Tag Archives: teens

“Is It Possible To Address A Race-Related Problem Without Being Attacked As Racist?” And Other Reflections On The Holiday Mall Brawls

mall-violence

On the City Journal website, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute writes in part,

Judging by video evidence, the participants in the violent mall brawls over the Christmas weekend were overwhelmingly black teens, though white teens were also involved. The media have assiduously ignored this fact, of course, as they have for previous violent flash mob episodes. That disproportion has significance for the next administration’s school-discipline policies, however. If Donald Trump wants to make schools safe again, he must rescind the Obama administration’s diktats regarding classroom discipline, which are based on a fantasy version of reality that is having serious real-world consequences.

The Obama Justice and Education Departments have strong-armed schools across the country to all but eliminate the suspension and expulsion of insubordinate students. The reason? Because black students are disciplined at higher rates than whites. According to Washington bureaucrats, such disproportionate suspensions can mean only one thing: teachers and administrators are racist. The Obama administration rejects the proposition that black students are more likely to assault teachers or fight with other students in class. The so-called “school to prison” pipeline is a function of bias, not of behavior, they say.

This week’s mall violence, which injured several police and security officers, is just the latest piece of evidence for how counterfactual that credo is.  A routine complaint in police-community meetings in minority areas is that large groups of teens are fighting on corners…The idea that such street behavior does not have a classroom counterpart is ludicrous. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age. The lack of socialization that produces such a vast disparity in murder rates, as well as less lethal street violence, inevitably will show up in classroom behavior….School officials in urban areas across the country set up security corridors manned by police officers at school dismissal times to avoid gang shootings. And yet, the Obama administration would have us believe that in the classroom, black students are no more likely to disrupt order than white students.

The entire essay is here.

Observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Quotes, Race, U.S. Society

The Sexting Persecution Of Cormega Copening

sexting

Charging kids with crimes for sexting themselves to a fully consenting fellow kid always seemed excessive and cruel to me. This story is the reductio ad absurdum that settles the matter.

In Fayetteville, North Carolina, 17-year-old Cormega Copening and his girlfriend Brianna Denson, also 17, began exchanging naked photos of themselves in text messages when they were 16. They were the only ones who saw the pictures, but someone somehow tipped off local authorities, who searched Copening’s phone and discovered them.

Copeling and Denson were charged with sexual exploitation. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office concluded that Denson had committed two felony sex crimes...against herself. A warrant cited her as both the adult perpetrator and the minor victim of two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree exploitation for making her photo and third-degree exploitation for having her own nude photo in her possession. A conviction could have put Denson in prison and would have required her to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life. Denson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was given 12 months of probation.

Her sexting partner Copening, however, is still facing as much as ten years prison time for two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation and three counts of third-degree exploitation. As with Denson, the third-degree charges arise out of the pictures Copening had of himself.  That’s not the worst of the mind-twisting logic of this prosecution, however. North Carolina is one of two states in the country (the other: New York) that makes 16  the age of adulthood in the criminal system. The state’s consent laws consider anyone 16 and under a minor, but allows minors 16 or over to be charged as adults.

Gilbertian result: Copening is facing conviction, as an adult, for exploiting a minor—himself. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Science & Technology, U.S. Society

Wasting A Heart

Heart transplant patient

I don’t have a solution to an ethics fiasco like this or know how it could be avoided, but there have to be some lessons buried here somewhere.

In 2013, 15-year-old Anthony Stokes was denied a place on the waiting list for a life-saving heart transplant  at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston because, the hospital explained, he had “a history of noncompliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant.”

This means that doctors doubted that Anthony would take his medicine or go to follow-up appointments. In other words, he was too unreliable and irresponsible to be entrusted with a heart that could save the life of someone else more likely to make good use of it. When a doctor told the family that Anthony’s low grades and time spent in juvenile detention factored into the assessment, however, that gave the family an opening to save the boy’s life. They played the race card. Anthony was being sentenced to death because he was poor and black, and a white patient would naturally be a better risk. The media ran with the narrative, and there was national outrage. Fearing a public relations disaster, the hospital reversed its decision, and Stokes got his heart.

From the Washington Post today:

Tuesday afternoon, [Anthony] Stokes died after a vehicle he was driving jumped a curb, hit a pedestrian and collided with a pole in a car chase with police, according to WSBTV. The pedestrian was hospitalized for her injuries, but Stokes’s car was nearly split in half by the sign, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said he had to be cut out of the Honda by first responders and rushed to a hospital where he later died…Stokes was driving a car that matched the description of one used by a person suspected of breaking into an elderly woman’s home. The chase began after officers responding to her 911 call attempted to pull Stokes over, according to WXIA.

Pensive and Rueful Observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Health and Medicine, Race

Turning In Your Own Teen For Sexting?

sexting

I don’t understand this. I don’t understand the parents’ thinking at all.

I can understand reporting a child to the police who is a danger to others, who has committed a serious crime, who is a burgeoning sociopath or psychopath who needs to be stopped before something terrible occurs. I can understand when not doing so amounts to being an accessory and an accomplice. It has to be the most wrenching of parental decisions, but I understand these things.

This, however, I don’t understand.

In Dinwiddie County, Virginia, parents became suspicious, and checked their 13-year-old daughter’s cell phone and tablet. They discovered their daughter, soon to enter the eighth-grade, had been sending and receiving naked pictures of other teens, including those who were much older, 17 and 18.

CBS reports that the parents called in the sheriff’s office, even though it means that she might be charged with a crime.   “We did this now to protect her for now and in the future, because this could get worse. She could be taken,” she said.

She could also become the victim of an overzealous prosecutor, and end up in the criminal justice system for what is essentially pre-crime, become cynical and hardened before her time, and be permanently scarred, never to trust her parents again.

The story is sketchy, so there may be facts we don’t know. Before I would call the cops on my child at 13 for what is essentially high-tech flirting, I would consider..

  • Grounding her.
  • Taking away her electronic devices.
  • Getting her counseling.
  • Moving.

Wouldn’t you?

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Filed under Childhood and children, Family, Gender and Sex, Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Just So We’re Clear: Some School Sexual Predators Are More Unethical Than Others

lunchladyJanelle Foley, 32,  who works in the cafeteria of Chapman Middle School in Weymouth, Mass., was charged with four counts of statutory rape for having sexual relations with a 15 year old student at the school during the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays.

This is statutory rape, and wrong, but approximately half as wrong as when the sexual predator’s target  is her (or his)  student rather than someone she glops mashed potatoes for in the lunch line. True, every employee in a school has to be worthy of some level of trust, but a teacher is blatantly misusing her authority and blurring roles to the detriment of education as well as social development when she exploits the position of teacher/role model/ authority figure/mentor for the purposes of sexual gratification. A lunch lady is just picking up horny teens. One is a professional breach and a sleazy crime. The other is a sleazy crime, and nothing more.

On the other hand, the role betrayal involved when a friend’s mother seduces her son’s underage friend is every bit as reprehensible as the acts of a predator teacher. I tend to think the Sexual Predator Lunch Lady is not a serious threat in our schools.

And where does “The Summer of ’42” land along this spectrum?

I ‘m not certain, but closer to the lunch lady than to the teacher, I think.

_______________________________

Pointer: Fark

Facts: Boston.com

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Filed under Education, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Romance and Relationships

When Worlds Collide: Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler Flunks His Ethics Test

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) is running to be his party’s nominee for Governor, which, since Maryland is one of the Bluest of states, means that success equals the statehouse, or should. But the intense spotlight that such a quest creates can be hot and unflattering, and Gansler’s character and integrity is now being called into question…especially after this photo from last summer surfaced on Instagram, showing Maryland’s top law enforcement official in the middle of a wild teen beach party at a beach house by the Delaware shore. He’s the guy in the white shirt and the cell phone:

Gensler Party

There you have it: the exact moment when Attorney General Doug Gansler, Candidate for Governor Gansler and Father of a Teenage Son Who Graduated From High School And Wants To Party With His Friends Like In “Animal House” Gansler officially collided. Many, especially many Democrats, especially many Bill Clinton fans, and definitely aspiring toyboy lawyer Brian Zulberti, would argue that only one of them is really there: Father Doug. The others, being absent, are immune from criticism. This position is popular, convenient, lazy, ethically corrosive and wrong. There is only one Doug Gansler, yes, but he is bound by three standards of conduct. When you are bound by three standards of conduct, you have to abide by the highest one.

Again, this situation focuses our attention on integrity, a core aspect of character, and crucial to ethics. Does an individual have genuine principles that he oe she lives by, or a constantly shifting set of values that are assumed and then discarded according to situation, convenient, strategy and whim? When an ethical problem arises, do others know how the individual will respond? Are his words consistent with his actions? Trust means that others can rely on an individual’s conduct, and you can’t rely on the conduct of someone whose values and priorities with the wind, locale, attention and personal desires.

Then there is the issue of judgment. Judgement is like intelligence and common sense: an individual either has it, or he doesn’t. And such traits as responsibility, accountability, honesty, prudence, dignity, loyalty  and courage come into play. I know those who embrace the private individual/professional dichotomy are stuck with the argument that the absence of  one or more of these in a private setting has no predictive value regarding public or professional conduct, but it is a hopelessly untenable position, pure denial, and ethics poison. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, The Internet

Ethics Verdict On Dr. Phil’s Media Mugging

You're in the clear, Phil...this time.

You’re in the clear, Phil…this time.

If a brilliant scholar like Richard Dawkins can get himself in hot water trying to be provocative in 140 characters, you can imagine the scalding a phony expert like Dr. Phil can attract with his tweets. Sure enough, the Oprah Winfrey-spawned arbiter of troubled relationships is now being ground up in the maw of the blogosphere and news media for tweeting this question to his inexplicably large mass of Twitter followers:

 “If a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused.”

He did not ask “If a girl is passed out drunk, is it okay to have sex with her?” Nor did he ask “If a girl is drunk, is it okay for me to have sex with her?” (The answers to both of these questions, obviously to me, you, and Dr. Phil, is emphatically  no. But then, he didn’t ask either of them.) He also didn’t suggest that he doesn’t know the answer to the question he did ask. He posed a question for his followers, which it is reasonable to assume was done to get a sense of the majority response.

There was nothing wrong, unethical, “tone deaf,” insensitive, sinister, off-putting, icky, misogynistic or otherwise inappropriate about the tweet or its wording, whether it was sent by Dr. Phil or anyone else.

And yet (from the Washington Post)... Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Romance and Relationships, The Internet