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.
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