The recent threat of a shooting at the high school brought the Channel 10 and Channel 4 news crews out to do interviews with parents. There was the standard “the kid was not unusual, seemed quiet and didn’t stand out” sort of interview. There was also a “this is such a shame, we have soccer teams and a football team that are going into the state finals, it is upsetting for this shooting threat to be in the news”
There is an undercurrent of anger about the fact that news crews showed up to do theses stories about Grandview high school, expressed more openly in some social media posts. Some of that anger is pointed at the child who made a threat, but also at the news organizations that show up at the school.
It is true that kids who work hard and excel in sports are deserving of praise, and there will be stories about the victories of the sports teams on the local TV news. But I don’t think there was any mistake made by the assignment editors for the news crews, they should have been out in front of the school when the story of the potential shooting became public.
Sports victories are fleeting
In 1970 I was in the county finals for the wrestling squad at my high school, it was cool to have an auditorium filled with people cheering for me. It didn’t do much for the rest of my career, either in sports or further in life. That was OK, I didn’t identify as a jock, and I put my sports victories behind me. I saw others in my school who excelled in sports and kept clinging to the sports victories as the highlight of their lives. Those kids had some of the saddest stories as grown ups, their accomplishments were minor at the local factories.
Sports victories are a good way to encourage kids to be skilled sportspeople, a life long habit of keeping in shape will lead to better health. But the career options for someone who mostly uses their muscles rather than their brains was never great, and the options are getting smaller. A lot of those factories went overseas, the rest will slowly become filled with machines that need no operator.
How will we be remembered?
Some big trophies to add to the cases at the high school will be impressive to look at. Let’s not fool ourselves, a winning team is a fleeting victory, no matter how high in the tournaments our teams go those trophies are just some dust catchers after a few years. Nobody will be hiring based on how well your team did in high school.
If the worst outcome of the incident with the kid who made alleged threats of shootings at the school had come true, Grandview would have gone into the record books alongside names like Columbine, and Sandy Hook.
Is bullying a sport at Grandview?
We don’t know what pushed the kid to make threats of violence against other students, but bullying is always a good guess. I have heard from some parents that it is bad at the schools.
In 2012 there was a special board meeting for parents who had problems with their kids being bullied at the school. There was a three hour meeting filled with pleas from parents who saw their kids bullied at school, around town, and in social media. Kids were threatened and sometimes beaten up. I ended that 2012 post with the assumption that the school would react with some substantial actions to deal with bullying. I saw no real changes that happened because of that meeting. There have been no more board meetings to talk about bullying. There is a Facebook group for parents that is focused on solutions for Grandview, but they seem to have no support from the school.
The school board doesn’t want to talk about bullying, but they do have a form that parents can fill out and submit to report incidents. The number of reports filed are listed on the school website. If this is accurate, it shows a spike in the problems at the school, starting in 2014.
News crews are the warning sign that something needs attention
I can’t see inside a school that has a board that mostly wants us to go away, and throws up blocks in front of those who want to see what is happening inside. My guess is that bullying is rampant, and the board will do nothing about it. If they ignore the news crews, it is like ignoring a warning light on your car dashboard – it might be OK for a while, but it will probably be a disaster in the long run.
We might see more news crews if the worst happens and bullying leads to violence at the school. I don’t see the board doing anything to stop this from happening.