Graduation Dilemma in Massachusetts

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You may have heard this tear-jerker on this morning’s news or read about it:

Dateline, Andover, Massachusetts: Sarah Pearson is two credits short of the requirements for graduating with the rest of her Andover High School senior class — she knows this and doesn’t debate that fact. The reason she is short on her credits is partially due to the fact that she transferred to another high school earlier this year — for just a few months — and for whatever reason, did not get credit for her work at that other high school and partially because she was hospitalized sometime this year with a kidney infection. That, however, is not the media headline.

The headline in the Regional Newspaper, The Eagle Tribune, reads: “Short 2 credits, girl denied graduation walk 200 sign petition seeking break for student who lost dad to cancer.”

Only the most cold-hearted among us will not feel sympathy for a child who lost a parent — under any circumstances — but someone is leading Sara Pearson seriously astray by making her think that this should give her special privileges and allow long-established rules to be broken out of sympathy (they, of course, refer to “bending” the rules to make it appear less significant).

There is an entire generation of people who believe that “rules are made to be broken” and, to be honest, I’ve invoked that phrase a few times in my life (in vain) when I wanted rules to be changed for me. While rules do, in fact, get broken under special circumstances, that should not be the expectation.

Now you may believe that the officials in Sarah’s school district are being petty jerks — she is, after all, registered for summer school where she will get her credits so what’s the problem? The problem is the school officials have been “stiffed” in the past by students who “promised” to do the summer school thing, were allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies and then did NOT do the summer school thing; that’s a slap in the face to the kids who did the work and earned that trip across the stage to get their diploma. I would imagine that school officials are also more than a bit annoyed at the media (not just the local newspaper but now the national media) making them out to be cold-hearted Bs & Bs for not ‘giving the poor girl a break when she recently (about a year ago) lost her father to cancer.’

Compassion is, at it’s best, a spontaneous gesture by an individual or group of individuals that shows that they understand a person’s “pain” (for lack of a better word). The situation in Andover is, however, not about compassion or a lack of compassion on the part of the school board — it’s about coercion; the student, her family and friends, and the 200 faceless facebookers who signed her online petition are attempting to coerce an act of compassion from the school board and, morbidly, they are using Sarah’s dead father as a weapon.

On a much broader level, it’s this attitude that dictates ‘compassion at any cost’ that is turning this country into a quasi-socialist state and its that attitude that will, eventually, turn the United States into something our founding fathers would not recognize as their United States. We’re already on that road and it all starts with situations like Sarah’s where one girl has been convinced that she is entitled to something she did not earn.

News Links:

The Eagle-Tribune: Short 2 credits, girl denied graduation walk 200 sign petition seeking break for student who lost dad to cancer

Andover Townsman: Summer school ahead, girl wants to graduate with her class: Against policy, says Andover system

Blog Links:

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Yearning For Justice in West Texas

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Today a large number of children were reunited with their parents (some of the parents are themselves very near to being children) at a West Texas ranch. These reunions were wrong, but that is only because the children should have never been taken out of the ranch to begin with.

I have no problem with polygamy any more than I have a problem with gay marriage or interracial marriage or inter-faith marriages. Consenting adults should be able to live with and have relations with anyone they choose regardless of race, religion or sexuality and the government (federal, state or, in this case, County) should have NOTHING to say or do about it. This IS America and our constitution NEVER gave any government entity the power to regulate interpersonal relationships.

But the problem, you say, at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas was that adults were having sexual relations with minor children and you’re right that is a major problem and it should never be allowed. What do you do about it? You DON’T do what the County government did and indiscriminately take every child away from his or her mother. What they should have done is sent people into the ranch — if, indeed, they even had probable cause to do that — gather evidence against the adults who have raped these children and arrest them. Let them have their day in court and prosecute them — if they can.

What they did instead was punish the innocent children (who are now mothers) and many mothers who were of legal age when they conceived, by taking away their children — more than 400 of them.

Sheriff David Doran, the sheriff of the county where the ranch is located, is of course claiming that they did the right thing and, even though no charges have been filed against anyone at the ranch, he says that there will be indictments filed in the next several months. Somehow I doubt that. The Sheriffs department probably broke more laws than the entire population of the ranch; just for starters: they abducted hundreds of children based on an anonymous call by a still unidentified person who may have had ANY motive for making the call and they gathered DNA samples from the children clearly without their parents consent.

Every crime needs a victim and it looks like Sheriff Doran will be hard pressed to find any victims who are willing to testify against any of the rapists. As far as I’ve read, the people at the Yearning For Zion Ranch are there because they believe in the way things are done there.

No, I’m not condoning child rape — I’ll never do that — but the victimization of the supposed victims by the County Sheriff’s Department is not a legal (or even rational) first step in resolving the problem or bringing the perps to a well deserved justice.

News Links:

Associated Press: More sect children reunited with happy parents

News 8 Austin: Inside glimpse of sect’s West Texas ranch

Blog Links:

NIQNAQ: what texans mean by “yearning for zion”

Lobotero’s Weblog: FLDS Children Go Home