT OUR INVESTIGATION HAVE UNCOVERED.
Now, on to Varsity Mom, Who Has Her Say:
There is a lot to digest here. Take your Bromo-Bismo-Pepto-Seltzer and start the job.
ADDED SECURITY AT ALREADY PRISONED-DOWN SCHOOLS SENDS THE WROND MESSAGE
In the inevitably predictable aftermath of the Newtown grade school shootings, authorities are giving the 20-year-old gunman total victory by their “too much too late” overreaction. Schools nationwide have teamed up with local law enforcement officials to close the barn door after the prized pintos have bolted.
Schools are (a) reviewing security plann, (b) beefing up law enforcement presence on campuses, and (c) sending in a flood of counselors. The first is something they already do, ad infinitum. The second adds to the non-academic atmosphere of schools where “the scholarly mein” has all but vanished (due mainly to lack of proper dress, lack of enforcement of existing policies, and administrative fear of lawsuits from the crackpot “one in a hundred”). The third will send a lot of well-meaning “experts” onto the scene to mess around where they have no place. The place is the property of parents, loved ones, and teachers, who know and love the children more than and better than anyone. Having said that, THE PLANET loves to therapy dogs that have been sent to Newtown to help children and adults grieve. Dogs should be the only “expert counselors” allowed inside the already disturbed minds of the people most affected.
Kids Are Resilient
These well-intentioned actions ignore a fact pointed out by our good friend, the estimable Charlie Garivaltis, in a comment left on the weekend post, and that is the phenomenal resilience of children. Kids get over stuff if adults let them.
However, by adding these measures (a, b, and c) to the already saturated media coverage, adults reinforce to children that the proper demeanor at school is one of perpetual anxiety. That’s the wrong message to send. The right message? Back to business as usual. School districts across the country would be far better off to stick to their usual security provisions, decline extra police presence, tell the counselors “thanks, but no thanks,” and get on with the finishing up of school prior to the already-scheduled Christmas break.
That’s the best way to “get over” this tragedy. “Get over” is in quotes, though, because those in Newtown will likely never “get over” what happened.
In Newtown, of course, recovery won’t be that easy. One would hope school will be canceled until January, allowing parents and children together time, the only true balm for healing.
THE ONE BEST PROVISIONAL ASPECT OF TRUE SECURITY COMES FROM WITHIN, FROM THE ACQUISITION OF INNER PEACE, FROM A FEARLESS CONFIDENCE IN LIFE, FROM THE GOOD DECISIONS OF THE HUMAN HEART. SECURITY WILL NOT COME FROM ANY LAWS.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.