Something is Seriously Wrong with How We Educate our Young People
Most everyone by now is probably at least passingly familiar with the “Joe Paterno Saga”. Having learned years ago that a close confidant and co-worker had been witnessed molesting a young boy, Mr. Paterno did little to see to it that the perpetrator was brought to justice or to otherwise protect the particular victim or any of the other victims of his friend,the pedophile. Insted, the perpetrator continued to be allowed to use Penn State football facilitied for years thereafter and to continue to place children at risk.
In a belated reaction, the administration of Penn State University decided that the president of the university and Coach Paterno should be fired immediately for their gross dereliction of duty.
One may quibble over whether the university should, instead of summarily dismsising Coach Paterno, who has devoted more than 60 years of his life to guiding the school’s football program and the young people who have passed through it, have allowed him to retire at the end of the season. Either way, the stain of his inaction will forever tar his legacy. More importantly, either way, the end of Coach Paterno’s tenure is an appropriate response by a university to his failure to place the safety of children above all else in this situation.
To a not insignificant portion of the Penn State University popluation, however, the firing of Paterno is the real wrong done. So much so that thousands of them rioted in response to Coach Paterno.
Thousands of enraged Penn State students tore through the streets of State College, Pa., overnight to protest the firing of Joe Paterno after the longtime head football coach was removed from his position effective immediately.
Amid chants of “We want JoePa,” “One more game” and “F*** the media!,” rioting students flipped over a television van, knocked a lamppost onto a car, threw toilet tissue and rocks at police and set off fireworks.
Police met the rioting crowds with tear gas as it became clear that the army of officers, who were out in riot gear, were far outnumbered by students. Every local police department in the county contributed officers to the effort to control the crowd, along with state police and the county sheriff’s department.
Several students directed their rage at the media by overturning over a satellite van belonging to a local CBS affiliate, breaking its windows and threatening to burn it amid chants.
At least two students were arrested and at least one injury was reported after a girl who was hit in the head with a rock was taken to the hospital.
Now, college kids will sometimes do and say stupid things. I cannot help, however, but wonder how it is that thousands of college students could have their heads so far up their individual and collective rectums that they view Coach Paterno’s firing, and not Coach Paterno’s enabling of coach Sandusky avoding justice and placing children at risk, as an injustice so great it required an outpouring of strong emotion.
More importatnly, how is it that those students could come to such a warped sense of right and wrong? How did our educational and social institutions — to say nothing of their parents — fail to impress upon them during the first two decades of their life that child molestation is a wrong so abominable that it is everybody’s first priority to put a stop to it when they know it has happened and are in a position to do something about it?
When all the dust settles over this particular incident, these are the more important questions that we, as a society, will need to grapple with. And how we answer them and the lessons we take from those answers will say much about where we are as a society.