Wednesday, February 06, 2008

And the home of the [blank]

Being the high school student that I am, I'm somewhat obligated to speak out on issues that are centered around other high school students. This one comes from Shawnee Mission West High School.

As is being reported in multiple local media outlets, including KCTV 5 and The Kansas City Star, the faculty at SMW has started to crack down on a practice that is extremely common place at sporting events across the nation, professional and high school. That is, filling in at the end of the national anthem, the name of the home team. Instead of singing "and the home of the brave," it would be "and the home of the Vikings" (SMW Vikings)

The grounds for the school going after this are perfectly legitimate, it's a matter of respecting our fallen veterans and those fighting abroad. I am perfectly in support of this.

How the school is going about enforcing it is where I have an issue.

Even though students had been warned prior to game time not to butcher the national anthem, they naturally did so. The school's response? Eject them from the stands. As a clever protest, as high school students tend to do, students came to the next game with duct tape over their mouths.

Here's what I think the school did wrong, as many tend to do. They underestimate the level of maturity of teens. Yes, we can be ignorant little buggers sometimes, but we really don't like to be threatened or disrespected. Remember, we are young adults.

What do I mean by threatened? From our perspective, coming out and saying 'don't butcher the national anthem or we'll punish you' is a threat. On the other hand, saying 'be respectful and don't butcher the national anthem' is treating us like our age. See the difference? I garauntee if that were the technique used more often and consistently, school administrators and students would live together a little more peacefully.

That's not to say that punishment is bad, but when it gets explicitly spelled out and carried out for something that really isn't harming anyone directly, students will fight back. I know this, I've done it before and I'm defending it now.

I know this might sound crazy, but if you teach respect and don't force it down the throats of students (by threatening/punishing them) they're more likely to take heed and listen. Set a good example, and respect us first before telling us to respect others.

We're perfectly capable of understanding the position of our 'elders' on issues like this, it's a matter of how they go about presenting and addressing the issue.

*Spell check isn't working so sorry for any typos!


At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Note Nazi said...

The students are merely mimicking what adults do at Chiefs' games. In my opinion the students are not being disrespectful but are showing school pride. The administration should just let them yell the team mascot name at the end of the anthem. You have a good point about them not respecting the maturity of the kids. It is not too late for you to come back to the Plaza. We will let you yell the mascot name. I've heard way worse there!!!!!

The Note Nazi

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Note Nazi said...


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